EDMONTON - It's a cross meant to be a light to the city, visible across the North Saskatchewan River Valley and to the tens of thousands of motorists who pass the new St. Joseph Seminary daily.
On Sept. 3 the seven-metre iron structure was blessed and later hoisted on top of the bell tower for the seminary chapel.
Having a large cross at the seminary visible to much of Edmonton was an aspiration of former Archbishop Thomas Collins when moving the seminary was more of a dream than a plan. Collins' desire appealed to Archbishop Richard Smith after his arrival in Edmonton in May 2007, said the seminary rector, Father Shayne Craig.
Perhaps it was fitting then that Edmonton's other archbishop - Joseph MacNeil - was the one who blessed the cross.
WCR PHOTO | GLEN ARGAN
Archbishop Joseph MacNeil, assisted by Fathers Shayne Craig and Stephen Hero, blesses the iron cross that was later erected on the bell tower adjacent to the chapel of St. Joseph Seminary.
"Archbishop Collins was adamant about a bell tower with a cross raised on high," Craig recalled. "He wanted it to be a proclamation of the Gospel to the city."
As a result, the seminary was largely designed so that the cross and bell tower had a most prominent place, he said.
Craig and Father Stephen Hero assisted MacNeil in the early morning blessing on the busy, noisy construction site.
In the early afternoon, one crane moved the cross to a point south of the chapel along 98th Avenue, before a larger one lifted the cross into place amidst high winds as welders waited to secure it in place.