Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception




To: Cathedral Parishioners

From: Father Pape

Date: May 4, 2006

Re: Responses to questions from the education/information meetings regarding the restoration of the Cathedral interior



The following is a list of responses to the questions about what you like most about the interior of the cathedral, what you like least, and what is most important to you personally.


Thank you to all who participated in the four meetings and to those who completed the questionnaires.  The Interior Committee, appointed by Bishop Hubbard, has received these responses and will consider them in their planning.


Our Cathedral is important to us as our parish, as the mother church of the diocese, and as an important historic architectural building in Albany, the Capital District, and AmericaPlease know that great care will be given to its restoration and your prayers are also needed to guide this great endeavor.


Cathedral Interior Restoration -- 2006 Parishioner Education -- Survey Results

(numbers in parentheses indicate more than one similar response)


March 6


Like most about the cathedral

-- Pace of reverence and reflection, reinforced by its traditional plan and layout (peacefulness) (7)

-- Significant and valuable craftsmanship

-- Stained glass (14) / choir stalls (3) / stations of the cross (5) / high pulpit (6)

-- Rich heritage (sense of history, tradition) (5)

-- Pews (2)

-- Lighting

-- Father Pape

-- Graceful arch of the ceiling above the sanctuary (2)

-- Altar (3)

-- Architectural detail

-- Kneelers

-- Atmosphere created by the architecture ("feel")

-- Long center aisle

-- Lively acoustics caused by stone and wood interior

-- Bishop's chair

-- Art

-- Statues

-- Keep for historicity

-- organ music (2)

-- expansiveness (4)

-- fact that it's gothic

-- dark wood warms

-- standing in the choir and looking down the nave of the church

-- St. Martin de Porres


Dislike most about the cathedral

-- Too dark (9)

-- Dead sound spots (sound system) (5)

-- Flow during communion (2)

-- Floors under pews

-- Condition of plaster (2)

-- Poor sight lines

-- Lack of prominence of BVM

-- Music too loud

-- Present Baptismal font placement

-- (Make) pews (comfortable) (18)

-- No social center to attract more parishioners (too small parish) (3)

-- Removal of key features over the years

-- 20th c. monochromatic paint scheme

-- Small altar (2)

-- Too cold (2)

-- Tabernacle on side altar

-- Shabby vestibule

-- Lack of missals

-- Clutter of display materials

-- ("Outsiders telling us what to do")

-- Air circulation

-- Blockage of pews (2)

-- Dingy (dreary)

-- Clean art (statues)

-- Color scheme (brown paint, blue carpet) (2)

-- Lack of confessionals

-- Lack of gathering space

-- Lack of utilization of pipe organ

-- Lack of parking

-- Put the choir in the balcony

-- Squeaky doors and street noise

-- Present placement of the altar


Important to you personally

-- Hate moveable chairs (3)

-- Restoration of the (pipe) organ (3)

-- Add description/explanation of highest stained glass

-- Don't change.  Paint, light and clean up

-- Not to lose sense of Gothic.

-- Move altar closer to the people (6)

-- A (Blessed Sacrament) Chapel (2)

-- Community around altar at liturgy

-- Handicap accessibility (2)

-- AC

-- Restore (items "due to the generous donations of those who went without") not re-invent (minimally intervene) (20)

-- More welcoming

-- Beauty of the Sanctuary

-- That cost not be sole determining factor

-- Pews (4)

-- Keep kneelers (3)

-- Sound system (2)

-- Plaster

-- Brighten up interior

-- Light

-- Moving people around (2)

-- Better choir (music) facilities

-- Report to people (want to see collation)

-- Adaptive reuse of existing materials (pews)

-- More intimate setting

-- Give weight to needs of parishioners

-- Don't move altar, tabernacle

-- Cushion current pews

-- Human needs such as restrooms/choir area


March 27


Like most about cathedral

-- Architecture

-- Windows (5)

-- Have what we need.  Concentrate on Cathedral Center for gathering

-- All

-- ". . . no need to convert our building into the equivalent of a modern corporate office park."

-- Choir loft and original organ

-- Good sight lines to raised altars

-- Altar

-- Pulpit

-- Sense of towering ceiling vaults

-- Everything (first presentation slanted)

-- The way it is now


Dislike most about cathedral

-- Sound system

-- Pew comfort (4)

-- Very, very little

-- Lack of reconciliation rooms (2)

-- Outsiders coming in (2)

-- Too dark (2)

-- Lack of cosmetic maintenance (consider a volunteer group)

-- Nothing

-- Cathedral as show place and concert hall.  It is a parish.

-- Sight lines

-- Gathering space


Important to you personally

-- Create a sort of chapel within the main church for local parishioners

-- Keep the altar where it is

-- That cost not be most important factor

-- Keep example of 19th c culture of Catholic Church at its earliest in US (3)

-- Painting and lighting

-- Gathering space

-- Eucharistic chapel

-- Organ

-- Fundamental difference between what needs to be done as opposed to what someone would like to do.  No $ to change cathedral while it is struggling to pay bills.

-- Restore stonework and pews

-- Entrances (steps and doors)

-- Keep it the same

-- Repairs only (fix the necessities) (2)


April 4


Like most about cathedral

-- Liturgy

-- Collectivity and anonymity both accommodated

-- Existing aesthetics

-- Dark wood (3)

-- Windows (2)

-- Mystery as gothic revival building

-- Pulpit

-- Grandeur, presence (soaring height) (2)

-- Stations


Dislike most about cathedral

-- Not enough participation

-- Lighting (2)

-- Nothing

-- The plaster is falling (disrepair of walls and ceiling) (2)

-- The floor

-- Screen behind altar (wood) is unattractive (2)

-- Blue carpet

-- Removal of cathedra

-- Pews

-- Restrooms

-- Too brown


Important to you personally

-- Structural soundness

-- New organ

-- Move altar forward (2)

-- Create more community (involvement) (3)

-- Stabilization of historical, irreplaceable elements

-- Preserving the holiness of the altar

-- Do not change the interior radically (5)

-- Leave baptismal font on Jefferson side as that's where most enter.

-- Make altar more attractive by removing blue carpet and replacing with red (2)

-- Keep it simple (remove pew dividers, put in red carpet, repair and paint plaster).

-- Plaster

-- Lighter color and brightness

-- Set aside tabernacle as a place of prayer.


April 10


Like most about cathedral

-- Atmosphere

-- Windows (2)

-- Art work


Dislike most about cathedral

-- Painted wood parts of construction

-- Bareness of area behind altar (where is original altar?) (2)

-- pews/kneelers


Important to you personally

-- Keep sense of connection with the ages.

-- Main altar

-- Pews

-- "Make it clear to parishioners that the cathedral is not just their building and their financial responsibility.  . . . as OUR cathedral, it belongs to ALL in the diocese and that many non-parishioners support the cathedral and will help with the cost of renovation."