Dome Home: New Cathedral Topped-Out

Workers and a huge crane carefully guided an 80,000 pound dome into place today atop the new Co-catherdral of the Sacred Heart downtown. A symbolic milestone for parishoners anxious to move into their new place of worship. Houston Public Radio's Jack Williams reports.

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The topping-out ceremony means the dome now sits at the highest point of the new structure, 117-feet above the ground overlooking the southern end of downtown. The $40 million cathedral is about half done, with 32 million pounds of concrete already poured. This is retired Archbishop of the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese Joseph Fiorenza.

"The dome is a traditional part of the ancient cathedrals. In Italy, they call it "el duomo". They don't even call them cathedrals in many places in Italy, they just call them "the dome"."

When complete, the cathedral, which is built in the shape of a cross, will hold 1800 worshippers. Fiorenza, who stepped down as the head of the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese last year, says the facility is a welcome addition to downtown.

Cathedral Dome

"It's going to help bring into the downtown area a new sense of the importance of God in the life of the city. If we try to keep God and the things of God and the truths of God apart from the city, then we're not going to live very well together as His children."

Chuck Greco is the president of Linbeck Construction, the company building the cathedral, and says bolting the dome into place is a big step.

"Topping-out is one of our first, major significant milestones. It signifies that we're reaching the highest point of the structure with the last member, which is going to be this dome that's out here, so it's very significant."

Cathedral Dome

Hilda McDougal and her husband Charles are new members of the Archdiocese and watched as the dome was lifted into place.

"It's incredible just to see the renewing of the church completely. It's awesome to see the new growing perfect."

The cathedral is set to be complete late next year.

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