Garden Grove

Cathedral’s new birth is on Wednesday

THE RELIQUARY, crux gemata and altar of the Christ Cathedral, which will be dedicated on Wednesday as the new seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange (Christ Cathedral photo).

Nearly two generations ago, the greatest landmark in Garden Grove – and one of the most notable in all of Orange County – rose from a location at the southwest corner of Chapman Avenue and Lewis Street.

The brand new Crystal Cathedral debuted in 1981, its nine-story frame supporting thousands of panes of glass that made it one of the most striking sanctuary buildings in the nation. It was the brainchild of Rev. Robert Schuller and the creation of world-renowned architects.

But on Wednesday, it will have an official rebirth as Christ Cathedral. A dedication mass – by ticket only – will be followed by a sort of  “open house” from 5-8 p.m. and will signal the completion of the structure as the home of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange.

At a cost of $77 million, the new Christ Cathedral includes the bishop’s chair, and geometric window shades to allow more light into the structure, which will accommodate 2,100 seats.

After Wednesday, the Cathedral will be open only for Saturday Vigil Mass and Sunday masses until the new Hazel Wright organ is installed and operational. Daily use of the sanctuary is not expected until February 2020.

“Our hope is that through the beauty of this place people will be drawn closer to the divine,” Father Christopher Smith, episcopal vicar and rector of the cathedral, told the Associated Press.

The financially-troubled Crystal Cathedral congregation put the church campus up for sale in 2011 and was purchased by the diocese for $57.5 million. The process of converting the building and its grounds took four years after the final design was approved.

For more about the dedication, go to




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