Fulfilling Archbishop Fiorenza’s vision with ‘Completing the Walk’ campaign

July 15, 2023

Part of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart’s new ‘Completing the Walk’ capital campaign includes the establishment of an endowment to ensure that the Co-Cathedral meets the needs of this local Church for years to come, according to parish leaders. (Photo by James Ramos/Herald)

HOUSTON — “We haven’t completed the walk yet. The journey is still going on, but we’ve made progress... we can’t stop now; we have to keep going.” These words from the late-Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza serve as the basis for the new capital campaign for the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in downtown Houston.

The “Completing the Walk” campaign will commemorate Archbishop Fiorenza’s memory with the Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza Plaza on the site of the former, now demolished, Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral and will fulfill his vision by making improvements to and establishing an endowment for the newer Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart.
On June 16, the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, hundreds of parishioners and friends gathered in the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart to celebrate the co-cathedral’s patronal feast and to learn more about the “Completing the Walk” capital campaign.

The campaign, with a goal of $9.8 million, has four key goals: the demolition of the old Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart and the creation of a parking lot and the Archbishop Fiorenza Plaza; upgrades, maintenance and increased efficiencies to the co-cathedral itself; investments and improvements to the Cathedral Centre, and the creation of an endowment to preserve and care for the co-cathedral for decades to come.

The first and most visible component of the campaign is the demolition of the old Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart (at the corner of Fannin St. and Pierce St.) and the creation of the Archbishop Fiorenza Plaza. The now-completed demolition of the old co-cathedral, rectory, and former Sacred Heart School has opened the 60,000-square-foot city block for redevelopment.

While most of the site will be developed into much-needed, well-lit and landscaped parking for the co-cathedral — with an increase of 100 additional parking spaces — approximately 6,000 square feet will be redeveloped into the Archbishop Fiorenza Plaza — featuring green space, a covered pavilion and a tribute wall that will include information about the life of Archbishop Fiorenza, the history of Sacred Heart parish, and list supporters of the campaign.

Archbishop Fiorenza had always intended for a “Cathedral Green” on the site of the former co-cathedral, and this is now coming to fruition and being named in his honor.
“It is most fitting to honor Archbishop Fiorenza’s memory and create a beautiful gathering space for the parishioners of Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral,” said Daniel Cardinal DiNardo.

Father Jeffrey L. Bame, rector and pastor of the co-cathedral, said, “The plaza and the other case elements of our campaign seek to bring Archbishop Fiorenza’s vision to completion and to enshrine his legacy as a spiritual father.”

The second and third components involve upgrades and maintenance to the co-cathedral and the Cathedral Centre themselves. As a result of the campaign, the co-cathedral will receive improvements to its sound and lighting systems; the doors to the co-cathedral will be replaced for security and energy efficiency reasons; roof work, exterior cleaning and general maintenance that has been deferred will be conducted; repairs and ongoing support for the world-class Pasi Organ will be available, and additional handicap parking and access will be provided.

The Cathedral Centre will see significant improvements in A/V, sound and event hosting capabilities as it frequently welcomes large groups from across the Archdiocese and is the central coordinating point for many significant Archdiocesan events. Other improvements to the former Federal Reserve building include upgrades to HVAC and lighting systems and expansion and resurfacing of the parking lot immediately available behind the Cathedral Centre.

In addition to housing the parish offices of the co-cathedral, the Cathedral Centre is a ministry center that serves the poor, the lonely, and those in need with direct volunteer service.

The fourth and final element of the campaign is the most important and critical part of Archbishop Fiorenza’s plans for the co-cathedral.

“While the co-cathedral, consecrated 15 years ago by Cardinal DiNardo, was built with support from across the Archdiocesan community, its upkeep and maintenance have been left to a small group of faithful parishioners — a model that is no longer sustainable without an endowment as Archbishop Fiorenza envisioned,” Father Bame said.

The initial goal for the endowment is $5 million, and every dollar raised over the campaign goal of $9.8 million will be committed to growing the endowment. Archbishop Fiorenza had intended for an endowment to be created when the co-cathedral was consecrated in 2008, but due to Hurricane Ike and other natural disasters, funding priorities were redirected, and the endowment was never raised.

“The ‘Completing the Walk’ campaign will help fulfill Archbishop Fiorenza’s vision and our need for a vibrant cathedral community in the heart of a great American city here in Houston,” Cardinal DiNardo said.

Each donor who contributes $250 or more will receive a brick from the original Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, while supplies last.

For more information on the “Completing the Walk” campaign, visit www.completingthewalk.org. †