Monday, June 30, 2003

In Rochester, the preservationists lost and the renovators won

The $6 million to $8 million project calls for renovating the interior and building an addition and new parking lot. The building - the central church in the 12-county Rochester diocese - is outdated, unable to handle the demands of the diocese’s 350,000 Catholics. But the plan has been a target of criticism by some parishioners. They believe renovation will damage the character of the cathedral, a neo-Gothic structure, and cost much more than the diocese estimates. “It’s very disheartening,” said Don Messina, 68, of Rochester. “I don’t want to see tremendous destruction. I don’t want to worship organ pipes, I want to worship the Lord.” Messina said he doesn’t oppose all cathedral renovations. He just doesn’t want the church to lose its main focus, by removing the altar, canopy and several religious statues.