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Special collection established to benefit the Cathedral

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Dialog reporter

WILMINGTON — The Diocese of Wilmington is launching a new special collection next month to benefit the mother church of the diocese, the Cathedral of St. Peter. The collection will be used for the maintenance and preservation of the church, which was built in 1816.

The collection is scheduled for the weekend of Aug. 22-23 and will be held annually, according to the diocese.

“The Cathedral of St. Peter is the seat of the Diocese of Wilmington and the bishop’s own church,” reads a bulletin announcement sent to all parishes. “This beautiful and historic church is in need of our help.”

Father Leonard Klein, the rector, said in recent years work on the cathedral has included repointing, painting, exterior woodwork repairs and a new boiler.

    “That has very much depleted the reserves of the parish,” he said.

The church was dedicated in 1818 and has seen several expansions and renovations over the last 200 years, according to the parish website. The bell tower was added in 1829. An extensive remodeling happened between 1870 and 1905, including the addition of a barrel-domed roof and stained-glass windows.

More recently, the roof was replaced in 2007. A grant from the Catholic Diocese Foundation made that possible, but Father Klein noted that the foundation’s funds were depleted as part of the diocesan bankruptcy a few years ago.

The diocese used to supply some funding, “but since the bankruptcy has not been able to do that.”

Father Klein said that the cathedral, like other inner-city churches, is maintained by a dedicated but small congregation.

For more information, including a letter from Bishop Malooly, a message from the cathedral’s administrator and a video tour, go to www.cdow.org.