MICHIGAN CITY — Early this morning, a truck left Michigan City bound for Chicago, carrying 800 pounds of artfully made cathedral doors.
For three months Mike Methner and Bill Hurley, owners of Entryways Unlimited, 207 Ind. 212, labored to make four doors as nearly perfect as possible. It was a huge job, they say.
The doors will be installed at the main entrance and a side entrance to Holy Name Cathedral, which serves as the seat of the Archdiocese of Chicago.
The doors will serve as the first element that “greets worshippers as they enter the church, and we are proud to be part of this project,” Methner said.
The cathedral, which also serves as a parish church, is being renovated after a 2009 fire caused some damage.
This project is not about repair. Rather, it’s about restoring beauty and grace to the 135-year-old church.
The new doors are constructed of Douglas fir and they are designed to resemble the original bronze, which featured a Tree of Life motif.
Methner and Hurley both worked together in Pines. When Methner set up shop in Michigan City, he brought Hurley on board.
“We do installations for wealthy athletes and for people who want a quality entrance to their homes.
“We’ve installed doors on the lakefront,” Methner said, “and then the home owner hires us to install a door on his Chicago home.”
Methner and Hurley came to the cathedral job through good word-of-mouth as well. “We installed the new doors on the St. Vincent de Paul Church on the campus of DePaul University,” in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. “The contractor from that job recommended us to the cathedral,” Methner said.
Where did they learn the art of the door? “From a few books and other people,” says Methner. “And from each other,” says partner Hurley.
The two don’t know how many hours they might have put into the cathedral doors.
“But it doesn’t matter,” Methner said. “It was a privilege to do this work.”
Hurley, a Roman Catholic, agrees. “It was an experience like no other.”
The doors will be installed today by the contractors working on the cathedral.
On Nov. 1, All Saints Day, Cardinal Francis George will bless them.
Labor of Love
The doors are made of three layers of vertical grain Douglas fir from the West Coast
3 inches thick
Approximately 400 pounds each
Approximately 100 pounds of glass, bronze and hardware
Main doors are 12 feet high and 5 feet wide
Smaller side doors are 9 feet tall and 3 feet wide.
120 hours were spent carving, sanding, staining and sealing