Preparations underway for Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus dedication Mass

A Mass of dedication for the new Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus will be celebrated on Saturday, March 3, 2018, at noon.

Prelates from around the country and the world will join Bishop Richard F. Stika and Cardinal Justin Rigali in celebrating the historic dedication Mass.

Among those scheduled to attend are Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Cardinal William Levada, Papal Nuncio Archbishop Christophe Pierre, and Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz.

Cardinal Dziwisz (pronounced GEEvish) is a longtime Vatican official and the loyal secretary and dear friend to Pope St. John Paul II from 1966 until the pontiff’s death in 2005.

Cardinal Dziwisz also will take part in the second “Conversation with the Cardinals” to be held the following night in the new cathedral.

The first “Conversation with the Cardinals” took place April 18, 2015, in conjunction with the official groundbreaking of the cathedral and featured Bishop Stika, Cardinal Rigali, Cardinal Dolan, and Cardinal Levada.

A schedule of Masses and services are planned for the new cathedral, which has been under construction since April 2015.

While the dedication Mass and the “Conversation with the Cardinals” will require tickets to attend, all other Masses and services will be open to the public.

Bishop Stika, who will celebrate the Dedication Mass, said the Mass and Rite of Dedication of a church and its altar is one of the most solemn liturgical celebrations in the Catholic Church. The rite is sacred and dates back to the early years of the Church.

The bishop has noted that the Mass and the rite will elevate “this beautiful structure into holiness.”

“The Mass and Rite of Dedication of the cathedral will be a truly historic event in the history of our young diocese. It is a beautiful and elaborate ceremony in which the walls will be anointed, the baptistery, ambo, and tabernacle will be blessed as well as so many other items that play an important role in the liturgical space of a building,” he said.

“Special emphasis will be given to the altar of sacrifice, which will be anointed with the Holy Chrism that will indeed set it apart from just serving as a marble table. It will be in a very sacramental way Jesus himself. Also, the blessing of the cathedra (chair of the bishop) will be a focal point, for it is from this word in Latin that the name cathedral is drawn. The cathedral is the mother church of the diocese from which the bishop presides from his chair,” the bishop added.

“From the dedication on, March 3 will be a day of celebration in the Diocese of Knoxville and will be remembered in a special way at all of our parishes in years to come. Bishops from around the country and even in other parts of the world will be invited to attend. But truly it will be a celebration for all the faithful of the Catholic Church in East Tennessee.”

Prior to the dedication Mass, a Final Vespers service in the original Sacred Heart Cathedral will be held at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 25. Following this service, Cardinal Rigali and the Knights of Columbus will lead a transfer of relics and the dedication stone that toured the diocese in solemn procession to the new cathedral, where Bishop Stika will receive them. The Final Vespers and solemn procession for the transfer of relics are open to the public.

For the week beginning on Monday, Feb. 26, leading to the cathedral dedication, weekday school Masses at Sacred Heart will be held in the school gymnasium, and noon Mass will be celebrated in the Our Lady of the Mountains Chapel at the Chancery.

On Friday, March 2, Sacred Heart Cathedral School will be in session for a half-day and First Vespers in the new Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus will be held at 7 p.m. This service will also be open to the public.

On Saturday, March 3, doors to the new cathedral open to invitees at 10:30 a.m., and from 10:30 a.m. to noon individual cultural choirs and a diocesan choir will provide music until Mass begins at noon.

At 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 3, a vigil Mass will be celebrated in the new cathedral that is open to everyone.

Then on March 4, regularly scheduled Sunday Masses at 7:30, 9, and 11 a.m. and (in Spanish) at 1 p.m. will begin.

Also on Sunday, March 4, at 7 p.m., a Conversation with the Cardinals will be held in the cathedral, led by Bishop Stika and featuring Cardinal Dziwisz, who is expected to share his many experiences with Pope St. John Paul II, including the moments when the pope was shot in St. Peter’s Square. Upon being shot, Pope John Paul II slumped into Cardinal Dziwisz’s arms.

Other dates of interest for the new Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus as it becomes the mother church for the Diocese of Knoxville:

  • Monday, March 19, 7 p.m. — blessing of the St. Joseph altar;
  • Tuesday, March 27, 7 p.m. — Chrism Mass;
  • Monday, April 9, 7 p.m. — blessing of the Blessed Virgin Mary altar and an ecumenical prayer service;
  • Thursday, April 19, 7 p.m. — interfaith prayer service;
  • Thursday, April 26, 6 p.m. — Mass for the Knoxville Diocesan Council of Catholic Women;
  • Sunday, June 3, 4 p.m. — Mass with the Knights of Columbus for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi;
  • And at a date and time to be determined, a prayer service with construction workers who have been involved in the construction of the Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The following confirmation Masses also are scheduled for the new cathedral:

  • Saturday, April 7, 10 a.m. — Sacred Heart, Immaculate Conception, St. John XXIII, St. Albert the Great;
  • Saturday, April 7, 2 p.m. — All Saints, St. Bridget, Holy Spirit, Shepherd of the Valley, Our Lady of Lourdes;
  • Saturday, April 14, 10 a.m. — St. John Neumann, St. Alphonsus, St. Francis of Assisi in Fairfield Glade, Blessed Sacrament;
  • Sunday, April 15, 4 p.m. — Our Lady of Fatima, St. Augustine, St. Teresa of Kolkata, St. John Paul II, Our Lady of Perpetual Help in LaFollette, St. Jude in Helenwood, St. Christopher, St. Ann;
  • Saturday, April 21, 10 a.m. — St. Mary in Oak Ridge, Divine Mercy, St. Mary in Gatlinburg, Holy Cross, St. Francis of Assisi in Townsend, Holy Family, St. Therese in Clinton, St. Joseph in Norris;
  • Sunday, April 22, 4 p.m. — St. Patrick, St. Dominic, St. Henry, St. James the Apostle, Christ the King, Holy Trinity, Good Shepherd;
  • Sunday, April 29, 4 p.m. — Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Chattanooga;
  • Saturday, May 5, 2 p.m. — St. Jude in Chattanooga, St. Stephen, the Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul;
  • Sunday, May 6, 4 p.m. — St. Thérèse of Lisieux, St. Catherine Labouré, St. Mary in Athens, St. Joseph the Worker in Madisonville;
  • Saturday, May 12, 10 a.m. — St. Mary in Johnson City, St. Michael the Archangel, Notre Dame in Greeneville; St. Elizabeth, St. Anthony of Padua;
  • Sunday, May 20, 6 p.m. — Diocesan-wide adult confirmation.

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