SUCCESS STORY – The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
“The City of Savannah is the scene of the country’s 2nd largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration. The Cathedral’s 2009 offering capitalized on this and the fact that the city welcomes an influx of over one half million visitors for the event. For 2009 they chose to feature the St. Patrick Window which depicts St. Patrick instructing the King of Ireland at Tara.”Mary‐Clark Rechtien
The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Savannah is the oldest and largest Cathedral in the state of Georgia. The parish was started by French fleeing Haiti in the early 1700s. In 1850 the Diocese of Savannah was created. Construction began on the Cathedral in 1873. The current building underwent a major restoration, closing its doors from June of 1999 until November 2000. The Cathedral was looking for a way to help pay off the remaining debt incurred in this $11.7 million dollar restoration and to find a way to help with the recurring costs involved with the preservation of this historic building.
Mary‐Clark Rechtiene had recently been to Canada and had purchased a pewter ornament of the Ottawa Capitol, and thought the idea of an annual ornament program would be good for the parish. When she presented the idea to the Monsignor, he pulled out of his drawer an ornament of the Abbey in Latrobe, PA. On the back of the box was the Beacon Design sticker and contact information. Thus began the relationship between the Cathedral and Beacon Design.
The Cathedral’s ornament series depicts the various stained glass windows throughout the building. The first piece in 2007 featured the center window above the main altar of John baptizing Christ. The ornament was marketed to the parishioners through pre‐orders. They were also sold to the many tourists who came to visit. Additionally, one weekend is designated as “Ornament Sunday” where the ornaments are available after all Masses. The original order of 1000 pieces sold through in one month and a reorder of 500 pieces was placed.
Marketing efforts have continued to increase, along with the sales of the ornaments. The ornaments are available on their website, as well as a local religious store. Orders have steadily increased year over year.
To find out more visit the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist Online Store.