Sound and Worship

One of the articles in the January 26, 2007, issue of The Steubenville Register, our diocesan newspaper, reports on a recent national survey about music and worship. The survey addressed singing by members of the congregation, and included more than a dozen elements related to our singing at Mass and other worshp celebrations.

Along with the many aspects of design, Fr. McGuire and two of us on the Triumph of the Cross Building Committee are working with our architects and an acoustical consulting firm to be sure the acoustics in our new cathedral support and enhance our prayer and worship. As people from the parishes we visited told us, having good sound and a clear sound system is a critical issue.

In the article about the survey, J. Michael McMahon, president of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians (the group conducting the survey), when addressing one of the elements affecting congregational singing –  a “church building that makes singing a pleasure” – said:

“These are long range kinds of things, but when you’re building a church one would hope that acoustics would be a major consideration. Sad to say, that’s not taken into account by a lot of people when it comes to building a church.”

For us, the acoustics are a major consideration for Triumph of the Cross and we’re actively including sound in our design plans.

Hear here!

Building on the Past

The latest issue of The Steubenville Register, our diocesan newspaper, includes two items related to Triumph of the Cross cathedral. One is an article by Msgr. John Michael Campbell, pastor of St. Mary Church in Marietta, Ohio, sharing his thoughts about the spirit and the people in the past who have built the diocese, and looks ahead to future generations. As part of his conclusion, he wrote:

I believe that we need Triumph of the Cross Cathedral because the people and priests of the Steubenville Diocese are proud of our past and look to the future. Sixty years ago, Bishop John King Mussio and the pioneers of our diocese brought these 13 counties together and built soething we are all proud of. In those days, there were nay sayers: “We don’t need another diocese in Ohio. They can never get the task done!” They were proved wrong.

I believe that we need Triumph of the Cross Cathedral because in 60 years future generations of Catholics will be thankful to God for our efforts, for the courage we had to step out in faith and build a beautiful cathedral – a living monument of our own faith.

The members of the Building Committee are actively praying and working together to help design and build a cathedral for prayer and worship, serving everyone in the diocese now and in the future.  

Building Committee Update from Fr. McGuire

The Building Committee has been hard at work continuing its planning for the building of our new parish church and cathedral.

You’re aware that the City Council rejected our request to reroute Garfield Avenue. Since that time, we have devised a new site plan with which we are very happy. It involves facing the front door of the church on Garfield and flipping the floor plan right to left. In other words, the bell tower and portico will be on the left as you face the church. Some of the advantages of this plan are that we will be able to place the building four feet higher on the hill and place the entrances even closer to the parking lots. The City Council may actually have helped us find an even better plan.

In the next eight to ten weeks we hope to finish our work on the design and engineering phase and put the project out for bid in early spring. Our hope is to be able to break ground around Pentecost. Construction would then continue through the summer of 2008.

Why is it taking so long? There have been elements of the process that have slowed us down. However, we are confident we will have a better building in the long run.

Fr. Tim McGuire, Pastor

Guest Column by Bishop Conlon in Steubenville “Herald Star”

In today’s (December 31, 2006) Steubenville Herald Star there’s a Guest Column by Bishop Conlon in which he shares some of his thoughts about the Catholic Church in the city and Diocese of Steubenville, Triumph of the Cross, and his prayerful commitment to the people and the Catholic Church of Steubenville.

The link above and here is to a pdf copy of the column. It’s a very thoughtful article, well worth the time to read and reflect on.

 Jim Coyle

(Update: Links to article added 1/5/2007)

Christmas Eve Update

I know it’s been a while since our last update here. Developing the detailed designs for Triumph of the Cross cathedral has been the primary focus of the architects and the parish Building Committee, and we look forward to sharing the results as we reach different milestones. As the process continues, it’s great to see the members of the committee work together, using their talents and experience in this special project. There are members with architecture, building project planning and construction experience working with the architects at very practical levels and planning what we hope are the best ways to involve local firms and workers in building the cathedral. Some of us with audio and video experience interacting with the acoustical consultants for the project to help design the sound and sound system so you and I will clearly hear and experience high-quality sound in our worship; and the artistic strengths of several committee members have been essential factors every step of the way.

All of us are concerned with the costs of building the cathedral and are making suggestions and decisions to keep costs under control while still building a beautiful, worship-full church and cathedral for Triumph of the Cross parish and the Diocese of Steubenville. Since our beginning in the Fall of 2005, the parish Finance Council and the Building Committee have been the groups working jointly on the design and development of Triumph of the Cross.

The men and women of these committees come from all of the existing parishes forming Triumph of the Cross. We’re committed to this project, knowing it’s a rare opportunity to plan and build a church and cathedral for our parish and for the diocese – for people, not institutions – where we’ll come together as a community to worship God and build new relationships with one another. What we’re doing now is not only for our families and friends, but for generations of Catholics to come.

We were disappointed that Steubenville’s City Council’s buildings and grounds committee didn’t grant our request to vacate Garfield Road and build a replacement on another part of the site, allowing us to build the cathedral closer to Holy Rosary school so students and parishioners wouldn’t have to cross an active street to reach the cathedral, but we’re designing a plan that moves the cathedral to a different part of the site.

For all of us, the closing of our present parishes is painful, but looking and the shortage of priests and other facts presented by the diocesan task force, which have been shared again in earlier posts to this weblog, we realize that the change is necessary for the Catholic church in Steubenville. We’re grateful for the positive response by many people, even though they haven’t been as vocal as others, and pray for unity in our Church and in the community as we continue to seek the Lord and do His will.

In early January we’ll be meeting with potential contractors for the project as we move closer to the construction phase of Triumph of the Cross. The design process has been filled with discussions and decisions, and we’re all looking forward to starting construction.

I wish you and your loved ones a most Blessed Christmas season, and look forward to sharing the building of Triumph of the Cross with you during the new year.

Jim Coyle

Building Committee Update from Fr. McGuire

I thought this might be a good time to give you an update regarding the work of the Building Committee. We met last week and will meet again next week. In the meantime, Meacham and Apel, our architects are working hard.

During the past two weeks, one of our architects has met with the City of Steubenville about code requirements and engineering. There are many code requirements that the City of Steubenville must be assured will be met (and they will all be met) before they will grant a permit to begin construction. There are codes involving almost every aspect of the building from what is under the ground to the top of the steeple.

Fr. Cross and I spent much of the first week of October inventorying all our churches. We took pictures of and cataloged every object in the churches (measurements, condition, colors, styles). This inventory will be used by the architects and the Building Committee to determine what can be moved to the new church and where it might be placed. The catalog contains around 500 pictures and descriptions.

Up to this point the architects have finished schematic drawings of the exterior, drawn the steel framing of the shell of the building, completed two possible site plans (depending on the City of Steubenville), rough window design, and completed a floor plan for both floors.

In the few weeks to come the Building Committee and the architects must make some very important decisions such as the brick and stone that will used in construction, the design and materials for pews, altar, baptismal font & ambo. In short, what we are working on now are some of the most important decisions yet. They are important because they involve what people will see. Many important decisions have already been made, but these have been in regard to things that people will never see such as excavation and supports.

Some members of the Building Committee have also been involved in receptions for the capital campaign. Many of the parishes around us began the campaign a few weeks ago. Our six parishes are beginning the campaign effort now.

This update will also appear in the October 22 Triumph of the Cross Parish Bulletin.

New Parish Website

Today, the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross, we completed work on the first phase of the new Triumph of the Cross website. As I write this, the Internet’s computers are making the changes needed to have our address (URL) – www.triumphofthecross.org – get you to the right “place” on the Web. This process usually takes about 24 hours to complete. We still have some areas to clean up, and we’ll be adding a lot more information in the weeks and months to come. As we grow the website, we hope you’ll find it to be an informative and enriching outreach of Triumph of the Cross Parish.

I want to extend special thanks to Steve Feher and The Ridgefield Group in Steubenville for developing and hosting our new site. Steve has been our contact and site developer, and I know from his late-night e-mails that many, many hours have been spent on this effort. As he wrote in one e-mail to me, “Eh…sleep is overrated! Work is too much fun!” Thanks, Steve!

And I want to thank the fine folks at RCNet, an Internet Service Provider and website hosting company in Michigan that hosted our initial site. RCNet has been serving the Catholic Church for years, offering advertising-free complimentary hosting for parishes, dioceses and religious groups. Any design and operation problems came from my work, not theirs.

Jim Coyle
Member, Triumph of the Cross Building Committee

Historical Recap – Part 14

July 25, 2005 was the day, chosen by the bishop, to accept and publish The Pastoral Plan for the City of Steubenville. His decree made the Pastoral Plan effective on August 6, 2005. As of that effective date, the Steubenville Task Force ceased to exist.

However, shortly thereafter, the bishop moved very quickly to implementation.

  • As of September 14, 2005, the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross, Triumph of the Cross Parish was formed and its pastor named.
  • The Implementation Team was formed from some former Task Force members and others. This group is charged with the implementation of the entire Pastoral Plan.
  • Another group formed was The Schools Task Force. This group was formed to make a recommendation to the bishop on the configuration of our Catholic schools – only the ones within the city limits of Steubenville. Within the next several weeks, The Schools Task Force will share with the public its recommendation prior to formally presenting it to the bishop. A new configuration of schools is expected for the 2007-2008 school year.
  • The final groups to be formed, these by Fr. McGuire, were the Triumph of the Cross Building Committee and Finance Council.

Fr. McGuire

Preliminary Drawing of the New Cathedral in Today’s “Steubenville Register”

On the front page of today’s edition of The Steubenville Register is a preliminary conceptual drawing of the front of Triumph of the Cross Church, along with a series of Questions and Answers from Bishop Conlon about the new Cathedral.

Added August 20: We’ve also posted a couple of the architects’ conceptual drawings on our Parish Website.

As one of the members of the Building Committee, I can tell you that we’ve been very pleased with the work being done by Meacham & Apel Architects. They’re as enthusiastic about our new church and cathedral as we are! This is truly a group effort – pastors and laity coming from different parishes bringing different gifts and perspectives, and architects who truly listen to the ideas and concerns of parishoners and priests – peacefully guided by the Holy Spirit.

When I began writing this, I hadn’t intended to “wave the flag” about our architects or the building committee, but as I reflected on our many meetings and discussions since we began our work last Fall, I realized how blessed I am to be part of this process on behalf of my parish community and the diocese. We have a long way to go and many tasks to accomplish before Triumph of the Cross is dedicated and we worship there together, but I have no doubt that God will continue guiding us each step of the way as He has so far.

Jim Coyle

Historical Recap – Part 13

The Task Force presented its first proposal to Bishop Conlon on November 1, 2004. While the bishop attended only a couple of our meetings, he received minutes from each meeting. He would sometimes respond to something in those minutes by asking a question or two for clarification.

It was determined that our first proposal wouldn’t work. Therefore, the Task Force spent the next six months determining how our second proposal could be put into effect. After consultation with the Presbyteral Council (diocesan council of priests), the bishop accepted our final proposal, and it is now taking effect.

Fr. McGuire