The project consisted of three parts; renovations made in the apse of the Cathedral the construction of a Blessed Sacrament Chapel and the conversion of the room above the main sacristy into a pontifical sacristy.
The renovations in the apse consisted of relocating the existing reredos from the apse to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, relocating the bishop's chair from its previous positions on the side of the sanctuary to the center rear of the apse and the addition of seating for clergy on either side of the bishop's chair: The wainscoting in the apse was raised slightly but the mural in the hemi-dome was not disturbed, nor was the altar disturbed in anyway.
The Blessed Sacrament Chapel was constructed on the south (Lipan Street) side of the Cathedral. The reredos and tabernacle was relocated intact from the apse to the Chapel. There is seating for approximately 24 people in the Chapel. The Chapel is designed for Eucharistic adoration only. Mass will never be celebrated in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. The Emmanuel Chapel downstairs is the daily Mass chapel for the Cathedral. The Blessed Sacrament Chapel will not he a place of liturgical action, it will be a place for private eucharistic devotion, free from the distractions of people walking about in the nave of the Cathedral.
All of the renovations were planned and executed in a manner extremely sensitive to the aesthetics of the Cathedral and striving for such an integration of the new with the old that it might be impossible for a stranger coming to see the Cathedral for the first time to know that the additions were not part of the original construction of the Cathedral. It should further be noted that nothing has been destroyed; everything has been preserved and used as it was even though it may have been relocated. None of the main elements of the reredos have been lost. The bishop's chair will continue to be used. All of the existing furnishings will continue to be used; nothing has been lost.
It is certain that Bishop Garriga wanted to build a Blessed Sacrament Chapel for the Cathedral, but he, like Bishop Nussbaum, Ledvina and Drury lacked the funds for such a project. Bishop Garriga actually had preliminary sketches made for the construction of ihe Blessed Sacrament Chapel. There should be no doubt that if Bishop Ledvina had foreseen the liturgical changes mandated by the Second Vatican Council and if he had had the money, he would most certainly have incorporated the changes that have been made to the original design and scope of the work on the Cathedral which he built. Even so, he must have received much criticism when he announced his plan to abandon the old wooden Saint Patrick's Cathedral structure and to build the new Cathedral. There must surely have been those in Corpus Christi who said to him "What is the point of this extravagant waste... it could have been given to the poor" (Mark 14:4-5) And I am confident that he would have quoted our Lord's response, 'The poor you will always have with you and you can be generous to them whenever you wish!"