By Very Rev. Godfrey Mullen
What must Benedictine Father Martin Hoppenjans have thought when he looked at the architect’s plans for the church he was preparing to build? As a friend of the pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Jasper, it’s no wonder Fr. Martin dreamed big – far bigger than was necessary for the parish in its 15th year. But that dream gave rise to a spectacular building that has become the object of affection to many who have stepped off the street into its spacious shelter. The dream-come-true of those early St. Ben’s families has stood stalwart all these years.
The bare plaster walls with occasional gigantic cracks were painted in the 1950’s to the delight of some. And moving the baldacchino (canopy) in the 1960’s is a story many parishioners still love to tell with more or less embellishment. The scale of renovation recently completed becomes for us a certain occasion for Giving God Thanks, the title of the parish capital campaign, run concurrently with the diocesan Stewards of God’s Grace Campaign. With the success of both campaigns and the vision of bishops, priests, deacons and many devoted laypeople, another dream has been envisioned and has come true. Thanks be to God and to each of those involved!
The campaign was a clear sign of generous stewardship on the part of cathedral parishioners and people throughout the diocese. In true stewardship, we acknowledge the generosity of God to us, humbly offer our thanks, and then put those good gifts to work in building His Kingdom.
As we at St. Benedict Cathedral have worked to embrace a stewardship way of life over the past few years, the campaign and the renovation are clear outward signs of our gratitude to God and our work with the gifts that he’s given us. We have survived the work of renovation. We have also survived conversion. And we are better for it.
On behalf of the entire St. Benedict Cathedral Parish, I hope that our renovated church becomes for you a gift of hope for a heavenly future. As you encounter the beauty of this 91-year-old building made new, I hope you will welcome the opportunity of your own spiritual, interior renovation, your own growth in splendor in service to God, your own rejuvenation in faith as we await the heavenly Kingdom.
You are most welcome at Saint Benedict Cathedral: God’s house, the Bishop’s church, our diocesan home.