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New Catholic Rector Named for Crystal Cathedral Campus

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange has appointed a rector to preside over the Crystal Cathedral, the iconic building purchased earlier this year by the diocese from the ministry founded decades ago by the Rev. Robert H. Schuller.

Although the diocese has not officially announced the appointment, Fr. Christopher Smith is set to become the rector of the church, according to the Laguna Beach Patch.

Smith holds a Masters in Divinity from St. John's Seminary and a Masters in Religious Education and has held various roles within the Diocese of Orange, according to the local news source.

Smith reportedly will begin serving as rector of the cathedral starting July 1.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange County purchased the Crystal Cathedral this past February after the church filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Oct. 2010. The landmark campus was sold on a bankruptcy court's order for $57 million.

The diocese will change the name of the cathedral as well as its design. The diocese even asked supporters to submit suggestions for the new name via its website this past February.

"It is our goal to make the new cathedral a gathering place for Catholics and other people of faith. By asking for naming suggestions we being the process of connecting this wonderful structure and its future to our faith and the larger community," it said in a statement.

Bishop Tod Brown is set to review the submitted suggestions and choose the new name for the cathedral.

The Crystal Cathedral Ministries was founded over five decades ago by the Rev. Robert H. Schuller in a drive-in movie theater. The church eventually grew to become one of the most prominent megachurches in U.S. history, but began to spiral downward following a highly public family split in 2008.

The megachurch eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2010, and most recently, lost of all its founding members over monetary disputes.

The Crystal Cathedral is now led by John Charles and will be allowed to stay on the iconic campus for three years until the diocese takes over. As of now, the church continues to carry out normal worship services and air its popular "Hour of Power" worship program.

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