Saturday, August 11, 2001

Cathedral on schedule

Altar moved, glass cleaned in $4.7M project

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[photo] Jason Hoff, who works for Church Art Glass, chips mortar around a section of stained glass.
(Patrifck Reddy photos)
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        COVINGTON — Work crews remain on schedule to reopen the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption to worshipers by mid-November.

        “We expect substantial completion of the renovation by Nov. 13, when parishioners can return for Mass,” the Rev. John Cahill, basilica rector, said.

        He said workers who started on the $4.7 million renovation project April 16 — including moving the marble altar and restoration of several areas inside the church at 12th and Madison — have finished the new wiring, and much of the cleaning and repair work on the roof of the nave.

        The basilica attracts as many as 70,000 worshippers a year. It is one of 35 minor basilicas in the United States and the only in the Tristate.

[photo] Workers have cleaned and repaired the vaulted ceiling and stained-glass windows at the Basilica in Covington.
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        “They are beginning to work on the floor of the nave now,” Father Cahill said. “The floor of the new baptistry has been dug, and workers will pour concrete there soon.”

        Much of the cleaning of the many stained glass windows in the cathedral is completed, and the remaining glass work is under way.

        He said members of the crew working in the church have said they believe some 6 miles of conduit has been installed to carry all the new wiring.

        The altar platform has been moved 25 feet closer to worshippers.

        Pope Pius XII elevated the Covington cathedral to minor basilica status Dec. 8, 1953. There are only four major basilicas, all in Rome.

        When the altar relocation was proposed, many parishioners thought it did not comply with the Vatican II edict on worship styles. They protested but were overruled by Bishop Robert Muench of the Covington Diocese.

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