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Second phase of Cathedral renovation will move altar deeper into sanctuary

The second phase of Cathedral renovation will move the altar into the sanctuary space and reposition all seating to face the altar. (Architectural rendering courtesy of St. John’s Cathedral)

By Gene Fadness


BOISE – The second phase of a major renovation of the sanctuary of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist begins in mid-June, a project that will close the Cathedral for about five weeks. During that time, Mass will be celebrated in the gymnasium of St. Joseph’s School next door.

Earlier this year, the tabernacle in the Cathedral was moved from the south transept to its original location in the center. At the same time, the Bishop’s canopy and chair was moved from the back of the sanctuary to the north side of the sanctuary and the crucifix raised to a higher position.

The next phase will restore the altar to its original location further into the sanctuary. That will create enough space at the front of the church to add more pews, increasing capacity in the Cathedral by about 100. The pews in the north and south transepts will be repositioned 90 degrees so that all seating in the Cathedral will face west, toward the altar.

The ambo will be moved to be six inches behind the front of the altar and on the sanctuary elevation. The relocation of the ambo will expose the currently hidden marble base on which it rests.

Another major feature of the renovation will be the installation of a new Holy Spirit window, the large stained glass window in the center-back of the Cathedral. The window will be designed to better complement the current colors and design of the other windows.

The first phase was completed in just six weeks, with parishioners raising the $275,000 cost.

The second phase will take longer with a goal of being completed by the First Sunday of Advent (Nov. 27), although the Cathedral will be closed for only about five weeks, from mid-June to late July or early August.

The estimated five-week closure is to allow time for workers to demolish the current altar platform. The rest of the renovation will be able to continue while the Cathedral is open for weekend Masses.

The second phase is expected to cost $475,000, with $300,000 of that already raised.

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