The new rectory for Holy Family Cathedral reached a key point last month, when parishioners, priests, construction workers and donors gathered at the Anchorage parish for a “frame in” ceremony on Aug. 10.
For centuries such ceremonies took place when the last beam was erected atop a building. Since there are no major beams in the new rectory, attendees signed a large piece of wood paneling.
The frame in was modeled after topping off rituals, which can trace their roots to ancient Scandinavian practices of putting a tree atop a newly constructed building to appease tree-dwelling spirits displaced during the construction. The cultural practice made its way to England and eventually to the United States. Along with the tree, a flag is usually hung at the high point of the building. Typically workers are treated to a free meal.
An estimated 50 attendees at the Aug. 10 event enjoyed lunch with the crew from Davis Construction, Dominican priests and donors Ed and Cathy Rasmuson. Women from Holy Family made lunch. The event included a spruce tree and the American flag being posted at the rectory’s high point, and blessings and prayers were offered.
The new structure replaces the 1958 rectory and will house up to six priests and includes two guest rooms, a chapel and library. Dominican priests hope to move into their new home some time in December.
Money for the $4 million project is entirely funded by a donation from members of the Rasmuson family.