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National Cathedral Reopens For Business

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The National Cathedral celebrated its reopening with the consecration of the ninth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.
Matt Laslo
The National Cathedral celebrated its reopening with the consecration of the ninth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.

A full crowd gathered this weekend at the National Cathedral for the consecration of the Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde as the ninth Episcopal Bishop of Washington. It was the first event held since the cathedral closed last August due to damages from the 5.8-magnitude earthquake.

"To the people of this diocese, thank you for trusting me, and I pray every day to be worthy of that," says Bishop Mariann, who came from Minneapolis where she served as rector since 1993.

The first stone of the cathedral was laid in 1907, and it took more than 80 years to complete the intricate structure. That craftsmanship was tested when the earthquake hit the region. There was structural damage to the building, and many intricate sculptures were hurt.

"There was what sounded like a sonic boom, and I thought, wait a minute that can't be, this is a no-fly zone, which I didn't know because I had never been in an earthquake," says Betty Stacey of Northern Virginia, a volunteer who was giving tours on the day the earthquake struck.

Repairs are still underway. A safety net now hangs over the sanctuary, and some scaffolding can still be seen around the cathedral's high towers. But despite the ongoing construction, officials at the cathedral say the building is safe for visitors.

Stacey says its 'terrific' to have the cathedral open to the public again after months of being closed for repairs. Officials say they need at least $15 million to repair the magnificent structure in Northwest D.C.

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