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In this photo taken around 1907, the Cathedral dominated the city's skyline

Can you spot the Cathedral in this photo taken from West Seattle?

August, 2015

Dear Friends,
You will notice this weekend that both the outer and inner doors at the Terry and Marion and the Archbishop Murphy Courtyard entrances to the Cathedral have now been fitted with electrified door openers for the benefit of the physically challenged. This happy and long-awaited improvement is only the first of several phases of our Place of Light, Place of Welcome project to which many of you have made generous contributions during the past year.
You probably remember from an article in In Your Midst, that the major focus of the Place of Light, Place of Welcome project will be the dramatic lighting of the exterior of the Cathedral which will allow the Cathedral to reclaim its prominence and beauty on the city skyline and also make the Cathedral grounds much safer at night. Other aspects of the project involve the retrofitting of many of the electrical fixtures inside the Cathedral, allowing the use of LED bulbs that, over time, will be both energy efficient and much more cost effective than the present ones. Lastly, new signage, more friendly for both parishioners and visitors alike, will soon be installed around the campus.
The actual construction involved with the exterior lighting of the Cathedral will, as you might expect, be quite extensive and time-consuming. The height of the towers alone would make it so, but when you add to that the mysteries of a building that is nearly 110 years old now, you can begin to see the ramifications--and unexpected surprises--of a major project of this sort.
When we launched the fundraising for the project this time last year, we did our best, with the help of the best experts available, to estimate the costs involved which seemed quite manageable ($1 million). For that reason we took a very low-key approach to the fundraising. Now it is clear that our estimate of $1 million was quite conservative, to say the least. And so, in light of considerable cost-overruns, we are now seeking to raise an additional $175,000. If you would like to make a contribution to Place of Light, Place of Welcome, it will be most welcome. A one-time gift would be appreciated or, if you prefer, the gift can be made over a three-year period. Click here to download a pledge form. Scroll down to learn more about this exciting new project.
The good news about all this is that the newly-lit Cathedral will glow in a way that it never has. And I like the thought that as we, in communion with Pope Francis and the Church throughout the world, launch the Holy Year of Mercy on this coming December 8, St. James Cathedral will shine out as a beacon not only of light but of mercy for our city and our region!

In Christ,
Father Michael G. Ryan
Pastor, St. James Cathedral



October, 2014

Dear Friends,

In 1907, Bishop O’Dea chose the most prominent hill in the city of Seattle for the site of the Catholic Cathedral. In those early days, St. James Cathedral dominated Seattle’s skyline. Sailors coming in to port would spot the Cathedral’s towers from a great distance and know they were home. The Cathedral was truly a beacon of hope, seen for miles around.

Our city has grown since those early days. The ongoing development in the downtown area has all but swallowed up the Cathedral, and the development of First Hill will only continue.

This new $1 million campaign will put St. James Cathedral back on the city’s skyline by providing innovative, energy-efficient exterior lighting that will make the Cathedral as safe and beautiful by night as it is by day.  The new lighting will be an invitation to the city to come explore the beauty of the Cathedral and to encounter everything it stands for.

In addition to exterior lighting, the campaign will address the problem of our now-obsolete interior lighting, replacing old incandescent fixtures and bulbs with new, energy-efficient LEDs.  Not only will the new lights provide a significant cost savings, but they are the most environmentally responsible choice for the 21st century.

Finally, the campaign will provide updated accessibility for persons with limited mobility—automatic openers for the doors at the Marion and Terry and Columbia Street entrances as well as the Cathedral Rectory and Bookstore, and a new wheelchair lift for safe, easy access to the Cathedral Chapel.

These much-needed improvements will insure that everyone has full access to our historic and beautiful Cathedral.

With your generous support, we can make sure that St. James Cathedral remains a place of light and of welcome
in our growing city for many years to come.

In Christ,
Father Michael G. Ryan
Pastor, St. James Cathedral

The current exterior lighting of the Cathedral leaves something to be desired

Lighting designer Linet Henry’s design for new exterior lighting

COST: $550,000

What are we doing?
Installing new exterior lights both on the Cathedral itself and around the Cathedral campus.  This will involve providing electricity in the Cathedral towers for the first time.

Why are we doing it?
Exterior lighting will not only bring out the incredible architectural beauty of the Cathedral, letting the Cathedral shine as a beacon in the city, it will also provide significant safety improvements.  The west façade will be lit to reduce “light pollution” for our neighbors and at the same time, lighting designer Linet Henry will bring out the poetry of our beautiful Cathedral in new ways.
Stairways approaching the Cathedral and entrances will be lit to provide safety and a warm welcome. In addition, the Marion and Terry entrance to the Cathedral, which has become the cathedral’s main entrance for the majority of our parishioners, will be enhanced with special lighting.

COST: $175,000

What are we doing?
Providing automatic openers to the accessible entrances at Marion and Terry and at Columbia Street, as well as the Cathedral Bookstore.  We’ll also upgrade the Chapel wheelchair lift and provide better access to the parish office.
Signage around the Cathedral will be provided
to welcome regulars and visitors alike, and to reach out to passersby with a warm welcome.

Why are we doing it?
We need to make sure the Cathedral is accessible to mobility-impaired persons, whether they are using walkers, crutches, or wheelchairs.
Visitors and regulars alike can find it challenging locating the different buildings and spaces around the Cathedral campus. New signage will help welcome and direct all who approach this sacred place.

COST: $275,000

What are we doing?
Replacing all the fixtures and lamps currently in the Cathedral with new LED fixtures and bulbs.

Why are we doing it?
In the twenty years since the renovation of the Cathedral, lighting technology has changed radically. The incandescent bulbs in the Cathedral are energy inefficient and in fact are no longer available. Every fixture and bulb in the Cathedral and Chapel will need to be replaced. This expense is beyond our annual budget for maintenance and preservation of the Cathedral.
The good news:  over the next few years, the new LEDs will represent a significant energy and cost savings.


For information about being a part of this exciting new project,
contact Maria Laughlin, Director of Stewardship & Development

If you'd like to make a gift, download a pledge form here



Return to St. James Cathedral Parish Website

804 Ninth Avenue
Seattle, Washington  98104
Phone 206.622.3559  Fax 206.622.5303