Basilica of St. Adalbert's new lighting system is run on an iPad
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Catholics across West Michigan have another reason to celebrate, aside from the election of a new pope.
The century-old Basilica of St. Adalbert needed new lighting, and new technology will light up the entire church for the first time in its history Tuesday night.
100 years of rich history has for decades been seen by candlelight, dim lighting, and the sunlight peeking through the stained glass windows of the Basilica.
"People just never paid attention to those architectural jewels," said Reverend Monsignor Louis Stasker.
But Monsignor Stasker's parish recently had an awakening.
"Every time I prepare to come down the aisle for the celebration of Mass it's a thrill because I see the lights go on, the music goes on," he said.
It's all run upstairs in the balcony by music director Peter Kurdziel on an iPad, which is linked to a computer network.
"The goal is that it always looks natural in the front, never to the point it looks like a theatre," he said.
The church's iPad has 38 different settings for church services and concert events and it all depends on the lighting outside. For example, Sunday morning Mass has a different light setting than a Saturday evening service.
"People comment to me it's very dramatic and very effective," said Monsignor Stasker.
The basilica is also using green technology that doesn't take a toll on the electric grid. That's allowing the church to go one step further and illuminate the exterior Rose window, the dome, and other architectural features for anyone on the freeway to see.
"We want to give the gift of the building back to the city so people who are driving by any hour of the night will see the architectural features," said Kurdziel.
"The genius of the design," added Monsignor Stasker.
And possibly stop and look for the first time at century-old artwork, brought forth by 21st Century technology.
You can see the exterior of the Basilica light up for the first time at 7pm when the famous Vienna Boys Choir performs. From now on, the outside will stay lit from sundown to sunrise.
Kurdziel says the high efficient lighting won't create a large electricity bill for the church. The Basilica is the first church in the Diocese of Grand Rapids to use an iPad to run its lighting system.