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Welcome Home to the Cathedral of St. Joseph, Rite of Rededication set for May 5

Celebration marks the completion of major renovation and expansion. 

Public invited to May 7 open house.

JEFFERSON CITY — The Most Reverend W. Shawn McKnight, Bishop of Jefferson City, has set May 5, 2023, as the date for the Rite of Rededication at the Cathedral of St. Joseph. The diocese is planning a series of events surrounding the rededication, allowing everyone the opportunity to celebrate the successful completion of this major, 16-month renovation and expansion.

Located in Jefferson City, the Cathedral of St. Joseph is the spiritual home for the more than 75,000 Catholics who reside in the Diocese of Jefferson City, which covers 38 counties in central and northeastern Missouri. The approximately $15 million project addresses numerous mechanical and accessibility issues within the structure while greatly enhancing the cathedral’s hospitality and spiritual functionality. 

The rededication will also mark the unveiling of new artwork and liturgical features that more fully reflect the beauty of our Catholic faith — as well as vividly tell the story of our diocese as we seek to enter into a new era of thriving Catholic life. 

“The rededication of our beloved Cathedral of St. Joseph symbolizes the start of a bright new chapter for the Diocese of Jefferson City. This moment in our history signifies a time of rebirth, renewal and rededication to our church and faith,” said Bishop McKnight. “As we once again open the doors to our cathedral, everyone is invited to experience the beauty of our Catholic faith — and we joyfully welcome home all who have been away. Let our worship in the Cathedral of St. Joseph bring greater glory to God and more fully enable us to lead souls to his mercy.”

While there were originally hopes the project would be complete in early 2023, shortages and supply chain issues ended up pushing the rededication to a providential date — the cathedral was first dedicated on May 5, 1974. That means the anniversary of the dedication and rededication will always fall on the same day going forward.

Due to limited, invitation-only seating, the Rite of Rededication will be livestreamed online at 10:30 a.m. on May 5. In addition, everyone is invited to come see the renewed Cathedral of St. Joseph in person during an open house event on the afternoon of Sunday, May 7. Open house details will be announced soon.

“This is a historic time for our diocese and also our parish. I am looking forward to welcoming everyone back home for Mass at our Cathedral of St. Joseph. While we couldn’t have the cathedral open for Holy Week, we are happy we will be back inside by the end of the Easter season,” said Fr. Louis Nelen, pastor of the 2,500-member cathedral parish. The parish has been gathering in a school gymnasium for Mass during construction. “We thank God for the many blessings that allowed us to undertake this ambitious project. While the past year has been difficult for our parish family, we know that our sacrifices today will be beneficial for generations to come. Our parish community stands ready to welcome everyone who wishes to visit our magnificent cathedral and join us as we praise God’s love and grace.”

The renovations are entirely funded by generous donors including lay Catholics, deacons and priests who sent gifts directly in support of the renovation, going above their regular support for their own parishes. In addition, the cathedral parish funded the significant improvements to the community space in the undercroft, located below the cathedral. 

Jefferson City-based Sircal Contracting served as the general contractor for the renovation. In addition to leading the construction work, the project involved coordinating with artists from the local region and around the world.

“It has been an honor for our company and our skilled tradesmen to work inside and outside the Cathedral of St. Joseph alongside so many talented individuals,” said Chris Hentges, president of Sircal Contracting, Inc. “This project has been a rewarding challenge both in the detail and complexity of work, along with the pandemic-related issues which have affected our industry. We are taking the time to complete the renovations with the utmost quality and care, and the finished product will be breathtaking.”

As we celebrate the completion of the renovation, Bishop McKnight is calling all in the diocese to join together to safeguard this gift for future generations. Bishop McKnight has established a new Cathedral Preservation Fund, a forward-looking fund that will pay for major repairs and extraordinary expenses at the cathedral in the years and decades to come. 

“Even as we enjoy this moment and appreciate all God has enabled us to accomplish, we should also look forward,” said Bishop McKnight. “As we open this new chapter in the history of our diocese, I am calling everyone to come together behind protecting and preserving the gift of our renewed cathedral. The Cathedral of St. Joseph belongs to all of us. Working together toward its safekeeping can unite us as a diocese as we celebrate this historic rededication.”

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Led by Bishop W. Shawn McKnight, the Diocese of Jefferson City is home to more than 90 Catholic parishes, serving 75,000 Catholics in 38 counties. Learn more at www.diojeffcity.org.