I'm taking a walk to St. Peter Cathedral in Erie. For the longest time, there was scaffolding inside and out.  It seemed like an endless renovation project. I want to know if everything is finished in time for Easter Sunday.

Now that I'm inside, I am blown away.  The building is beautiful.  No scaffolding.  No hard hats to be found. The renovation and restoration project at the cathedral lasted seven years.  It's now officially over.  Fr. Michael Ferrick, rector of the cathedral, says it's another reason to rejoice this Easter holiday.

"You know Easter is always joyous. The Resurrection. But, there's even more meaning at the Cathedral because we're fully open.   All the restoration is complete and also the word has gotten out,” he said.   

The multi-million dollar project started with the installation of an heating and air conditioning system and LED lighting.  Then came the replacement of all the old plaster in the cathedral, the restoration of the pews, painting of the walls and ceiling, making the floors look brand new, and restoring the organ. Outside, there's a new roof and the stone towers were cleaned and repointed. 

"Talk to anyone who is a regular at the Cathedral the last five years, all they do is talk about scaffolding,” says Fr. Ferrick. 

The scaffolding was a constant appearance at the cathedral over the past few years.  It limited the seating for church services.  There weren't many weddings here over the last five years because most brides and grooms did not want to get married amidst those plastic-covered metal towers. But, the sacrifices of the congregation were worth it.  There's sections of blue paint with gold star stencils high above the altar and the window arches. It's truly breathtaking. That work was completed just three months ago.

"It was the Wednesday before Christmas that they got the scaffolding down finally.  The last phase of it,” said Fr. Ferrick with a smile.  

The pipes for a new sanctuary organ were installed three weeks ago.  A new sound system was installed this past week.  Yes, the renovation and restoration project is finally over at the mother church of the Erie Catholic Diocese…just as we celebrate Easter.

"And it turned out beautiful,” says Fr. Ferrick.  Whether it's a winter day or a sunny spring day. To see the light come through the stained glass windows, it's just beautiful."

Fr. Ferrick says the project cost $7 million to $8 million. The majority of the cost was paid by the parishioners of the cathedral, not by the diocese. By the way, brides and grooms are celebrating the removal of the scaffolding.  20 weddings have already been scheduled for this summer.