St. Francis Xavier Cathedral to open Sunday after renovations

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The beacon of the Green Bay Catholic Diocese will open its doors to hundreds of parishioners this Sunday revealing its multi-million dollar renovations.

Action 2 News got a sneak peek of St. Francis Xavier Cathedral Friday ahead of the big reveal.

Francis Xavier Krautbauer's tomb inside the cathedral's sanctuary floor remains safe and mostly untouched after a $2.4 million remodel.

Now covered with the same material hockey rinks are built from, his name shines along with everything remodeled over the last three months.

From the pipe organ-- to the intricate work of many oil paint restoration, “There is unique skill needed when it comes to doing a church like this,” said Volunteer Project Leader Steve Motl.

“And we all had to learn more about each of those techniques and technologies in order to get the right contractor. I think I now know more about bells and organs than I ever wanted to know in my lifetime,” Motl joked.

One of those bells hadn't rung since before World War II, but now is expected to sing the songs of the church for the next hundred years.

Everything from these porcelain floors to the pews have been restored. The pews were sent out in pieces and came back looking like new. "One of the contractors said that in 27 years of doing this kind of work, the paintings here are the second best he's ever worked on,” said Joe Dorner, Rector of St. Francis Xavier Cathedral.

Bishop David Ricken, the Bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay expects just as strong a response from the public when the doors are opened for mass Sunday morning. "It is going to be very emotional for many people especially people who've been here their whole life or much of their life. We've received a legacy as a gift and now it's our challenge to give that gift as a legacy to the next generations,” he said.

The restorations are finished just in time for their 150th anniversary happening next year.