Bishop says ‘thank God for insurance’ after $1M repairs
BISHOP Greg Homeming announced that St Carthages Cathedral would reopen for mass on Saturday after being closed for over two months after it was damaged by fire.
Bishop Homeming said the diocese has a massive job ahead of it to fully repair and restore the historic building, which was built between 1904 and 1907.
He also revealed he had prayed for the man who allegedly caused the fire.
“I have nothing to forgive,” he said.
“I think the man has mental health issues and I cannot hold anything against him, even if it was done with malice, which I do not believe there was.”
Bishop Homeming said repairs would go on for at least another five months.
“Thank God for the insurance,” he said.
“I suspect it will cost more than a million dollars to repair.
“The tradespeople working on the repairs have done a wonderful job, they are very proficient, very professional and very reliable, they have created a new temporary sacristy installed under the historic pipe organ and built hoardings to cover damaged walls during the repairs.
“If you had not been in here before you would not know that the fire had ever occurred.”
The hoardings delineate the work zone from the main Cathedral and have been painted to minimise visual impact.
“We also have to repair all of the tiles which had to be broken to ensure the fire in the ceiling cavity was extinguished and these are titles which were put in many years ago,” he said.
“I suppose the most challenging part of the fires was the community not being able to use this Cathedral.”
On Thursday night the Cathedral held its first service since the fire, a private Mass for clergy from across the Diocese who gathered in Lismore for their annual conference.
Bishop Homeming also praised the firefighters and other emergency services crews whom he had done a wonderful job in containing the blaze.