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Raising the Roses

prhoades News

A Quick Course in Ecclesiastical Architecture

A whole new set of equipment came to the Sacred Heart campus this week as Merit Construction brought in a 350-ton truck crane for the great “tilt-up” of the Cathedral’s massive rose window panels.

On Wednesday, June 15, 2016, the crane was nestled on the north side of the new church. A 71,000 pound concrete panel was carefully hoisted into place on the North transept where it was secured, welded and tacked off. The South transept Rose window was set early the next morning.


Above left: Fr. David Boettner stands in front of the North rose window panel. Middle: North transept rose window, June 15, 2016. Above Right: South transept rose window, June 16, 2016.


The most prominent East rose window facing Northshore Drive was set into place on Friday, June 17, 2016 in the presence of Bishop Richard Stika and a few members of the Sacred Heart building committee including, Tom Greer, Mary Mac Wilson, and Pam Rhoades. The 9:00 a.m. bells from the existing cathedral played the hymn, “Faith of Our Fathers,” during the moment the concrete window panel was lifted into place.

All of the rose window panels are 15 feet 9.5 inches in diameter. The North and South panels each weigh 71,000 pounds and the East window panel above the front portico weighs over 82,000 pounds.

A “rose” window in church architecture is an elaborated round window with traceries radiating in a form suggestive of a rose and filled with stained glass. (Denis R. McNamara, “How to Read Churches”) They are a beautiful and characteristic feature of churches of the Gothic architectural style. According to Fr. David Boettner, Rector of Sacred Heart Cathedral, the “East rose window design facing Northshore Drive will represent the themes of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in stained glass.”

Above:  An example of a rose window from St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC.


Bishop Richard Stika (left) is grateful for everyone involved including “all the benefactors, all those who have contributed, those in prayer, and the workers. This is a great moment in the history of the Diocese of Knoxville.”

Below:  Exterior watercolor of the new Sacred Heart Cathedral by McCrery Architects, Washington, D.C.

Close-up of the front rose window facing Northshore Drive.

To make a contribution to the Cathedral Campaign, please visit the campaign website or contact Mary Mac Wilson, mwilson@shcknox.org or 865.588.0249.