As nearly two months ago, Fr. Christopher Smith will oversee the former Crystal Cathedral's transformation into Orange County's next Catholic cathedral.
On Saturday, when the Crystal Cathedral was renamed Christ Cathedral, the Diocese of Orange formally announced Smith's appointment and duties in this press release:
Fr. Christopher H. Smith has been selected by the Most Reverend Tod D. Brown, Bishop of Orange, to serve as Episcopal Vicar to . Fr. Smith’s appointment marks the first formal staff assignment for the newly named Catholic cathedral.
Fr. Smith will oversee all administrative and policy matters for the Cathedral and its adjacent campus. He will supervise a variety of internal departments and be responsible for the liturgical and clerical oversight for the new Catholic campus. Fr. Smith’s responsibilities will include managing renovations needed to transform the cathedral site to a Catholic place of worship. His position is effective July 2.
“While I consider it a tremendous grace that our Diocese was able to acquire this wonderful facility, the transition to making it our own will take a tremendous amount of effort and talent. I discerned that the diocese needed someone to head the transition effort full-time and I knew that it needed to be one of our most talented and accomplished priests. I am pleased to announce that Fr. Christopher H. Smith has accepted this vital responsibility,” said Bishop Brown.
Fr. Smith is a distinguished member of the Diocesan staff. He already serves as the Episcopal Vicar for Priests and Director of the Ministry to Priests Office. In these important capacities Fr. Smith serves as the Bishop’s liaison and counselor to all diocesan priests. He has led the Bishop’s campaign to integrate new and innovative clerical leadership and training for priests – a program that is now emulated by other dioceses and seminaries.
“My immediate concern in making this appointment was the possible effect on Fr. Smith’s many ongoing initiatives. He assured me this should not be a concern and that he is encouraged by the challenge we face as a diocese in making the cathedral our own,” Bishop continued.
Fr. Smith has witnessed first-hand the vitality and cultural growth enjoyed by the region and in particular the Diocese of Orange. “I can recall the change in the Orange skyline when the Crystal Cathedral was created. I never imagined that someday this magnificent structure would be part of our diocese and would eventually serve as the primary Catholic Church for the region. I, like many others, was overwhelmed when I learned of the acquisition and shocked when Bishop invited me to join him in this critical phase,” said Smith.