The Month of October – The Month of the Rosary. Please include in your rosary intentions that God will bless Virginia with Ken Cuccinelli as its next governor. Thank you. [This request has come to me through several alumni. It is indeed a matter of great importance.]
Another Chapel: Seton’s Our Lady Queen of the Angels
I just got the 1st edition of Seton’s school newspaper. The Inquisitor was loaded with information and was great to read. I will have a summary of that 1st edition ready soon to post here, but today I wanted to expand on one article: “Enthusiasm Builds for Seton’s New Chapel”. After reading the article and talking to Mrs. Carroll, I am eager to pass on what I’ve newly learned and repeat some of what I’ve already said. The planning that is going on and the plan that has been produced are very exciting.
Let’s start with the exterior and move to the interior. The Board wanted the chapel to be prominent immediately upon stepping into the lobby of the main entrance of Seton. The current chapel’s location is such that one could enter, wander around the school, and perhaps never know there is a chapel. Mrs. Carroll’s classroom now is off the lobby and is the combination of the old rooms of Clare and Goretti – two rooms that have a sliding partition between them and are separated from Mr. Scheetz’s classroom by another sliding partition. One idea was to expand the current chapel into those classrooms, but that would have had the disadvantage of the chapel’s interior being constantly invaded by noise and commotion from the lobby and the gym. My meditative abilities could never overcome those distractions when I would be in the chapel. If a game was going on in the gym, or there was action in the lobby, Our Lord would be quickly abandoned in thought with wonderment about what that wild cheering from the gym might have been for, or who were those two in the lobby talking about their upcoming field trip into D.C.
The Board adopted a plan to build the chapel as a separate edifice on the recently acquired property next to Seton on the south side of the school. That seems more remote than the current chapel, but not if the school and chapel are connected by a walkway whose doorway would be in the lobby with a prominent sign above that reads “Our Lady Queen of the Angels Chapel”. That sign would serve as a proclamation of His presence and an invitation to visit Our Lord. It also distances the chapel from the noise of the lobby and gym.
The walkway will end at the doors to the vestibule of the chapel, but there will be an entrance into the chapel from the outside as well. There is a certain sense in which the chapel, then, is placed in the middle of Seton’s two parts: the school buildings and the residences on Maple Street that are now part of Seton or owned by Seton teachers.
A bell tower will serve the same purpose on the outside as the sign above the doorway in the lobby serves on the inside: proclaiming the presence of Our Lord and inviting one to visit.
The chapel’s location and octagonal shape calls to mind the famous cathedral of Charlamagne, known by the Germans as Aachen and by the French as Aix la Chapelle. That chapelle is octagonal and there is a bridge over the Rhine from the palace to the church connecting the lands of the Franks and Germanic tribes. It also served as a proclamation of an emergence from the Dark Ages into the splendor of a new evangelization that would bring the Gospel message to the Franks and Germans A new age of faith was beginning, and Seton’s chapel is begun during the Year of Faith and in the midst of the New Evangelization. It is significant to remember the importance of the octagon to the Church. Baptismal fonts are often eight-sided because it was eight days from Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem for the events of the Passion until His Resurrection. Therefore, the very shape of the chapel calls to mind the Paschal Mystery and our rebirth to a new life in Our Risen Lord.
Still, it is not so much the exterior that raises my enthusiasm, but rather the plans for the inside of the chapel. The next posting will give information about the chapel’s interior. So be sure to stay tuned to learn what Seton alumni architects are involved and some of the interior specifics.
AND PLEASE KEEP KEN CUCCINELLI IN YOUR PRAYERS
Jezu, ufam Tobie.