February 1, 2016

Cathedral tour

The sanctuary of the cathedral
Last year, St. Joseph Cathedral underwent extensive restorations including the addition of an high altar, stations of the cross, and other cosmetic changes.  The high altar and stations came from a closed church in Boston, Holy Trinity Church.  The cathedral is now quite beautiful whereas before, even the most devout Catholic might say it was a little "lacking."  So for Catholic Schools Week last year, we took the seniors for a tour and we decided to do that again this year.  Half of the class took the tour this morning and the other half will go tomorrow.
Blessed Sacrament Chapel

The tours are led by Barbara Miles, the archivist for the Diocese of Manchester.  We began the tours at the cathedral's Holy Door which is located in the lobby area of the cathedral.  Every cathedral around the world has a Holy Door as part of the Year of Mercy.  Barb explained the significance of the Holy Door and the Year of Mercy and the kids then walked through it.  The doors were constructed for the occasion and have crosses on them from Ste. Marie's Parish and part of the communion rail from the former St. George's Parish which look more like gates when hung on the door.  Once you go through the door, there is a section with a statue of the Blessed Mother and some artifacts about the diocese.

Barb then took the students into the main area of the cathedral where she spoke about the stained glass windows and how they told a story for those who were uneducated or illiterate. Thus, they are very detailed and quite stunning.  Each one, she said, is insured for over $1 million!  The students were then shown the sanctuary, the new high altar, the bishop's chair.  From here, we went into the sacristy to look at some of the ornate vestments and instruments that date back to the founding of the diocese in 1884.  The tour concluded with a tour of the crypt, where five of the seven deceased bishops are buried, and the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.

The crypt
This is always a lovely tour and really a place where most of our students have never been.  They are impressed, I think, by the history and beauty of the cathedral and the treasures it contains.  I am so grateful to Barb for her amazing tour and for keeping the kids interested, not an easy task!

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