Chapel Salute

04.24.2014 | Students, Catholic, Campus and Community
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University of Dayton students will participate in a prayerful sendoff Sunday, April 27, for the school's iconic Immaculate Conception Chapel that will close this summer for a 14-month renovation project.

The celebrant of the 10 a.m., noon, 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Masses Sunday, April 27, will invite congregants to pray for the renovation and to process to offer a gesture of reverence for Christ at the altar before leaving the chapel. The procession symbolizes the University's journey through the renovation process, according to Crystal Sullivan, University of Dayton director of campus ministry.

For many students, Sunday will be the last time they will worship in the Immaculate Conception Chapel before final exams and graduation a week later.

"Many of our students have great feelings about the chapel. This is about honoring our students and providing them an opportunity to have a final moment in the chapel before they leave and the renovation begins," Sullivan said.

The chapel will close for renovation on July 20. The University will have a more formal "leave-taking" after the 10 a.m. Mass that day to remove many of the chapel's sacred items.

The items will be moved to a temporary worship space until the chapel reopens in late summer 2015. During the renovation of the chapel, Masses will be held in a temporary worship space on campus and at Holy Angels parish. The Mass schedule has yet to be determined.

Construction preparations begin May 5 with crews closing College Park Circle to public vehicle traffic at the visitor's booth, and erecting fencing around the construction site. 

When the chapel renovation is completed, its iconic cupola, exterior look, historic dimensions and footprint will be largely unchanged. Updates will improve how the chapel functions to allow fuller liturgical participation and will blend with familiar elements to echo the chapel's traditional look.

The renovation will ensure universal accessibility for all visitors. Accessible parking will be located just outside the front chapel doors, which now will be accessible by a ramp and open to all visitors. The chapel will have seating for nearly 350 people in curved wooden pews with kneelers that will provide a more intimate setting, as well as smaller rooms for private and small group prayer, Eucharistic and reconciliation chapels, restrooms, office space and a bride's/multipurpose room.

Upgrades to the lighting, HVAC, sound and other mechanical systems will enhance comfort and energy efficiency.

The project will be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified, emphasizing sustainability in materials and design in order to be environmentally responsible and resource efficient.

"We are a Catholic university; we should have a powerful symbolic place and space for God," said the Rev. James Fitz, S.M., vice president for mission and rector. "Since the chapel was built in 1869, it has been adapted to meet changing needs and circumstances. This renovation will preserve the chapel's essential traditions and history and allow us to celebrate Mass in accord with today's liturgical norms."

Complete information and updates on the chapel renovation can be found through the related link or the attached video.

For more information, contact Shawn Robinson at 937-229-3391. Photographers are not permitted to use tripods in Immaculate Conception Chapel.