Our Cathedral stands as the symbol of unity where the people of the Diocese of Laredo come together with our Bishop to be in solidarity with the Universal Church. It represents our deep sense of faith and worship and brings us all around one common table to share in the love of Christ.
As Christ’s vicar and representative, marked with the fullness of the sacrament of Orders, the bishop leads the particular Church (Diocese) in communion with the pope and under his authority (Lumen Gentium, 26; Christus Dominus, 3; Ceremonial of Bishops, 5) .
The cathedral church is the church that is the site of the bishop’s cathedra or chair, the sign of his teaching office and pastoral power in the particular Church and a sign also of the unity of believers in the faith that the bishop proclaims as shepherd of the Lord’s flock (Ceremonial of Bishops, 42) .
The Significance of San Agustín Cathedral
Our Cathedral is the place where our catechumens, aspiring to join our beloved Church, are introduced to our Bishop and to the larger Church of Laredo on their way to full communion with the people of God. It is where the Holy Oils, used in sacraments by our beloved priests and deacons, are blessed and distributed to each community. It is where the men, who have been called by God to serve as deacons and priests, are ordained into those roles.
Our Cathedral, most of all, is the heart of our diocesan Church: the place where we, the Catholic Church of the Diocese of Laredo, gather with our Bishop to pray, offer worship to God, participate in the saving mysteries of salvation, gather as a family of faith, hope and love, and further the mission of Jesus Christ by proclaiming the Gospel to the world.
Restoration and Renovation Campaign
Our first phase will involve addressing the most urgent and immediate repairs to our 145-year- old San Agustín Cathedral. We must prevent any further damage to our already deteriorating stained-glass windows. Through the generosity of two foundations the campaign has already secured funding for the restoration of seven of the twenty- four stained-glass windows at our Cathedral. The restoration of the other seventeen stained- glass windows, to their original beauty, is a main priority.
A fter nearly a century and a half settling into the ground, due to the extreme temperatures in our region of the country, serious cracks within the building walls and church terrazzo floors are not only prominent but in need of immediate repair. Our Cathedral’s ceilings throughout the temple will need to be repaired and, in several areas of the church, completely replaced. In addition, the pews of the church are in disrepair and will need to be replaced. Finally, the entire interior of the building will be repainted and the existing marble structures restored to their original beauty and splendor.
The beauty of San Agustín Cathedral is undeniable, but the present church of San Agustín was erected in 1872 and was never designed to be a functioning cathedral and mother-church for an entire diocese. The San Agustín Cathedral : Our Story, Our Faith, Our Cathedral campaign project will seek to reconfigure the existing church to one that will help it fulfill its role as the properly functioning cathedral for the people of the seven counties that encompass the Diocese of Laredo. To that end, our existing Cathedra , the bishop’s chair, will be replaced with one that is more dignified and reflective of the splendor and beauty of the Cathedral. The existing altar will be extended to accommodate more of our priests at diocesan celebrations and the vesting room will be renovated. We will create better accessible restrooms that are more convenient to the Cathedral space.
Since music is such an important aspect of our worship as Christians, our campaign will help us to expand the existing choir loft to accommodate more music ministers as well as restore the beautiful pipe organ that fills the Cathedral with inspirational music. We will invest in a functional audio and video system so that attendees can better participate in liturgies. Our Cathedral’s electrical and lighting system will be replaced as well as the HVAC system to a more efficient and modern one. Finally, our campaign will allow us to install new emergency lights and an up-to-date security system.
Once the aforementioned repairs and renovations are completed, the next phase of our work will focus on the exterior details of the building and our historic bell tower. The clock tower, which is such an important part of the skyline of Laredo, will be restored as well as our bell and all of the internal mechanisms that make it work. We hope to conclude this phase by installing modern and more efficient exterior lighting.
The final phase of the restoration of San Agustín Cathedral will focus on the building of a covered parking lot and the creation of a Diocesan Conference Center at the site of the old San Agustín School. This final phase would create the space for a centralized location for diocesan events, conferences and trainings.
The entire project will be prioritized and progress according to its structural urgency and the availability of funds.