Today we celebrate the dedication of the Cathedral of Saint Raymond Nonnatus Cathedral in Joliet, the mother church of our diocese. The parish of Saint Raymond was founded on June 28, 1917 by Archbishop Mundelein of the Archdiocese of Chicago in response to the increasing population on Joliet’s then-new west side. This of course would be before the diocese was erected. Saint Raymond Nonnatus is the patron saint of childbirth, children, expectant mothers, newborn babies, midwives, obstetricans, and pregnant woman, among others. The nickname Nonnatus comes from the Latin for not born, as he was delivered by a caesarian operation.
Monsignor Edwin Hoover was the pastor of Saint Raymond’s in 1948, when the diocese of Joliet was erected. Saint Raymond’s was named the Cathedral of the new diocese, and Monsignor Hoover was named its first rector. A cathedral includes a “cathedra” which is an ornate presider’s chair, the seat of the bishop of the diocese. The cathedral is the Diocesan Bishop’s parish, which is what makes it the mother church of its diocese.
At the cathedral, we celebrate Confirmation for adults, the Chrism Mass in which the holy oils are blessed and consecrated for the sacraments of the diocese, ordinations to the Deaconate and the Priesthood, the Rite of Election for Catechumens, and many other rituals for the spiritual needs of the diocese. Today we give thanks for Saint Raymond’s, the holy place that serves as the sacramental center of our diocese, and for all who have served there to care for our spiritual needs.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!