Wedding Bells Reopen Holy Name Cathedral

Six months after a devastating fire, Chicago's Holy Name Cathedral reopened Friday with some dramatic changes and wedding bells.

"This place has been here 134 years, but it's like the first day to me," Rev. Dan Mayall said.

The iconic Gothic Revival cathedral caught fire in February and the damage was so extensive that the Archdiocese was forced to close the cathedral for repairs.

That prompted concern from Michael de Franco and Sarah Yoho, who wrote a letter to church officials expressing hope that the repairs wouldn't affect their wedding plans.  Copies of the letter were made and handed to the general foreman and workers who oversaw the reconstruction for the cathedral to inspire them to finish on deadline, ABC 7 reported, and the couple was able to tie the knot Friday.

"For us to be married here, it's a dream come true, so we're very thankful for that," the new groom said.

With pews that were refinished in Wisconsin and a relatively new floor that wasn't part of the original sanctuary, Mayall said the inside of Holy Name Cathedral is even more magnificent than when it opened in the 1870s.

"It's meant to inspire, to inspire people to know that there is a world beyond the one that we live in," Mayall said.

But Mayall seems most impressed with the ceiling, comprised of 23,000 pieces of newly-refurbished wood accented with gold paint.

"When people come in, they'll immediately look up, and they always did anyway, because that ceiling is the most beautiful work of art in this place. They were able to save it.  The workers were able to save it two years in a row; first from falling down, and then second from the fire,"

Work will continue for about another year on the exterior of the church, as well as the roof and structural columns.

Repairs from both the fire and the ceiling collapse are estimated at $14 million, most of it paid for by insurance.

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