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    Photo: Nate Fried-Lipski

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    Photo: George Martell

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    Photo: George Martell


Cathedral of the Holy Cross: $26 million restoration

Jessica Evans
15 Jul 2019

The largest Roman Catholic church in New England with the ability to seat 2,000 worshippers has now reopened after a two-year restoration.

Originally designed by 19th century Irish-American architect Patrick Keely, the Cathedral is home to New England’s earliest and largest stained-glass collection, as well as an 1875 E&G Hook and Hastings 5,000 pipe organ.The historic 1830 refurbished steel bells were installed in 2015, replacing a carillon.

Elkus Manfredi Architects, along with construction company Suffolk, undertook the renovation at the request of Cardinal O’Malley. The renovation included all pwes being removed, repaired or reinstalled with new kneelers, with the step up to the pew having been removed for easier access.

The previously leaking roof, remedied in 2015, caused water damage to the interior walls, which have now been repaired and repainted with the woodwork cleaned and varnished. The stained-glass windows have been cleaned and now have backlighting at night due to being illuminated from within.

More durable stone floors have replaced the old ones which required more maintenance, whilst the existing columns and gothic arches were repainted and the existing gold accents restored. The ornate carved wood ceiling trusses have been re-varnished and detailed with gold accent paint to call attention to the original intricate details.

The $26 million renovation allowed for the Cathedral to have a more expansive environment - a handicapped lift and ramps have been added for accessibility to between sanctuary and sacristy.

Fire safety systems have been upgraded, which now includes a sprinkler system. New electrical wiring and plumbing systems have been introduced to allow for state-of-the-art technology such as the new LED lighting, sound system and the sanctuary and nave’s first ever air conditioning system

The “mother church” of the Boston Archdiocese is celebrating 150 years of service towards South End’s diverse community.


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