A rapidly growing Catholic Church in Norway has resulted in plans to build a larger cathedral in the northern city of Trondheim.
The new cathedral, expected to be completed in 2015, will cost 80m Norwegian kroner (€10m), L’Osservatore Romano reported June 2.
The current cathedral in the city, dedicated to Saint Olav, is too small to accommodate its visitors and too challenging to be renovated. It will therefore be demolished to allow the construction of a new church with adequate capacity.
St. Olav’s has seen increasing numbers of Catholic and Protestant pilgrims coming from Norway and the rest of Scandinavia ever since Pope John Paul II visited the city in June 1989.
That visit gave considerable impetus to the church, making it an ecumenical hub, L’Osservatore Romano reported. It also helped increase involvement of the Catholic Church in the ecumenical events of central Norway.
Today’s Church in Norway has members from more than 70 different nationalities from all continents. Around 10,000 Catholics are registered in the diocese of Trondheim, while the total number of Catholics in the country totals about 150,000.
When considering whether or not to renovate, the diocese took into account the fact that the cathedral, completed in 1973 by the artist Håkon Bleken, had always had problems such as poor insulation, and rust that had affected the steel structures.
For these reasons, the cathedral’s curate, Father Egil Mogstad, said it is “time to start the hard work of building a new cathedral, with size, functionality, and architectural form in our city.”
He anticipates challenges, but believes they can be managed. For example, he noted the parish is using its temporary chapel to celebrate Sunday Mass and, for large events, they can rent a larger church. He also noted the support they have received from volunteers and mentioned contributions of several dioceses in Germany.
Father Albert Macka, priest of St. Olav’s, acknowledges the project “will be a challenge,” and there will be “bumps” along the way, but in the end, “everything will fall into place.” (D.C.L.)