Catholic Diocese of Raleigh breaks ground on $41M cathedral

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- A huge gathering of the faithful listened to hymns and witnessed the blessing of thirty nine acres of land off Western Boulevard on Saturday, the site of a new cathedral for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh.

The site of the original Cardinal Gibbons High School was a little muddy after overnight rain, but that had little effect on the people who watched Bishop Michael Burbidge stand with other leaders of the community for the symbolic groundbreaking. Many Catholics moving here from out of town are the reason for building a bigger cathedral.

Bishop Michael Burbidge at the groundbreaking for the Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral.

In fact, Bishop Burbidge said, "Each Easter close to 1,300 new Catholics are received into the Church. This growth is absolutely incredible. We are so blessed to live in such a vibrant and faithful Diocese!"

Sacred Heart Cathedral, located in downtown Raleigh since 1924, was built at a time when there were 6,000 Catholics in the entire state of North Carolina. It seats just 320, and with more than 3,000 families as members there are 11 masses scheduled each weekend. Bishop Burbidge said when the new Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral is completed in about two years, Sacred Heart will continue as a Catholic church.

"Going from 300 seats in Sacred Heart to 2,000 seats is gonna be a big deal," said parishioner Mike Stellar. "So we're looking forward to it!"

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