In Your Midst

A Blessed Moment

Nov. 2005

I have no doubt that, as our parish continues to grow and change, our Pastoral Care Center will serve needs we can only dimly imagine today

November 13, 2005

Dear Friends,

    The dedication of our new Pastoral Care Center is a happy and blessed moment in the life of a parish that, over the past one-hundred years, has had many happy and blessed moments. It is also a moment in which each of you, the parishioners of St. James Cathedral, can take real pride for it is your generosity more than anything else that has made this day possible.


St. Frances Xavier Cabrini worshipped in St. James Cathedral in its early years.  Her commitment to serving the poor and needy makes her a fitting inspiration for the loving service that will be given day after day in our Pastoral Care Center
 

    Our Pastoral Care Center is, as you know, not a new building. For forty years the building was the convent of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary who have served in St. James Cathedral parish from the very beginning. I know that the Sisters, whose unselfish service in the name of Christ has helped define our parish for one-hundred years, rejoice with us that their former home can now serve parish needs in new and exciting ways.

    November 13 is surely the right day for this celebration. It was exactly one-hundred years ago, on November 12, 1905, that Bishop Edward O’Dea laid the cornerstone for St. James Cathedral. Thirty-one years later, in 1946, the Church declared Frances Xavier Cabrini to be a saint and established this very day as her feast. The fact that Mother Cabrini carried out a good deal of her Seattle mission right on this hilltop and frequently prayed in St. James Cathedral whenever she was in Seattle, qualifies her as special patron of our parish and we happily claim her. Her commitment to serving the poor and needy makes her a fitting inspiration for the loving service that will be given day after day in our Pastoral Care Center.

    Centennial celebrations are, typically, times for looking to the past with a sense of accomplishment and gratitude. We certainly do that today but more importantly, I think, we also look to the future. Our new Pastoral Care Center will enable us to expand and intensify our outreach and pastoral care ministries to the poor and needy. Here, the homeless will find shelter; the immigrants, a welcome; the elderly, companionship; the grieving, comfort. This new center will be a gathering place for families with children, as well as teenagers, young adults, and couples preparing for marriage. It will also be an important place for parish receptions and get-togethers. And I have no doubt that, as our parish continues to grow and change, this Pastoral Care Center will serve needs we can only dimly imagine today.

    An achievement of this magnitude can come about only through the generosity and vision of many people. You, the parishioners of St. James Cathedral, along with the Cathedral’s many non-parishioner friends, are first among those generous and visionary people. I am profoundly grateful to each of you for the unqualified support you gave to our Centennial Capital Campaign. Each one of the Centennial campaign projects—the Pastoral Care Center is only one of them—is a part of your legacy for future generations.


St. James Cathedral towers over the city in this image dating from 1907
 

    I wish also to acknowledge with deep gratitude several people whose contributions to this project have made a big difference. It is dangerous to single out individuals but I feel I must. Gene Colin of Ferguson Construction Company, a longtime friend of the Cathedral, gave us a construction team that was first rate, and his generous waiving of the substantial general contractor fees made it possible for us to far exceed what we initially set out to do. Stephen Lee of Stephen Lee Architects, exhibited the same high quality of work and artistry on this project that he displayed all during the great Cathedral renovation of 1994. Larry Brouse, pastoral assistant for administration of the Cathedral, served as the owner’s representative for the construction and, as in all things, carried out his duties with a high level of competence combined with his ever-welcome humor. Maria Laughlin, Cathedral Office Manager, deserves a great deal of thanks for her painstaking work on the campaign over the past two years and her inspired efforts in designing this commemorative booklet. Most of her work was behind the scenes but none of it went unnoticed. To these individuals I would add Jeff Meder, chair of the Centennial Capital Campaign, David Knight, fundraising consultant, Mary Ann Millican and Joe McGavick, Directors of Development, and all those parishioners who worked so hard with him on the campaign. Lastly, thanks are owing to the members of the design committee who spent long hours overseeing each minute aspect of a very complex project.

    In closing, I wish to thank Archbishop Alex J. Brunett whose leadership in this local Church and whose presence on this day of dedication is a reminder to us that we are not just a parish, not even just a Cathedral, but a living link with Jesus Christ who reminded his apostles that he was “in their midst as one who serves.”

    He gives the same reminder to each of us.

Sincerely in the Lord Jesus,

Father Michael G. Ryan


Back To In Your Midst Page