Clergy, VIPs Join Privileged Catholics in Blessing New Co-Cathedral

The three hour consecration of the Co-Cathedral begin with uniformed members of the Knights of Columbus lining up at the front doors. A procession followed, with about 200 Roman Catholic deacons, 300 priests, 50 bishops and visitingcardinals, lead by Daniel Cardinal DiNardo. Inside, the 2,000 invited guestsand the 100 member choir greeted the procession in song.During the homily, Cardinal DiNardo read part of a letter from Pope Bendict.

"He sends cordial greetings and good wishes to you. To Archbishop-emeritusJoseph A Fiorenza, who was responsible for this significant pastoral initiative, and to all the clergy religious and laity of the archdiocese of Galveston-Houston."

Cardinal DiNardo says the new place of worship will make area catholics proud of their faith.

"Houston is such a dynamic, bustling city, I think people can run through their dailylives frequently, and they may not have time for reflection. This building just kind ofproclaims boldly...'come on in for a moment of prayer. Come in for a moment of refreshmentand whatever your religious faith. You can sit here in quiet, be uplifted perhaps, justfocused. What a wonderful invitation that is in the midst of this great city."

Former Texas Secretary of State George Strake called it a moving experience.

"It's kind of like you're in the Super Bowl (heh-heh). It is a very special moment for Houston, for Texas and for the Catholic faith here and I hope it does something to make people a littlebit better citizens. I hope it does, including myself."

The new co-cathedral replaces the nearly 100-year-old Sacred Heart which started as a parish church. It doubles up with St Mary Catrhedral Basilica in Galveston, where the archdiocese was founded.

Pat Hernandez, Houston Public Radio News.

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