WASHINGTON (CNS) – Bishop Tod D. Brown of Orange, Calif., announced June 9 that Christ Cathedral is the new name of the former Crystal Cathedral, now owned by the diocese and once home to the ministries of the Rev. Robert H. Schuller.
He also appointed Father Christopher Smith as episcopal vicar for the cathedral.
Bishop Brown, in remarks during the ordination Mass for four new diocesan priests, added that
“Catholics throughout the diocese, and all across America, are eagerly anticipating” when the first Mass will be celebrated at the cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif.
In a telephone interview from Orange three days before the official announcement, Father Smith told Catholic News Service that “the only requirement was that the name be Christological in nature.”
The new name was one of the most popular among suggestions from 4,129 Catholics. It was officially approved by the Vatican.
Joining Father Smith in the June 6 telephone interview with CNS were Msgr. Michael Heher, the diocese’s vicar general, and Shirl Giacomi, chancellor.
Msgr. Heher said Rev. Schuller, the televangelist who founded the Crystal Cathedral and led its popular nationally broadcast television program “Hour of Power,” told him he had built the cathedral for Christ.
“Dr. Schuller said he knew that under Roman Catholic ownership, the Crystal Cathedral would be with Christ forever. It was a powerful gesture of confidence,” the priest said.
Once the sale of the Crystal Cathedral and its nearly 34-acre campus to the diocese for $57.5 million was finalized earlier this year, diocesan officials said critical design upgrades would be needed before the church could be used as a Catholic cathedral. The process entailed the selection of an architect, a liturgical consultant and a committee devoted to interior renovations.
“It will require a baptismal font and various devotional shrines. Of course, a cathedra (the chair of the bishop) will be needed in order for it to be a cathedral,” said Giacomi. “No renovations, however, will take place on the outside.”