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September 8, 2014

September 8, 2014

For more information,
Contact: Hannah Parker
Moxley Carmichael
(865) 544-0088


Worship center will serve East Tennessee parishioners, host civic, community meetings

Sacred Heart Cathedral, home of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Knoxville, has formally launched a campaign for a new cathedral. The building project, budgeted to cost $25 million, will be an architectural landmark within the city of Knoxville and the Bearden community with space for civic and community meetings.

In addition to helping build the new worship and community center, a portion of the money raised will be used to continue Sacred Heart’s efforts to serve the poor in East Tennessee. Currently, $6 million is contributed annually to this fund, and the cathedral campaign, with a theme of “Home: Where We Worship, Teach & Serve,” is expected to further increase that amount.

“Worship is at the center of everything we do, and it is what inspires us to go out into the world and serve others,” said Father David Boettner, rector of Sacred Heart Cathedral. “Making improvements not only will allow us to serve our parish and our diocese, but also will provide our entire community with a meeting place for civic and cultural activities.”

Watercolor rendering of the proposed cathedral for Sacred Heart.  A ceremonial groundbreaking is scheduled for April 2015.

Watercolor rendering of the proposed cathedral for Sacred Heart. A ceremonial groundbreaking is scheduled for April 2015.

In 1988, the Diocese of Knoxville was created encompassing 51 parishes from Chattanooga to the Tri-Cities, and Sacred Heart was designated the Cathedral. However, no changes were made to the building.

“Under current constraints, the church is unable to hold even the children who attend Sacred Heart Cathedral School,” Boettner said. “We are literally bursting at the seams and have weekly challenges with logistics and space. But we are a church that is committed to the city, and because of that, we want to remain in our current location and upgrade the space to suit the growing needs of Catholics and others in our region.”

In addition to local parishioners and members of the Diocese of Knoxville, more than 100 different organizations and clubs use the campus at Sacred Heart annually.

“Our hope is this new space will continue to be utilized by community groups and civic organizations as a haven and truly become a hub in the Bearden community,” Boettner said.

Features of the new building will include:
• Traditional cruciform-style structure using materials and craftsmanship of East Tennessee
• Increased worship space from 7,500 to 20,000 square feet
• Increased seating capacity from just over 500 to approximately 1,000
• Nearly 15,000 square feet of new meeting/social space
• New parking, road, bridge and circulation plan that will improve access to the cathedral
• Large sanctuary and welcome area
• Choir loft, baptismal font, confessionals and vesting areas
• Bride room, restroom facilities, handicap access and ancillary spaces
• Exceptional acoustics for both the spoken word and music
• State-of-the-art HVAC system that heats and cools specific areas of the building only when in use

The groundbreaking of the new facility is slated to take place in April 2015 with construction beginning in June 2015. Construction of the new cathedral is expected to last approximately two years.

About Sacred Heart Cathedral

Sacred Heart Parish was built in 1956 by 199 families. In 1988, Sacred Heart Parish became Sacred Heart Cathedral when the Diocese of Knoxville was created by Saint John Paul II. Sacred Heart serves as the “mother church” of the Diocese of Knoxville, comprising 51 parishes and 10 schools. The Diocese began with 32,000 Catholics living in 40 parishes and missions spread over 36 counties. Since its founding, the number of Catholics has more than doubled in East Tennessee and is expected to double again in the next 25 years. The Diocese recently was cited as one of the top 10 growing dioceses in the United States.