4/1/2006 HOUSTON -- Workers Friday lifted the 80,000 pound reinforced steel dome and placed it on top of Houston Downtown's new Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Hearts Church. The dome, which gives a new look to the city of Houston's skyline, marks the completion of the highest point of the 115-foot structure. The dome will be sheathed in copper, then topped by a 16-foot cross.

"It is a wonderful and blessed day for us to see the dome go on top of this beautiful and important church, " Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza said. The $40 million project is scheduled for completion in September 2007. The archbishop recalled showing plans for the cathedral to Pope John Paul II.

"I remember he said: Yes, Houston needs a big cathedral. So we had his blessing," says Fiorenza. The new Co-Cathedral Church will seat 1,820 people, with space for an additional 200 additional chairs. The structure will form a cross, in the traditional manner of European cathedrals. The cruciform co-cathedral will be of a classic design, with the primary ceiling reaching more than 70-ft. in height. The building will also feature a 114-foot domed roof over the altar and a 137-ft. bell tower.

Houston's old cathedral church is over 100 years old and expensive to fix. The archdiocese is looking at several options for the older church. One option is a parish hall.