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Cathedral honored with preservation award, voted 'fan favorite'


  • The altar of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross is pictured before the April 2019 Reopening Mass following months of renovations. The Boston Preservation Alliance recognized the renovations with its 2020 Preservation Achievement Awards. Pilot file photo/Gregory L. Tracy
  • The renovated main altar of the cathedral is pictured in April 2019. Pilot file photo/Gregory L. Tracy
  • Scaffolding extends to the ceiling of the cathedral in December 2018 in the midst of the renovations. Pilot file photo/Gregory L. Tracy
  • Lighter, brighter colors were used throughout the cathedral, as seen here in this photo of the reredos pictured before the renovations (left) and afterward (right). Pilot file photo/Gregory L. Tracy

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BOSTON -- In recognition of its recent renovation and restoration, the Cathedral of the Holy Cross was one of nine recipients of the Preservation Achievement Award presented by the Boston Preservation Alliance in a virtual ceremony on Oct. 15.

The Boston Preservation Alliance (BPA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting Boston's architectural heritage. The Preservation Achievement Awards, granted annually since 1988, honor historic preservation and new construction projects in Boston, celebrating their impact and looking at them as models for future work.

Award-winning journalist Katie Couric hosted the hour-long program, which featured remarks from several BPA members and segments on each of the award recipients. The theme of the program was "There's more to the story," a phrase repeated throughout the evening.

"As we all tune in virtually, it's a perfect time to pause and reflect on the places we miss, the traditions connected with them, and the memories they evoke. It's also a time to focus on the many stories we haven't told and to double down on efforts to highlight the incredible contributions that have for too long been underrepresented in our history. And that is exactly the work of the Boston Preservation Alliance," Couric said.

The cathedral's segment included interviews with Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley and some of those involved with the cathedral's renovation, which was completed in early 2019.

"There was a sense that you were someplace very special. Everybody stepped up and recognized that this isn't something you get to do every day," David Manfredi said during the segment. Manfredi is the CEO and founding principal of Elkus Manfredi Architects and helped lead the renovation.

Catherine Naughton, senior associate at Elkus Manfredi Architects, observed that "there's so much care in the design of this church. You feel elevated."

Cardinal O'Malley spoke about how the cathedral was built by immigrants, many of whom came to Boston during or after the famine in Ireland.

"The Church is a Church of immigrants, and Boston is a city that has always had so much vibrancy because of people coming from all over the world to make this their home," Cardinal O'Malley said.

In addition to the cathedral, the Preservation Achievement Award was also presented to Boston's North Square, Hub History podcast, the Dillaway Thomas House, the Revolution Hotel, Myles Standish Hall, Graves Light and Fog Signal Station, the Whitney Hotel, and Parkside on Adams Substation. Additionally, BPA presented the Codman Award for Lifetime Achievement to Carl Nold, retired president of Historic New England, and the Presidents' Award for Excellence to Jim Batchelor of Arrowstreet Architecture and Design.

During the virtual event, and in the weeks leading up to it, the public could vote online for one of the nine award-winning projects to determine the "fan favorite." At the end of the program, it was announced that the Cathedral of the Holy Cross had been chosen.

"We are pleased that so many people agree that the cathedral's renovations have resulted in an outstanding worship space deserving of their vote," Patricia Bartram, the archdiocese's interim secretary for institutional advancement, said in an email the following day.

Greg Galer, the executive director of BPA, said that for the next five weeks, each Thursday at noon, the organization will release longer videos about each award winner on Facebook and YouTube. A video about the Cathedral of the Holy Cross will be released on Nov. 19.

The virtual program for the 32nd annual Preservation Achievement Awards can be viewed on the Boston Preservation Alliance's Facebook page.

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