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Posted on 12/10/2001 9:43:54 AM PST by Dust in the Wind
Dodge City celebrates first Catholic cathedral built in United States this millennium
By Susan Thacker
DODGE CITY - When ground was broken for the new cathedral of the diocese of Dodge City, Catholics from each of the 50 parishes in the southwest Kansas territory brought soil to be placed at the future altar site.
On Sunday, parishioners returned for the dedication of the completed Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This time, each parish brought a scroll with a prayer or statement of good will, and the scrolls were sent back to different cities as a reminder of the event.
This is the first Catholic cathedral built in the United States in the new millennium, said the Bishop Ronald M. Gilmore, of the Catholic diocese of Dodge City.
The 1,400-seat cathedral was filled for the 21/2-hour dedication ceremony. The procession into the church included His Excellency The Most Rev. Gabriel Montavlo, the pro-nuncio - or ambassador - to the United States from Rome; and more than 20 bishops.
Prayers, choruses and scripture readings alternated between English and Spanish, with a program providing translations. Other prayers were offered in Vietnamese, recognizing the multicultural population of the 28-county diocese, especially in Dodge City.
The total population of the district is 212,332, including 42,566 Catholics, said Tim Wenzl, media liaison for the event.
The dedication was part celebration and part sacred ceremony, as Bishop Gilmore performed the first Mass in the new cathedral. He noted that the soil beneath the altar represents more than a commingling of parishes because soil allows life-giving plants to grow.
This is also the 50th anniversary or jubilee year of the diocese of Dodge City, which was separated out of the diocese of Wichita in 1951 to meet the growing needs for church administration. Earlier this year, for the jubilee celebration, parishes brought water to be mingled and blessed.
Bishop Montavlo presented greetings and prayers from Pope John Paul II, encouraging Catholics to "worship the Gospel and do good works."
The altar and walls of the church were anointed with holy water before incense was burned and church candles were lit.
"As this building is filled with fragrance, so may your church fill the world with the fragrance of Christ," the bishop prayed.
Before and after the ceremony, parishioners got a closer look at their new cathedral. Aubrie Koehn, 12, of Dodge City, was one of many who snapped a photo of architectural features and the cross-shaped basin of holy water.
"It's pretty cool," Koehn said of the new church.
Church documents were presented by the architect, Robert D. Habiger, and keys to the building were presented by Richard Kerschen, president of The Law Company, general contractor for the building.
Susan Thacker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (620) 792-3088.
Copyright 2001 The Hutchinson News
Oh well, I guess you have to hit the absolute bottom before you can start to recover.