Saturday, May 31, 2008

Mike Malcom's Tulsa World Interview

James Plumlee from the Tulsa World interviewed Mike Malcom about the renovation of the Cathedral. We enjoyed an adventure that led us to the top of the tallest spire.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Father Matt's TV Interview


KOTV, a local television station featured Fr. Matt La Chance and his thoughts on the renovation of the Cathedral, specifically the choice of colors.

Here is the article.
Here is a link to the video.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Painting is (mostly) Done!



The painting is done! Well, all that's left is the choir loft area.

The painters have removed the scaffolding, cans of paint, the hydraulic lift, and all of the other clutter. They are putting the pews back in place. The church is returning to "normal" in time for the Ordination of Fr. James Van Nguyen, our new associate pastor.

The walls and vaults over the choir loft are obstructed by the pipe organ. The lift cannot navigate around the pipes without the danger of irreparable damage, so the painters will install scaffolding in the choir loft. It should take about a week to install the scaffolding, then another week or so to paint the area.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Bishop and the Cathedra

Deacon John Johnson, chancellor of the diocese, delivered the new cathedra to Holy Family this morning. The Catholic Encyclopedia says that the cathedra is the "chair or throne of a bishop in his cathedral church, on which he presides at solemn functions." It is the presence of this chair that gives Holy Family Cathedral its name.

The new cathedra joins a long history of bishops' thrones in Holy Family. In 1931, the pope designated Holy Family a co-cathedral with Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Oklahoma City. The bishops of Oklahoma between Tulsa and Oklahoma City to preside in their co-cathedral churches.

In 1973, the pope split Oklahoma into two dioceses and chose Bernard J. Ganter to be the first bishop of Tulsa. Bishop Ganter was the former Vicar-General of the Diocese of Galveston-Houston. He served Tulsa until 1977, when the pope moved him to be the first bishop of the Diocese of Beaumont, Texas.

In the photo to the left, Bishop Ganter sits on his cathedra, a tufted leather chair that looked a bit out of place in a Gothic church.

An upholstered green chair soon replaced the leather cathedra. The green upholstery was a reminder of the episcopal green color associated with diocesan bishops. [The current green carpet under the cathedra is similar to episcopal green.]


By Christmas of 1983, the most recent cathedra was in place in the apse of the Cathedral. That chair and its twin had been retired during an earlier renovation. During Bishop Eucebius Beltran's time, both chairs were refinished. One was shortened and has become the current presider's chair - the chair where Monsignor Gier or any other presiding priest might sit. The cathedra was left tall and finished in gold paint to match the sanctuary tables.

The new cathedra is wide and quite tall. It complements a Gothic church nicely. The chair is in need of some work. Fabric and padding will fit in between the upright wooden slats.

Future blog posts will cover the refinishing of the new cathedra.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Blinking 12:00, 12:00, 12:00 ...

Click on the image for a larger version.

These are the instructions for "The Care of a Tower Clock" from the E. Howard Clock Company. Our tower clock is original to the building, although it has been modified twice.

The clock had pulleys and weights that had to be reset once a week. The shafts for the weights still exist in the Cathedral's "attic." They were accessible by climbing up into the central tower. This task is fairly easy and comfortable in the Spring and Fall. In Summer, the temperature is at least 20 degrees warmer than the ambient temperature outdoors. Resetting the clock in winter sounds rather unpleasant.

At some point it was modified to run on electricity, rather than the weights. The electric motors were compatible with the 50 Hz electricity of the day. Later on, when the United States shifted to 60 Hz electricity, we found that our clocks ran fast - very fast. Our tower clock gained an extra 12 minutes every hour.

Another modification fixed that.

The clock mechanism is protected by a metal structure that shields it from anything that might fall from above.

Today, the clock is showing its age. John Dzurilla, one of our maintenance men, is repairing a gear that has come loose. The minute hand climbs to the :00 position, then promptly falls to the :20 position. The hands will be repaired and back in good running order soon.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Painting the walls behind St. Joseph's Altar

The painters are applying purple paint to the wall behind the altar of Saint Joseph. The color comes from the St. Joseph window high above the altar of St. Mary.

In the window, St. Joseph is holding an Easter Lily. The lily will appear as a stencil, or motif, over the purple paint. Among the fleurs-de-lis will be the tools of a carpenter: a hammer, nails, and a carpenter's square.


Update: The painting is almost done. Here is what the altar looks like with the new paint behind it and without the plastic covering over it.