In East Tennessee, the Diocese of Knoxville has dedicated the country’s newest cathedral, March 3, during a special Mass in which prelates and parishioners celebrated the growth of the Roman Catholic Church in this region of the United States. Bishop Richard Stika, only the second bishop of a diocese created by Pope John Paul II in 1988, greeted the gathering of more than 1,000 with a simple phrase after the three-year building project: “Well, we made it.”
Five cardinals, 21 bishops, more than 100 priests, 58 deacons, and 39
men and women religious took part in the three-hour dedication Mass
along with more than 800 East Tennessee Catholics. It cost $30 Million and features a 144-foot-high dome with murals of the Twelve Apostles and 16
saints. A 25-foot portrait of Jesus with the sacred heart is the largest
image in the dome.
The cathedral’s art and architecture also includes a 45-foot-tall baldacchino, or canopy, over the altar.
In July the Diocese of Raleigh dedicated its cathedral.
So what does this mean? It means that Roman Catholics are growing, at least in the South, and that this growth comes at a time when other churches in the area are struggling. It means that Rome is far from over and out, except in regions where the chief reason for existing seems to be opposing what their church has believed and taught (Europe). It also means that all this talk about praise bands and screens and top 40 style music and such may not be what churches ought to pursue.