Archbishop Jason Gordon has directed the technical consultants attached to the Cathedral to find a solution to make the church cooler.
The ventilation in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is sufficient on days when there are few bodies occupying pews but when there are many, it is humid and sticky.
Vicar General and Cathedral Administrator Fr Martin Sirju told the Catholic News: “The Archbishop wants to keep the Cathedral as cool as possible.” A meeting occurred recently at the Chancery and different options were discussed. In attendance were Fr Sirju; Jenny Lee, director Fundraising and Development, Archbishop’s Appeal; a representative of the Property Building and Restoration Unit; Deacon Lennox Toussaint; and two representatives of ENCO Ltd, the consultants during the Cathedral restoration project.
Several churches have introduced air-conditioning in response to the heat generated on days when the external temperature is high but this is not feasible for the Cathedral which is open every day, for as long as 12 hours.
Fr Sirju said the cost of air conditioning would be “prohibitive, and not good for the walls”. Large ceiling fans were another option but the chandeliers installed would prevent them from working properly.
Visitors to the Cathedral will see standing fans being used: there are six for the congregation and two at the sanctuary. Two additional fans, one six feet in diameter and another eight feet in diameter, supplied by ABEL, are currently on test.
They were in operation for the launch of the National Men’s Ministry on March 19 and the ordination to the priesthood of Deacons Jeffrey Supersad and Lindsay John on March 25.
Fr Sirju said it was a process of “trial and error” with the various fans in use “to see how many and [in] what positions” to have the best effect. He added, “The technical committee would have preferred four large fans, six feet in diameter, but only two were available.”
He said the presence of a scaffold at the Cathedral is so that adjustments to all 28 rose windows can be made. It is suspected the 6.9 magnitude earthquake last August caused most of them to be closed.
Personnel from ENCO had to manually reopen the windows. They were angled to allow ventilation and secured to prevent closure. Four windows are still in need of special repairs. – LPG