In Your Midst

A Proud Past, A Promising Future

November 2003


Dear friends,

The years 2004-2007 will be banner years for St. James Cathedral as we proudly celebrate our one-hundredth anniversary. Bishop Edward O’Dea established the cathedral parish in November 1904 and dedicated our magnificent cathedral church three years later on December 22, 2007. These are events to celebrate, and celebrate them we will!

In planning the centennial, our parish leaders have felt it important that we not only look to the past with prayerful gratitude for all that has been accomplished but that we also look to the future with courage and foresight.

One hundred years ago our forebears laid the foundations of a parish and built a great cathedral. Since then, St. James Cathedral has served as the focal point of the Catholic Church in Western Washington and has also become an important spiritual, ecumenical, and cultural center for the city of Seattle and the entire Puget Sound region.

The renovation and restoration of the cathedral in 1994 was a milestone moment in the cathedral’s long history and many of you helped make it happen. What a great thing you did! But lest you feel tempted to rest on your laurels, I am hoping that you, like the visionary builders of St. James Cathedral will look to the future because there is still much work to be done.

With this in mind, and with the considered advice of our parish leaders, one aspect of our centennial celebration will be a major initiative – a $6 million capital campaign – to secure, strengthen, and expand our ministries to those most in need: the poor, the hungry, the homeless, as well as newly arrived immigrants and refugees.

Part of the money raised will be used to make significant and long-needed improvements to our buildings (Cathedral Place, the cathedral convent, the rectory-office building); part of it will be used to expand our outreach ministries to the poor. In addition, we hope to raise an endowment that will provide for the ongoing maintenance, preservation, and enhancement of the cathedral itself.

Details of the centennial capital campaign are set forth in a special section of this issue of In Your Midst. I hope that in reading it you will come to share my excitement about this great moment in the ongoing history of a great cathedral. I feel privileged to be part of it and fortunate to be able to celebrate it with you.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father Michael G. Ryan


IMAGINE. A new Pastoral Care Center where our parish’s ministries to the poor and needy, immigrants and refugees, the elderly and grieving are housed under one roof with easy accessibility for the handicapped and a welcoming environment for all.

Imagine. A dedicated space for our parish’s Winter Shelter featuring a warm, home-like environment with casual areas for the men from St. Martin de Porres to read or play cards, a comfortable and safe room for sleeping, and access to an outdoor courtyard.

Imagine. A light-filled, comfortably remodeled Cathedral Place Hall with modernized kitchen where hundreds of neighbors-in-need gather each week for a home-cooked meal prepared by the Catholic Worker Family Kitchen. And imagine an expanded space accommodating parish dinners, theatrical presentations, and panel discussions. On Sunday mornings, of course, it’s the perfect place to gather with friends and fellow parishioners for coffee and conversation.

All these visions (and many more!) will become reality during the next four years as the Cathedral launches its Centennial Campaign. Beginning next year, and continuing through 2007, St. James Cathedral will proudly celebrate 100 years of service to the community. The centennial will be a time for us not just to look back at where we’ve been in the last 100 years, but also to look forward to another century of grace for our Cathedral and our community.

The Cathedral’s 1994 renovation transformed our parish in ways we never imagined.

The Cathedral’s 1994 renovation, made possible by the generosity of so many parishioners and friends, transformed our beloved Cathedral into an incredibly beautiful and dynamic space for the celebration of the Church’s liturgy. Far from being an ending point, however, the renovation was only the beginning. It transformed our community in ways we couldn’t have imagined at the time. We’re a much larger parish (twice the size!) than we were then. More importantly, we are a growing parish, with more programs, more volunteers, and greater need for services, than ever before. The centennial of our parish and our Cathedral is a perfect moment to take a look at our other parish facilities and increase space for outreach, pastoral care, and education, bringing them up to the high standard set by the Cathedral itself.

The Centennial Campaign will raise funds for a multifaceted project with an emphasis on service and outreach. It will involve the renovation of three parish buildings, as well as the establishment of endowment funds for outreach, scholarships, and Cathedral preservation.

Creating a Pastoral Care Center

The decision of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary to vacate the Cathedral convent in 2005, while a difficult one, presents the parish with a wonderful opportunity to expand our outreach capabilities and to develop a focal point for our service programs. Renovated, the convent will become the Cathedral’s new Pastoral Care Center. A new entrance accessible to the public, including the handicapped, will be constructed on the Ninth Avenue side of the building, giving the Cathedral’s outreach ministries a “public face” and allowing the entire lower floor of the building to offer programs and services such as our men’s overnight shelter, daytime activities for the elderly, a referral center for poor and homeless people, counseling rooms, a St. Vincent de Paul Society office, and other services. The second floor will be developed into an attractive multi-use room for mid-sized parish events such as wedding and funeral receptions. The third floor will become the new home to our highly acclaimed ESL Program with offices and multiple small rooms for one-on-one tutoring and study.

Architect Stephen Lee imagines how walkways will connect the Cathedral block to the new Pastoral Care Center. The main entrance to the new center will be from Ninth Avenue and will be wheelchair accessible.

Renovation of Cathedral Place

Next to the Cathedral itself, Cathedral Place is the most used building on the Cathedral campus. Plans call for important upgrades and renovation to Cathedral Place Hall to better serve the needs of The Family Kitchen, O’Dea High School (which uses the Cathedral Place Hall for its cafeteria), and, of course, the parish itself. The floor will be replaced, kitchen equipment updated, and storage areas created. The demolition of the old ESL offices will create additional seating for Family Kitchen guests as well as for parish functions and the parish library.

A new courtyard will make the Bookstore and Rectory accessible to handicapped persons.

Tying it all together

As the Rectory has become less of a residence and more of a building for classes, meetings, social events and business functions, the lack of wheelchair access has become an acute problem. In order to address this need as well as to provide outdoor gathering space, a raised courtyard will be created between the Cathedral and the Rectory and a connecting walkway to the new Pastoral Care Center will be built. A new and friendly courtyard entrance to the Bookstore will also be added, making it accessible to the handicapped and visible from the street. The courtyard will enhance the beauty of a portion of the Cathedral grounds that has been largely overlooked, transforming this littleused space into a place of tranquility and respite in the heart of a busy community. The courtyard will echo the warmth and welcome of the Cathedral itself.

Expansion of the Hunthausen Fund

In 2001, St. James Cathedral launched The Hunthausen Fund, an innovative program designed to assist homeless individuals and families with the high costs of moving into permanent housing. The Hunthausen Fund helps the working poor to clear this hurdle by providing them with grants and no-interest loans. Funded by St. James and administered by Catholic Community Services, The Hunthausen Fund has, to date, assisted more than 100 families with grants and loans totalling $125,000! The Centennial Campaign seeks to establish an endowment fund in order to sustain this and other vital outreach programs and assure their continuance.

Scholarship Fund Endowment

St. James Cathedral provides substantial funding every year to assist needy parish families with tuition payments for the Catholic Rainbow Schools. This enables parish children, who otherwise would not be able to afford it, to receive a highquality Catholic education. The Cathedral now seeks to strengthen the Cathedral Scholarship Fund by increasing the endowment for this wonderful program.

The new Pastoral Care Center will house the acclaimed St. James ESL program, the Winter Shelter for homeless men, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and programs for the elderly. It will also offer a spacious area for receptions and meetings.

Cathedral Preservation Endowment

St. James Cathedral is not only a place of worship, but a beautiful historic structure in the heart of a great city. The final component of the Centennial Campaign is an endowment for the maintenance, preservation and enhancement of our great Cathedral. Our history has shown that periods of economic downturn make it difficult, if not impossible, to fund maintenance with the result that the building deteriorates. Establishment of an endowment will guarantee that funds will always be available to assure the care of this Seattle landmark.

A Bird’s-Eye View

Preparing for our next century

“When compared with other great cathedrals of the world, St. James is still young,” Father Michael G. Ryan wrote at the time of the Cathedral’s rededication in 1994. “Our mission has barely begun to be realized.”

During the months to come, it is our goal personally to contact every parishioner and friend of the Cathedral and to give them an opportunity to become a part of the Centennial Campaign and to create a tangible sign of our commitment to God’s poor. It’s one more way to celebrate our history as we look to a future full of promise.

To make a donation

Contact Mary Ann Millican in the Development Office at St. James Cathedral, 206-382-4284.


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