BOSTON (CBS) - It's almost ready. After two years of work, renovations inside and outside the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston are almost complete, and the transformation is remarkable. The first Mass will be celebrated on Palm Sunday, and the centerpiece of the Catholic Church in Boston has never looked more welcoming.
"People can hear, people can see, people can feel welcomed," Father Kevin O'Leary, the Rector of the Cathedral, told WBZ-TV. He's been part of the $26 million fix up, the first major renovation in 150 years.
"The Cardinal said, if we do not do this now, we would have to walk away from this project. We would have to walk away from the Cathedral because it was so compromised in so many ways," says Fr. O'Leary.
Not anymore. It's been transformed into a bright, sparkling temple, while protecting its' history.
"The highlighting of the windows, we've kept muted color so that the windows, the beautiful windows of stained glass, can speak to us in a new way," he said. Those windows are also lit from the inside so the Cathedral glows at night.
The outside has been cleaned and the stonework repointed. The Stations of the Cross were restored by hand, pews refinished, walls brightened. And the ceiling? Less than a year ago the Cathedral was filled with scaffolding from the floor all the way up.
"They worked on that ceiling for six months, stripping it, cleaning it and refinishing it," said Fr. O'Leary. But about half the work and expense is hidden.
"Electrical work, plumbing, heating and cooling, fire protection and sprinklers were added," says Michael Kieloch, the communications director for the Cathedral.
And the church will be ready for Cardinal Sean O'Malley to celebrate Mass on Palm Sunday and Easter, a time of renewal.
"Having a building that is not only beautiful but is structurally sound, and will be here for generations to come, ensures the church can continue to be a part of this community," Kieloch says.
This year Palm Sunday is also the day before the Boston Marathon, and a large group of people is expected to attend that Mass for the annual blessing of the runners.
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