St. Patrick Cathedral documentary premieres on NBC on Nov. 16

North Texas Catholic
(Nov 7, 2019) Local

Looking up at the front door of St. Patrick Cathedral in downtown Fort Worth. (NTC/Ben Torres)

FORT WORTH — A 30-minute documentary titled “The Making of St. Patrick’s Cathedral” will premiere on NBC KXAS-TV Channel 5 at 1 p.m. Saturday, November 16, immediately preceding the University of Notre Dame vs. Navy football game.

The documentary originated in 2014 when Chuck Johnson, who wrote, produced, and directed the feature, toured St. Patrick Cathedral. He admitted to being “flabbergasted by how cool it is,” and he wanted to preserve and share the story of the Gothic revival church. For five years, he researched, shot, and edited the documentary as time allowed from his role as president of Big Bad Wolf Creative Group.

The feature taps into the roots of Catholicism in Texas, the beginning of Catholic Church in Fort Worth, and the construction of the cathedral, which began in 1888.

The minutes dedicated to the art and architecture of the cathedral include some of the little details that Johnson said were his favorite parts of the project. For example, St. Patrick Cathedral historian Kay Fialho shared the reason why the Fort Worth City Council allowed a crypt in the basement of the cathedral. Also, Johnson discovered why the center pews at the cathedral are numbered and why the side pews don’t match the others.

“The Making of St. Patrick’s Cathedral” is “a story that needed to be told,” according to Johnson. He said the local NBC affiliate, which employed Johnson for many years, recognized the film’s local significance and was “immediately interested” in airing the documentary.

Johnson hopes the potential viewership of millions will gain understanding of the history of St. Patrick Cathedral and how the Catholic Church came to Fort Worth. For the Catholics in the Diocese of Fort Worth who watch, Johnson wants the documentary to yield a greater appreciation of the religious and lay people whose labors made the cathedral and the local Church what it is today.

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