ROCKVILLE CENTRE - News 12 Long Island and Newsday got a special look at St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre, which is getting its first major renovation in more than 30 years.
A more than $4.5 million project is underway. Right now, the front of the church is getting a new, warmer look. What was white will soon have darker colors and ornate wood paneling framing the tabernacle.
Finished so far is the restoration of the massive wood sculpture behind the altar, called the Reredos.
The mission of the renovation, according to Msg. Bill Koenig, is to enhance the beauty of the 81-year-old church, which includes bringing back a piece of history that has been in storage for decades -- the bishop's chair. The chair was originally used by Bishop Kellenberg back in 1957 when the diocese was formed.
Another part of the renovation includes a new chapel next to the tabernacle, which will be open in the afternoon so people can pray.
The front of the church will be finished next month. Next year, the rest of the cathedral will get its facelift. All the pews will be removed and refinished, the floors will be fixed and there will be new lighting and paint.
Parishioners donated $2.3 million for the project, and the remainder of the money was raised by Bishop Murphy. This week will be the first time parishioners get to see the first phase of the renovations.