Catholics pitch in to repair National Cathedral

WASHINGTON (RNS) The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington is donating $25,000 to help repair the Washington National Cathedral, which sustained millions of dollars in damage in the earthquake that rocked the East Coast on Aug. 23.

"The National Cathedral holds a special place in the hearts of all of us in Washington," said Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington. "So many recognize it as a national house of prayer, and indeed its magnificent Gothic spires are a reminder of our constant need to raise our hearts in prayer to God in the midst of all our daily preoccupations."

The Episcopal cathedral's central spires lost their ornate crowning pieces and decorative angels during the 5.8 magnitude earthquake, which also cracked the cathedral's flying buttresses.

Much of the repair work will fall to stone carvers, and is expected to take years. Insurance will not pay for repairs, so the church is seeking private donations.

Cathedral Dean Samuel Lloyd called the Catholics' gift "a testimony to the fellowship that exists between people of different faiths."

The cathedral has been closed since the earthquake as crews install safety nets and braces so that the building may reopen on Sept. 9. Two days later, President Obama will speak at the cathedral to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

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