Construction crews recently put in place two centerpieces of Christ Cathedral – the Crux Gemmata and stone altar.
Crafted in Omaha, Nebraska from blackened steel and transported to Orange County in four separate pieces, the Crux Gemmata weighs 1,000 pounds, rises 18 feet above the cathedral’s altar and hangs from the baldachin. The Crux Gemmata is a cross typical of early medieval art, affixed with gems and the corpus of Christ.
The raising of the Crux Gemmata signals a symbolic milestone as Christ Cathedral transforms into a Catholic house of worship.
“We’re entering the final stages of construction,” said Greg McClure, senior superintendent for Snyder Langston, the firm overseeing construction work at Christ Cathedral.
Creative Designer and Fabricator David Fitzpatrick recently put the finishing touches on the Crux Gemmata inside the cathedral before it was hoisted above the altar.
“It’s a very big day today – it’s a great day,” he said. “To be able to be here and see it be put up in place, and then years later be able to come back and go, “It’s still there,” and enjoy it is an awesome feeling.”
The stone altar was then put in place under the Crux Gemmata, which was gifted by the Jilot Family. The altar was gifted by the priests of the Diocese of Orange, who collectively donated nearly $900,000.
“It’s only fitting that the presbyterate gift and commemorate the altar, one of the most important parts of the cathedral,” said Tony Jennison, vice president of Philanthropy for the Orange Catholic Foundation.
The historic project to renovate Christ Cathedral remains on schedule and on budget. The cathedral will be dedicated in July 2019.
Other construction updates include:
- Installation of stone flooring is complete and the stone walls inside the cathedral are about 90 percent complete
- The cathedral’s oak pews have arrived. Installation is expected to begin soon.
- Installation of trees has started in the outdoor plaza
- Jacaranda trees have been planted along Lewis Street. Palm trees have been planted in the south plaza
- The south parking entrance is open to visitors
- Site work of the Christ Cathedral Memorial Gardens has begun