Christ Cathedral is the new name of the former Crystal Cathedral, now owned by the Diocese of Orange and once home to the ministries of the Rev. Robert H. Schuller.Orange Bishop Tod Brown also announced Father Christopher Smith has been named episcopal vicar for the cathedral.Bishop Brown, in remarks during the ordination Mass for four new diocesan priests, added that "Catholics throughout the diocese, and all across America, are eagerly anticipating" when the first Mass will be celebrated at the cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif.In a telephone interview from Orange three days before the official announcement, Father Smith told Catholic News Service that "the only requirement was that the name be Christological in nature."The new name was one of the most popular among suggestions from 4,129 Catholics. It was officially approved by the Vatican.Msgr. Michael Heher, the diocese's vicar general, said Rev. Schuller, the televangelist who founded the Crystal Cathedral and led its popular nationally broadcast TV program "Hour of Power," told him he had built the cathedral for Christ."Dr. Schuller said he knew that under Roman Catholic ownership, the Crystal Cathedral would be with Christ forever," the priest said. “It was a powerful gesture of confidence.”Once the sale of the Crystal Cathedral and its nearly 34-acre campus to the diocese for $57.5 million was finalized earlier this year, diocesan officials said critical design upgrades would be needed before the church could be used as a Catholic cathedral. The process entailed the selection of an architect, a liturgical consultant and a committee devoted to interior renovations."It will require a baptismal font and various devotional shrines. Of course, a cathedra (the chair of the bishop) will be needed in order for it to be a cathedral," said Shirl Giacomi, chancellor of Orange. "No renovations, however, will take place on the outside."The designs will be submitted and reviewed by the Vatican before any actual work is done. After the renovation is completed, there will be a dedication for the cathedral. In November, a court ruled the diocese had the winning bid for the landmark structure and property when it was put up for auction as part of the bankruptcy proceedings for Rev. Schuller's Crystal Cathedral Ministries.The diocese's decision to acquire the property was widely praised as a wise fiscal decision. Bishop Brown had already been reviewing plans for building a new cathedral, which would have cost $100 million or more, when the Crystal Cathedral went up for sale.Demographically, the Diocese of Orange (comprised of Orange County) has experienced ongoing growth, both from young Catholics raising large families and from new Hispanic Catholics coming into the diocese, diocesan officials told CNS. Established in 1976 after having been part of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, it has a Catholic population of 1.28 million out of a total population of 3 million in a 782-square-mile area.Christ Cathedral has the capacity for an expected Mass attendance of 8,000 to 10,000. The grounds will feature a memorial garden and cemetery. In keeping with the ecumenical nature of the purchase, the campus also will contain a nondenominational chapel in its Hope Tower.As part of the purchase agreement, the current Crystal Cathedral ministry will lease space at St. Callistus Church in Garden Grove, beginning in 2013.Most members of the Crystal Cathedral congregation feel optimistic about their future, diocesan officials told CNS, but one member has filed a $30 billion lawsuit against the Catholic Church for allegedly desecrating sacred ground. Few expect his lawsuit to succeed. Father Smith described it as "an isolated event. We have done a good job of winning back the congregation."The glass walls of the building give it an open-air effect and incorporate the modern-art style into a natural setting. Palm trees dot the property around the structure."I think this is a great moment for the church in the world,” Father Smith said. “We are working with a congregation who is not Catholic, and there is such an image of respect and unity coming out of this agreement. The ecumenism alone makes this all worth it. This is a beautiful witness to Christ in the world."—CNS{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2012/0615/orange/{/gallery}