I wish you could come through the big, bronze doors of the Cathedral. An interior set of doors opens into the narthex and gives the first glimpse down the long center aisle all the way to the majestic white Carrera marble high altar and baldachin which frames the huge "Victorious Christ" crucifix. The nearly eighty foot high vaulted ceiling contains a harmony of colors coming down upon eight magnificent Charles Connick stained glass windows, four on each side, and upon alternating arched columns running the entire length of the nave. Lancet stained glass windows, remembering nine saints, decorated the ambulatory, bronze sculpted stations of the cross ring the nave on each column.
Cathedrals are special places of worship, pilgrimage, art and culture and of a special praying community which is the parish of Saint Cecilia. A typical tour of the Cathedral church can take from one to two hours and the beauty of 52 years of building the church never ceases to amaze. Yet, the most beautiful aspect of Saint Cecilia Cathedral is the gathering of the parish community in worship and prayer.
A Cathedral is the church of a chair – the bishop’s chair or cathedra. At Saint Cecilia Cathedral this chair is prominent in the sanctuary at the left of the altar. The Archbishop of Omaha, Most Reverend George Lucas, presides, teaches, leads and provides for the nearly quarter of a million Catholics across northeast Nebraska from this sacred space.
The parish community of Saint Cecilia Cathedral comprises families with roots to the earliest families and families of new immigrants from many nations. Scores of families and individuals come to and become part of the parish every year. Many others come because they find a "home" or a "refuge" or destination for their curiosity. The parish enjoys one of the most treasured landmarks of the city -- the twin bell towers of the Cathedral reaching the height of a 20 story building atop a high ridge above the city.
Education continues to be a strong mission of Saint Cecilia Cathedral parish. The elementary school has served children from kindergarten to eighth grade continuously since 1907. It has twice earned the "Blue Ribbon" award from the U.S. Department of Education (1985, 2007) and has maintained an "Accredited" status for more than thirty years.
The parish also enjoyed a high school for 75 years until 1994 when demographic changes over time resulted in a decision to close, the last Catholic high school on the east side of the city. From that experience, however, strategic planning launched an endowment that ensures the mission of education in the elementary school.
Saint Cecilia is the patroness of church music. The Cathedral Choir and the Archdiocesan Children’s Choir give witness to the legacy of the Cathedral for liturgical and classical music over the years since 1859. The dual
temperament Pasi organ, dedicated in October 2003, is only one of four in the world.
Arts and culture are a highlight of each calendar year at Saint Cecilia. Through the Cathedral Arts Project and the Saint Cecilia Institute for Sacred Liturgy, Music and Art, concerts (instrumental and vocal), art exhibits, music education and lessons and the annual Flower Festival draw the entire community. Again, you will find further information about these at tabs on this site.
The parish community exercises multiple means for outreach to the needy of the community and beyond. You will find tabs on this site explaining and invite ways to participate or support.
Saint Cecilia Cathedral parish recently adopted a vision statement: "Inspiring. Faith. Community." The sequence of the words, as well as the period following each word, is emblematic of the parish.
The current mission statement suggests something of identity of the parish but also what the parish is continuing to strive for, more fully: As disciples of Jesus Christ in the Roman Catholic Cathedral Parish of Saint Cecilia, through the ministry of the Archbishop, we share Christ’s presence with all we encounter by our sacramental participation, our parish community, and living the Word of God.
Stay awhile to learn more about us. Come again, soon!!