Diocesan News

Cathedral raising funds to repair windows

LINCOLN (SNR) - When the Cathedral of the Risen Christ was built in Lincoln between 1964-65, it was a modern work of art in every way, including the numerous stained glass windows designed by Max Ingrand of Paris, France, and Rambusch Studios of New York.

Like its name, the Cathedral was designed to reflect on the Lord’s Resurrection. From the statues to the soaring ceilings to the windows, the message rings loud and clear: "He is risen!"

Now there is a concerted effort to preserve and protect the Cathedral windows, including the ones at the main entrance that soar some 30 feet above the ground.

In the nearly 50 years since the Cathedral was built, some of the panels have begun to shift due to fluctuating heat and cold that has caused joints to loosen.

"If you stand next to one of the widows in the nave of the church and look up, you can see that it just sort of waves all the way up," said Msgr. Robert Tucker, rector. "If something isn’t done soon, those windows could break."

Furthermore, the protective layer of Plexiglass that was installed outside each window a couple of decades ago has yellowed and darkened to the point of obscuring the beauty of the glass artwork. This is more evident on the panels that have received the most direct sunlight.

Msgr. Tucker emphasized that repairing the windows is a mark of good stewardship and a necessary step in preserving an important part of the diocese’s history. What’s more, stained glass windows are an important part of worship.

"They tell the story of faith," Msgr. Tucker said.

The solution is to have the panels that have shifted carefully removed, re-leaded and reinstalled, and to replace the Plexiglass coverings replaced with quarter-inch plate glass on most of the windows and quarter-inch tempered plate glass on windows low enough for people to reach.

Architectural Glassarts in Lincoln, a company that has been run by three generations of glass artisans, has been hired to do the work. Currently, the majestic windows on the front of the church are receiving the new protective glass. The company will then clean the inside of the windows and repair any cracked pieces.

Working with the parish council, Msgr. Tucker was able to move on that part of the project thanks to a $25,000 gift the parish received last Christmas, and a few other gifts received in the ensuing months that made up the $40,000 total.

However, Msgr. Tucker said, "We’re only doing the front of the church right now because we don’t have the money to do the whole thing."

There are so many other windows at the Cathedral, and another $225,000 must be raised to repair and protect the rest of them.

"We are going to put that in our Christmas Wish List," Msgr. Tucker said.

The parish has created a notebook picturing each window in need of repair, plus the estimate of how much it will cost for Architectural Glassarts to complete the work. Estimate range between $800 and $6,000, depending on the size of the window and the extent of repair that is required. Some of the windows are shown in stock photos at left. Parishioners and other benefactors are invited to page through the book and select the window(s) they would like to sponsor.

Msgr. Tucker has already had some enthusiastic parishioners agree to repair a number of windows. He hopes that more people will sponsor windows in the near future, so that Architectural Glassarts can continue the repair work all winter.

"We can leave the current covering in place, and they can take a [stained glass] panel out and work on it in their shop," he explained.

On nicer days, the company can also go ahead and replace the Plexiglass. If all the windows could be completed by Easter Vigil, that would be ideal.

Once repaired, the windows will continue to hearten the faithful when they gather for Mass, perpetual adoration and other devotions… and they may even inspire non-Catholics driving or walking past the Cathedral on Sheridan Boulevard.

"We’ve been talking about keeping the lights on so people can see it," Msgr. Tucker said.

For more information about sponsoring window repair at the Cathedral of the Risen Christ, contact Msgr. Tucker at (402) 488-0948. You can also stop by during business hours to select a window to sponsor or send a donation to Cathedral of the Risen Christ, Attn: Msgr. Tucker, 3500 Sheridan Blvd, Lincoln, NE 68506.

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