(WICHITA, Kan.)—It was a day of celebration in downtown Wichita, as hundreds joined together for the first mass at a newly renovated cathedral - that has been closed since 2011.
"Ramps were put in, steps were taken away where there were barriers...we improved the lighting, the sound," says Monsignor Robert Hemberger.
It was all part of a $17 million dollar renovation to one of Wichita's historic buildings.
The cathedral was showing signs of wear and tear. new classrooms, reception halls and an elevator were added on.
"It's quite the challenge to take what was old and bring it up to code in the new time," he says.
Saturday morning hundreds of Priests, Monsigners and Bishops gathered to celebrate the first mass at the cathedral in more than a year.
"Each day we kept saying a little prayer for it to come to fruition...it was absolutely beautiful, there's no words to describe," says Francis Garcia.
The mass drew people from all over the state.
"We had the northeast African-American choir which is Holy Savior, you had the Vietnamese choir, you had the cathedral choir and you had the Mexican choir and so everyone was joining together," says Anita Vance.
Monsignor Hemberger hopes the reopening will contribute to the revitilization of downtown Wichita.
"20 months of construction and there's so much wonderful artwork and imagination coming together in one place, it's a real jewel," he says.
The renovation was paid for in part by parishoners, a grant. The diocese also held several fundraisers to complete the project.