That’s one bishop’s assessment of Orange County’s Crystal Cathedral — a.k.a. Christ Cathedral — after taking a tour yesterday.
A group of Catholic leaders from around the world toured Wednesday the future largest Catholic cathedral in the United States: Christ Cathedral.
They saw possibilities everywhere.
There’s the vast infrastructure set up to televise the world-wide “Hour of Power” television program from the Crystal Cathedral Ministries, which sold its campus in January to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange in a court-ordered bankruptcy case. The diocese is considering how it can tap into that model and possibly televise its sermons and programs.
There’s the spot where the Rev. Robert H. Schuller addressed congregants inside and outside his first Garden Grove Community Church, now the Arboretum at the Crystal Cathedral. Schuller built a balcony and installed speakers to address congregants sitting in their cars. Catholics are exploring how to incorporate new technology, perhaps with smart phones or iPads, to reach parishioners outside.
And there’s the vast 34-plus acre campus, featuring six buildings in addition to the well-known cathedral with its more than 10,000 glass panes. The diocese is considering bringing music and more public art into the campus’ vast open spaces.
“This is a property that defies imagination,” said Rob Neal, interim chief operating officer of the Christ Catholic Cathedral Corporation.
“We never appreciated the impact this campus had,” Neal told visiting bishops, archbishops and cardinals.
“It’s a holy place…but it does have good acoustics,” Neal said.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, D.C., called it a “great opportunity for evangelization.”
“It’s mind-boggling,” said Archbishop Daniel Cronin of Connecticut.
Hank Evers, director of development and communications for the Orange Catholic Foundation, said the cathedral has the potential to help with the Vatican’s goals of evangelization and its upcoming “Year of Faith” plans.
“This has world-wide implications,” Evers said. “We can create here the most significant Catholic cultural center in the world outside of the Vatican.”
The religious leaders are in town to attend a convention of the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic service organization. The diocese invited them to tour the campus this week.
“It’s an overwhelming structure,” Wuerl said. “Beautiful, uplifting, inspiring. The great Catholic tradition can be experienced here, made to come alive here. That opens a lot of possibilities.”
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