You’ve heard about it in the announcements, but have you ever seen it? “It” is the convent chapel, where we routinely hold First Friday Eucharistic adoration, and the Holy Name Society’s monthly Mass. I would be willing to bet that most who have not participated in those two activities have never seen it.
For those who don’t know, the convent is the building between the church and the school. Along with the original school building, it is one of the first constructions of the parish when it was new, built in 1946-47. It housed sixteen of the Sisters of Saint Francis of Glen Riddle who taught in our school for decades, until the last left in 1999.
The newest construction on the property, known poetically as the “connector,” in 2002 joined the original school building (three stories tall) and the Annex (four additional classrooms added in 1958) to the convent building, and added a new ground-level entrance for increased security and accessibility. Since then, the old convent building has housed the library, the computer classroom, school offices, the teachers’ break room, the copier room, and a conference room.
At that time, some work was done to improve the chapel. It was expanded into the adjoining parlor, and pews and carpeting added. New paint and improvements in the sacristy made it suitable for more people to use it for more functions. But to be honest, it was still pretty drab, and for years I had been hoping to make it more inviting.
Over the past six months, that has finally happened. With the new heating and cooling from Phase I of the school in there, the window-unit air conditioners and the radiators are gone. A new wood floor, new decorative windows, and a rich new paint scheme are only part of the story. Overall, the chapel is beautiful.
A lot of people helped make it that way. Parishioners donated their time, effort, expertise, and funding to make it possible. I learned a lot about what some people are really good at! I think you will be impressed, too.
Next weekend, after all the Masses, we will have an open house for everyone to visit the chapel. I will provide information on what was done in the two renovations, and on who provided what to make it possible. You will have a chance to admire all the work that went into making the place of prayer worthy or the Presence who dwells there. Come and see this precious parish resource!
Since the school is connected to the convent building now, the school kids can go to the chapel without going outside. By making the chapel more beautiful, it was my stated hope to make it more inviting, so they would want to pray there more often. The result has been that I want to pray there more often – as do Fr. Nick and Fr. DeRosa. We keep bumping into one another there, or coming or going to or from the chapel. That’s not a bad thing, surely.
It is my hope that more folks will have the same experience, and find the beauty, silence, and grace of the chapel calls them to pray there. So stop by next week, and make the first visit of what could turn into many. “It” may be just what you’ve been looking for!