Story by Elizabeth Walztoni, Reporter
Photo courtesy of Mason Glanville
Few of us on campus have been able to tell, but preparations for the opening of the Our Lady Seat of Wisdom chapel have been picking up. Since the start of the school year, according to Fr. Stan, the sound system, the organ, and decorative elements of the building have been put in place. We are still awaiting the arrival of the carved altar and crucifix, which are traveling from the traditional woodworking center of Oberammergau, Germany. They have made their way to Chicago and should be with us soon.
One thing not in the works, as many students have wondered, is stained glass windows. The reason for this, according to Fr. Stan, is twofold: the high cost, and the “marvels of nature” that God has already provided around us. The chapel is witness to “some of the most beautiful views on campus,” he adds, “so why obscure them?”
The dedication mass for these spectacles inside and out is planned for Oct. 7, and “Oh baby,” Fr. Stan says, it is unlike any other liturgy, not only because the bishop will be present. Mass begins with a procession from Bukowski (whose future remains unclear). Outside, architectural plans and a list of contributors to the project will be presented to the bishop, followed by a key to the chapel. He will then pass it on to college President Kevin Quinn, as head of Aquinas’ spiritual care, who in turn will give it to his delegate Fr. Stan. The chapel will be unlocked and the procession will move inside, where the consecration takes place.
The altar and crucifix will be anointed with oil, followed by four crosses on the walls of the altar. This consecrates the church as a whole. The focus of the dedication, Fr. Stan is quick to point out, is not the building itself, but those of us on campus and off who make up the body of the church.
As a result, the dedication mass will be almost filled with those officially involved. If you are interested in taking part, however, there will be a lottery for remaining seats. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, include your name, and say that you are a student who would like to attend. Don’t worry if your name is not chosen; the first regular mass will be the next day, Oct. 8, and in Aquinas tradition everyone, Catholic or not, all are welcome.
The chapel, Fr. Stan emphasizes, is meant to be used by all of us; even its location was chosen for ease of access. Its larger size facilitates more masses and celebrations, including alumni weddings, but above all it is a place to go anytime for quiet, for prayer, for reflection, and to find peace in our busy days.