NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Timothy Cardinal Dolan announced on this Saint Patrick’s Day a sprawling project to restore the historic St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Surrounded by dignitaries, many wearing green hard hats, Dolan listed several problems of the landmark.

“The bricks are crumbling and falling. The renowned windows are rattling and splitting. The heat, the air and the plumbing is old. The outside as you see is crusted with grit. And the roof is leaking,” he said.

Dolan said roughly $45 million has already been raised for phase one of the project, which will restore the exterior of the church, and revealed a section of stone that had been cleaned to show what the final result would look like.

Nearly $125 million must still be raised for phase two, which would complete the entire renovation, inside and out.

“It’s comprehensive. We’re touching about every surface that’s here. It’s really an essential project if the Cathedral is going to move into the future,” architect Jeffrey Murphy said.

“The heritage of St. Patrick’s Cathedral to New York is absolutely essential. The idea of letting it fall into disrepair is unthinkable,” said Francis  Brennan of Kenmare, Ireland.

Several thousand people attended Saturday’s traditional Saint Patrick’s Day Mass and told CBS 2’s Mark Morgan that the restoration is both vital and long overdue.

“Just from where we were sitting and stuff, I could see it was in need of repair. The pews needed repair, the floors, so it was visible,” said Tara Seagriff of Staten Island.

“Yes I do think you have to maintain it,” Renee Neubelt of the Upper East Side. “And it’s a wonderful historic structure.”

Donning a red hard hat, Dolan took a jab at his own elevation to Cardinal.

“This hat’s going to cost me a lot more than the one in Rome did,” he joked.

Phase one of the project is expected to begin on April 1 and last about two years.

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Comments (57)
  1. 2012Christian says:

    All these people complaining that the Cathedral shouldn’t be repaired are ignoring the fact that several million people visit it every Year and have the right to visit a safe, well maintained building. If it is not repaired, the building is going to fall apart. That is why there has been scaffolding in front of the cathedral for a couple of years now. That is what happens to 134 year old structures if they are not maintained sufficiently. that is all Cardinal Dolan is trying to do: maintain one of the most iconic landmarks in New York City. As an Irishman, I am very proud of St. Patricks’s and want to see it maintained for this new century. If anyone remembers the Scorsese-DeCaprio movie Gangs of New York, the Irish of New york surrounded the old St. Patricks’s Cathedral (located downtown) back in the 1850s to prevent an attack on it by that era’s anti-Catholic haters. Cardinal Dolan is simply trying to protect the most visible symbol of Catholicism in NYC and in many ways the whole US.

    1. Rodin says:

      This story is so old and so commented to death that it’s worthless except to those who wish to defend what’s indefensible and irrational: RELIGION.

      Cardinal Dolan’s protection of the most visible symbol of Catholicism, the rape and abuse of children through three dioceses — St. Louis, Milwaukee and New York –and his one time parish of Bridgeport CT speaks for itself.

      1. 2012Christian says:

        This is just rank bigotry from Rodin. Have their been molestors in the Catholic Church? Yes. In the Protestant churches? Yes. In Judaism. Yes (85 arrests in the Orthodox Community over thde last couple of years). And that has nothing to do with religion because we have had 15 arrests in the agnostic, if not atheistic, NYC Public Schools in the last two and a half months! So, by rodin’s bigoted standards, the most visible symbol of New York City is no longer the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building, but the rape and abuse of public school students throughout five boroughs

        1. Rodin says:

          You are so typically warped you don’t deserve an answer except to point out that “the agnostic, if not atheistic, NYC Public Schools” are openly dealing with the problem, not trying to sweep it under the rug and protecting the perps.

          Get a grip on reality.

          “People seem to be offended by facts, or what used to be called truth.” ~ Francis Bacon

          1. 2012Christian says:

            WRONG. In fact, the NYC Public schools have not been dealing openly with the problem. They have allowed a number of offenders to continue in new positions at different schools but still with regular contact with public school students (the potential rape victims). It’s called “passing the trash” and Chancellor Walcott just admitted the practice needs to be fixed. But, the NY Times and people like you will give the NYC Schools a pass while acting as though the Catholic Church has done something different, even though it has had a more effective program in place for about 8 years now.

  2. Sam says:

    Wow, that didn;t take long. A promotion, and now lets spend even more money, and send the collection plate around one or two more times during a service to help pay for it. If the priests in his domain didn;t drive Cadillacs and Lincolns or Lexus’ we probably would all have an easier time digesting this. But since they are all about greed and show, it is no wonder. They need to learn to prioritize, something they have never been good at. Schools clsoing, hunger in and around the city, and homeless as well. Wow, how stupid can you be.

    1. Rodin says:

      Don’t you know it’s all for JESUS?!?

      “I’m not a social worker. I don’t do it for this reason. I do it for Christ. I do it for the church.” ~ MOTHER TERESA

  3. Ken says:

    To all you who are objecting: I am not Catholic, but there is a practical side to this. What is the alternative to renovation? Do you want a landmark of New York City to fall into disrepair? Even if you aren’t religious, you have to admit that the building is an icon. What possible good would it do to let it deteriorate? If it becomes uninhabitable, which happens in an amazingly short time if repairs aren’t made, it will cost millions of dollars to raze. Although it will be very expensive to repair, the cost doesn’t surprise me. Think of what it cost the last time you made a major repair to your house, and then extrapolate to the size and scope of this massive building.

    1. Rodin says:

      “Mankind can never be free until the last brick in the last church falls on the head of the last priest.” ~ Voltaire

      1. Rodin says:

        When you “repair” or improve your house, the property assessment goes up. So do your taxes. Make religious institutions and property taxable and end this unconstitutional exception to the Establishment Clause. Pay up or shut up.

  4. Rudy G's Married Cousin says:

    Time to start income taxing these religious institutions as with any
    Tell them the cult party they force upon naive people is over.
    If one wishes to pray do we need “professionals” to do so….incredible!!!
    Think we have to many people like Dolan playing God and holier than tho.

  5. Pax Tayer says:

    How much of that $175M will WE THE PEOPLE have to pay?

  6. Rodin says:

    What a pretty red dress and bonnet she wears!

    1. littlestar says:

      You laugh at the culture ? You laugh at this persons’ masculinity ? You laugh when it suits you. Just like … us. Luv Ya !

  7. Neil Allen says:

    Dolan could give a building a facelift, or save 200,000 people from starving to death for those same five years.

    How can anyone still belive that this is God’s church?

    1. Rodin says:

      … or that there is a gØd at all. Maybe a trickster.

    2. littlestar says:

      Give a man a fish and he will live the day. Teach a man to fish and he will live a lifetime. What a small mind. Luv Ya !

  8. Howard Gottlieb says:

    I am truly shocked sometimes at the amount of money being spent on certain things when money seems so tight for so many.

    Howard Gottlieb

  9. Rick says:

    I no longer find comfort in the church the way I used to. I see hubris, self aggrandizement, petty squabbles between priests and parishioners…it has taken its toll…and now this. Catholic schools are closing and we have to spend $175mm on one facility?

    1. @Rick says:

      YOU don’t have to spend anything on it. I agree it’s too much money but it’s money that is donated willfully and is hopefully being spent back into the US economy, namely New York’s. This is by far the most beautiful church in North America

      This is a much better cause than bailing out Fannie Mae while Barney Frank sleeps with the CEO. Conflict of interest much? And that one wasn’t willful; it was something you had to do because the government said so.

  10. Concern says:

    What’s wrong with Charity Search Engines. BOX TOP$ for EDUCATION, LABELS FOR EDUCATION,, Coupon Exchanges, & ?

  11. Concern says:

    What is status of St. Vincent de Paul Church – NYC ?

  12. Cat Lick says:

    How much will my weekly church assessment go up to pay for this?

  13. littlestar says:

    Thank you Mr. censor ! Lu Ya ! Goodnight.

  14. Super Athiest says:

    God will not approve.
    You are depriving his people of food, education, and shelter.
    He doesn’t want fancy buildings, just happy people…

    1. littlestar says:

      Do not happy people dwell in structures made of steel, concrete, and stone ? Are the many terminals that recieve and house food in this city not subject to erosion ? Is the school building any different ? Do you know anything ?

      1. Michael H. says:

        dwellings, schools, terminals, serve a tangible purpose. churches don’t need huge ornate buildings to spread the word of a man who proclaimed that the meek shall inherit the earth and that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a wealthy man to get into the kingdom of heaven.

        1. littlestar says:

          It is art.

        2. littlestar says:

          Yeah fine. Of course. The thing is, that this beautiful church, was largly built on the donations of poor Irish people. It is a tribute to their ” arrival ” into mainstream America during the period.I guess you would want to see it crumble? It’s art, it’s history and to maintian it costs money?

  15. Unholy Males as Priests says:

    Amazing what Fat Dolan can do by closing schools in poor neighborhoods
    and stealing money that was intended to keep St.Vincents hospital open.
    The church with it’s wearing of fancy gowns and gold hats knows how
    to celebrate itself .



    1. Rodin says:

      The problem is that we all end up paying for these ecclesiastical extravagances by exempting religious institutions from taxation.

      1. littlestar says:

        So you want to trash our constitution, and all religion as well ? What’s left ? Rodent ranting to no one?

  17. Moshe says:

    Cardinal Dolan has been a disappointing leader of the NY Archdiocese so far. He didn’t oppose gay marriage under his watch, but told a lot of jokes and is now spending $175 million to spruce up St. Patrick’s. What the heck is going on here?

    1. Rodin says:

      The moment you embrace gods you abandon reason.

      1. littlestar says:

        Yes you’re right. I got a flat tire recently and I started to pray. I was praying for hours and the tire did not inflate. You’re right.

        1. Rodin says:

          Prayer leads to disprayer.

          1. littlestar says:

            Prayer leads to … the prevention of cruelty to Rodin, er… sorry, rodents. Luv Ya !

  18. Rodin says:

    …and they don’t pay taxes!

    1. littlestar says:

      Neither do the gizillion illegal imigrants, but I don’t hear you bitching about them,or the lack of revenue there…

      1. Rodin says:

        Actually, most of the “gizillion illegal immigrants” do, right out of their pachecks. Churches don’t. Check your sources, if you have any, and stop blathering.

        1. littlestar says:

          No they don’t… and stop ranting. Luv ya !

          1. Michael H. says:

            those illegal immigrants pay taxes on the items the bu. their landlords use portions of the rent to pay property taxes. many illegal immigrants use other people’s SSNs and wind up paying into the system via their paychecks.

            churches do none of that.

            1. Rodin says:

              Thank you, Michael H. Normally I don’t bother with littlebrain. It’s a waste bigger than the archdiocesan $175 Million.

            2. littlestar says:

              Not in construction. It’s all cash.

  19. Anne says:

    There’s something that strikes me odd with this headlines.. You are ordained and then spend the money on abuilding when the PEOPLE of the church are suffering. Schools are closing, people are osing there homes. WAKE UPPPP… Start to practice what you preach… So what couple of pews look old.. they were always there and I don’t htink you ever heard any complaints.. Help out the kids and schools. you have an pportunity to erase the negativity from years of ‘abuse charges’ … It seems like th echurch is turning its back on the PEOPLE that helps to sustain their faiths day in day out…

  20. Harry Callihan says:

    Just another slap / joke from the Church. They’ll never stop coming. That money could feed throngs of hungry people.

    1. littlestar says:

      Harry, how many hungry people do you feed?

      1. Michael H. says:

        Harry likely doesn’t have 175 million dollars laying around to give a building a facelift.

        1. littlestar says:

          ” Lord let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me. ” That’s what I mean. Luv Ya! Silly boy….

      2. Harry Callihan says:

        How many do you feed?

  21. SeeWhyNow says:

    Yeah….somehow I think if there was really a God he/she/it would rather 175 MILLION go toward feeding the hungry and sheltering the poor, NOT wasting it on what amounts to four walls and a roof. If there was a Jesus 2000 years ago I’m pretty sure he didn’t give a fluke if his sermons were done in a veritable palace. More like a hut with a dirt floor. This is just disgusting.

  22. Jimmyd says:

    I’d rather see the money distributed to the parishes and schools targeted for closing soon. The diocese has misplaced priorities.

    1. Rodin says:

      I’d rather see the money go to Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Let the parishes and schools close and help prevent child abuse.

      Dolan cracked a long time ago.

  23. Chuck Murphy says:

    Spare me pictures of prelates and priests in hardhats.
    Catholics should exercise their religious liberty and pay for their own renovation. The “larger” community has nothing to say about Catholic practices.
    It’s pretty sad when an organization like the Archdiocese of New York can’t pay its own way. The archdiocese is crumbling as much as the cathedral is. Maybe raise votive candles to $5.

  24. Jane says:

    Maybe they can close a few more Catholic schools to cover the balance.

  25. The Realist says:

    The faithful will be assessed heavily to pay for this.

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