FALL RIVER —The restoration of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fall River is underway, and the second annual Lumen Christi Cathedral Gala set for next month aims to raise funding to continue with the repair of this iconic 167-year- old structure.
The Lumen Christi Cathedral Gala will take place at 6 p.m., Wednesday, June 7, at White’s of Westport, and its proceeds will help to finance the cost of critical repairs to the church in several areas including the Cathedral’s masonry, roof, bell tower, and stained-glass windows.
Thanks to the funds raised through the inaugural Lumen Christi Cathedral Gala held last year, work on the Cathedral has begun. A complete building scan of the Cathedral and Rectory existing conditions is being used to document and specify the restoration work and most immediate needs. The first of the 18 stained-glass windows lining the nave is currently being restored at New England Glass.
Lumen Christi, meaning ‘Light of Christ,’ captures the role that the Cathedral plays in the Diocese of Fall River. The Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption serves as the spiritual center of the Diocese, where its bishop has his chair, in Greek, cathedra, and where the Catholic community of Southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod and the Islands gathers with its bishop to celebrate significant diocesan liturgies and events.
The event also helps to shine a light on the many repairs needed at the Cathedral. St. Mary’s was built over the years 1852-1855 with its steeple, which rises 195 feet into the Fall River skyline, completed three years later. Originally a parish church, it was designated a cathedral church upon the establishment of the Diocese of Fall River in 1904. A video of Dr. Richard Grace, historian and professor emeritus of history from Providence College, explains many significant elements of the Cathedral as well as areas in need of restoration. www.vimeo.com/cfsema/cathedraltour
The Gala will feature a multi-course seated meal, a brief program highlighting the Cathedral, and an a cappella performance by the St. Mary’s Cathedral’s Choir under the direction of Madeleine Grace.
The evening program will also recognize Jack and Susan Dawley posthumously for their tremendous support of the Diocese of Fall River. Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., will bestow the Luminary Award on this couple, who were parishioners of Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in Osterville, in gratitude for their example of faith, philanthropy, and service throughout their lifetimes. Their son, John Dawley, will accept the award on behalf of his parents.
Serving as co-chairs of the Lumen Christi Cathedral Gala are Nick Christ, who is president of BayCoast Bank and co-chair of the Catholic Foundation of SE Mass. board, and Maryellen Sullivan Hughes of Mattapoisett, also of the Catholic Foundation board. District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III will serve as Emcee once again this year. The event’s committee also includes many prominent business and community leaders including Frank P. Baptista, Joseph Booth, Thomas P. Murray, Kim L. Perry, Carl F. Sawejko, Rep. Alan Silvia, Carl Taber, and Dr. Ryan Welter.
To purchase a ticket for the Lumen Christi Cathedral Gala or for information on sponsorship opportunities, please visit: www.catholicfoundationsema.org/cathedral-gala