NEWARK, N.J. -- The Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in downtown Newark, one of the largest in the country, is a magnificent testament to the Catholic presence in this beleaguered city.
The grand, block-long sweep of its Vermont granite, which includes a cathedral rectory, is visible through a large round window in the office of Archbishop John J. Myers. He refers to the cathedral during an interview as "one of the great churches in the Western Hemisphere."
It is all at once a sign of constancy as well as a symbol of a church of another era, of a previous Catholic age, of an earlier immigrant experience. These are not the days for big brick-and-mortar dreams. This is the time of a new immigrant church made up of the poor, and often undocumented, from all over the world. The globalized church takes on an urgent reality in these Newark streets, scarred by America’s racial sins and the ravages of urban poverty.