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BOSTON -- After nearly two years of anticipation, the transformed interior of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross will be once again open to the public on Palm Sunday, April 14.
"We're really excited for our major project to come to completion," Michael Kieloch, the cathedral's director of communications, told the Pilot in a March 29 interview.
He said the original pews have been refinished and reinstalled, and the new floor, altar, ambo and baptismal font are in place.
Much of the cathedral's interior decoration and artwork was restored to its original intended appearance. Kieloch said the canvas paintings of the Stations of the Cross "look pretty spectacular," after layers of yellowing varnish were removed.
"They're much brighter and the colors are much more vivid now. You can actually see the artwork," he said.
Cathedral Rector Father Kevin O'Leary called the project "a spectacular change."
"We restored everything we were able to restore. We didn't introduce too many new elements. We tried to use what was here," he said.
There are some new or improved features, however, such as the modern heating and cooling systems as well as the new high-efficiency lighting system.
The cathedral's windows are already being lit each night, illuminating the stained glass from inside.
"People in the neighborhood have started to notice and comment how nice it looks," Kieloch said.
According to Kieloch, CatholicTV is "in the final stages" of installing remote-controlled cameras throughout the cathedral. The cameras are being wired to a control room in the cathedral's basement. This system, Kieloch said, will make it easier to televise Mass from the cathedral, and eliminate the need for mobile cameras or boom poles to be positioned on the cathedral floor.
Kieloch said the only major element of the restoration that will not be complete by the time of the reopening is the Hook and Hastings organ, which was taken offsite for cleaning during the renovations.
Kieloch noted that the original organ was never used primarily for providing the music at liturgies. Instead, a Rogers organ was used in the front of the cathedral, where the choir used to sit. The Rogers organ will be reinstalled and used for musical accompaniment. Kieloch said they are looking to reinstall the original organ in June.
"I know that everyone's looking forward to kind of unveiling the final product," Kieloch said.
The first public Mass in the new space will be the 11:30 a.m. Palm Sunday Mass celebrated by Cardinal O'Malley. A special Mass for workers, benefactors, and others who contributed to the project will be held prior to the public reopening.
"All the attendant things of Palm Sunday like the blessing of palms (will) have the extra attraction of being the first public major Mass in the restored space," Kieloch said.