Dedication Stone Blessed by Pope Francis

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Pope Francis blesses the dedication stone of the new Cathedral cornerstone on October 14, 2015 with Cardinal Justin Rigali & Bishop Richard Stika at the General Audience in Rome. Photos courtesy L'Osservatore Romano Servizio Fotografico.

Pope Francis blesses the dedication stone of the new Cathedral cornerstone on October 14, 2015 with Cardinal Justin Rigali & Bishop Richard Stika at the General Audience in Rome. Photos courtesy L’Osservatore Romano Servizio Fotografico.

Bishop Richard F. Stika and Cardinal Justin Rigali were in Rome this week for the Synod on the Family. While there, Bishop and His Eminence brought the “Dedication Stone” (part of the new Cathedral’s cornerstone) to the Holy Father to be blessed. 

Fr. David Boettner, Rector of Sacred Heart Cathedral, said, “I am thrilled to have the Holy Father bless the dedication stone that will have permanent place in the Narthex of the new Cathedral. This stone will be a tangible reminder of our connection to the Universal Church and a sign of our unity of Faith with the Church throughout the whole world. I am also very pleased that the stone is made from Tennessee Marble that came from the farm of one of our building committee members. Having both a local material and a spiritual grounding with the Holy Father is a great witness to the true nature of a Cathedral. A Cathedral is a visible sign of the local and universal Church.”

READ MORE: Cathedral Construction Ramps Up

The entire cornerstone weighs 17.5 tons and was harvested from a quarry in East Tennessee. It measures 34″ across, 34″ deep, and 30″ tall. Parishioners and pilgrims will be able see the blessed stone at the entrance of the new Cathedral expected to be completed in Fall of 2017.

Deacon Sean Smith with Fr. Arthur Torres offer incense before the sprinkling of Holy Water on the cornerstone at the Cathedral Groundbreaking Ceremony on April 19, 2015.

Deacon Sean Smith with Fr. Arthur Torres offer incense before the sprinkling of Holy Water on the cornerstone at the Cathedral Groundbreaking Ceremony on April 19, 2015.

See more images from the Pope's blessing. Read more at DioKnox.org.

See more images from the Pope’s blessing. Read more at DioKnox.org.

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Bishop Richard Stika holds the blessed dedication stone at the tomb of St. John Paul II, founder of the Diocese of Knoxville.