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  January 8, 2007 • VOL. 45, NO. 1 • Oakland, CA

articles list

New estimates put costs for cathedral center at $190 million

New pastor for Immaculate Heart in Brentwood

St. Mary’s Center moves to former
St. Andrew-St. Joseph Church site

Pope welcomes 2007 with plea for human rights

After Saddam hangs, Vatican says
execution is not the way to justice

Church representative to U.N. says world has failed in Darfur

A month with the Salesians in India
yields insights into life of sacrifice

Two Fremont women reach out in friendship to men on death row

Christian Brother promotes environmental justice worldwide

Jesuit coffee company brews up peace, fair trade, and stewardship

Catholic Missonary Deaths

Only priest in the Gaza Strip says his people need peace

Project Andrew invites men to discernment day on priesthood

Alamo woman’s Adopt A Priest program
yields prayers for all priests in diocese

Collection funds seminary education

Do you have a call waiting?

St. Bonaventure Parish begins
celebrations of its 50th anniversary

Walk for Life West Coast to be held Jan. 20 in S.F.

Sister Mary Faith Clarke, SNJM

























New estimates put costs for
cathedral center at $190 million

The new Christ the Light Cathedral Center being built in downtown Oakland is likely to cost significantly more than first estimated, diocesan officials said late last month. A Dec. 22 report on the KTVU evening news put the estimated cost at $190 million, a number confirmed by Oakland Bishop Allen Vigneron in his letter to diocesan Catholics on page 1 of this issue and continuing on this page.

The new figure is $59 million more than the earlier estimate of $131 million.
Bishop Vigneron said in his letter that the original estimates did not include costs for the mausoleum being built beneath the cathedral and an adjacent conference center. Those expenditures, along with costs for the cathedral’s organ, account for $44 million of the additional costs, said Michael Brown, spokesman for the cathedral project.

Brown said an additional $15 million will cover financing expenses, project management fees, legal fees and property taxes. He said unforeseen site conditions, including discovery during excavation of foundations from a previous building at the site, pushed up costs as did construction delays caused by rain.

The new figure of $190 million, said the bishop, “is closer to probable reality than earlier estimates.”

Robert Seelig, director of diocesan cemeteries, said $13 million in costs have been assigned to construction of the mausoleum, though the mausoleum itself can be built for $5-$6 million. The other $7-8 million, he said, covers the outlay for excavation, external walls and other construction elements.

Seelig acknowledged that some consideration had been given to postponing installation of the mausoleum, but it was decided that delays would increase costs.

Current plans call for the cemetery corporation to market and operate the mausoleum, but not to supply funding for its construction, he said. He also said it is not likely that fees from mausoleum sales will produce significant income for the cathedral.

Seelig is recommending that burial costs for the mausoleum be kept accessible for middle class Catholic families. He estimates that an upper level crypt would be priced at about $10,000, twice the cost for a similar crypt at a diocesan cemetery, but far below costs for burial at the cathedral in Los Angeles, for example. Eye-level crypts would be more expensive, he said.

The mausoleum will have about 1,000 crypts and at least 1,000 niches. Cost for a niche would be about $3,000, Seelig said.

He said some Catholics have already asked about purchasing space in the mausoleum, but no sales will be made until the cathedral is complete. At that time, the body of Oakland’s first bishop, Floyd L. Begin, will be moved from Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Hayward to one of six crypts reserved for bishops.

Visitors to the mausoleum will be able to enter directly from Harrison Street, but there will also be a ramp from the cathedral so a funeral procession can proceed from the liturgy into the burial area. This action will remind mourners that they are “going into the sepulchre, into another sacred space,” said Seelig.

Stained glass windows salvaged from St. Francis de Sales Cathedral before it was demolished in 1993 will be installed in front of some of the crypt areas,
Seelig said. The original cathedral was irreparably damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

Michael Brown of the cathedral project said private fundraising continues with slightly over $91 million in donations and pledges already secured. He expects a public fundraising campaign to begin later this year.

When completed, the center will include the cathedral with seating for 1500, the mausoleum, a conference center, offices for diocesan and parish staffs, living quarters for parish priests and the bishop, a bookstore and café, underground parking, and an outdoor plaza.

Additional information is available at www.christthelightcathedral.org.





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