After Long Absence, Steeple Reinstalled at Vermont Cathedral

The official cathedral of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington lost its steeple to storm damage and old age more than eight years ago

The skyline of Burlington, Vermont has a new addition—after a historic cathedral replaced a spire that’s been missing for years.

“This great landmark is being rebuilt and put back into place,” Rev. Lance Harlow, the rector for St. Joseph Cathedral, said Tuesday.

St. Joseph’s is the central cathedral of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, which is the Catholic diocese for the state of Vermont.

The cathedral had cause for celebration Tuesday, when it saw its steeple reinstalled.

A violent wind storm in 2010 caused an 800-pound cross atop the original late-1800s steeple to tilt. In examining that problem, church leaders soon discovered there was extensive wood rot that forced the steeple’s removal.

Eight and a half years later, and the steeple’s four-part replacement made for a delicate, high-pressure job for crane operator Bill Mullin of Demag Riggers & Crane Service.

“It’s gratifying for me, personally, to do something like this that’s going to be here for a long time,” Mullin told necn and NBC 10 Boston. “Long after I’m gone.”

The Diocese brought in a drone to document the installation from the sky.

Finances delayed the restoration work, but the recent sale of a former Catholic school property across from the cathedral gave the project the boost it needed.

“It’s been a long time,” parishioner Dave Mount said of the restoration work, adding he is glad to finally see St. Joseph’s looking the way he said a church of its statewide stature should. “We’re bringing it back to exactly where it was originally, and that’s very important to me.”

The cathedral’s rector said more improvements are still to come at the historic church—namely, a restoration of the massive steps in the front of the building.

“The church is alive and well in downtown Burlington,” Harlow said.

A nearby property, formerly known as the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, was recently decommissioned as a church, with all sacred objects removed from the building. The property is currently listed for sale.

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