By: Chris Crisanti – Chief News Writer
The University of Dayton Immaculate Conception Chapel will be unavailable for worship for one year beginning August 2014 while it undergoes a multi-million dollar renovation.
The Rev. James Fitz, vice president for Mission and Rector, said with the education and health sciences department moving from Chaminade Hall to the College Park Center, Mass will be held in the basement of Chaminade and occasionally at Holy Angels Church during renovation. Fitz said the chapel should be completed by fall 2015.
Fitz said they will be working with Campus Ministry to determine when Mass will be held while the chapel undergoes renovations.
According to a UD Campus Report published Dec. 5, the chapel will receive a baptismal front near the entrance, a vestibule for a gathering space, and upgrades in lighting and sound. The publication also noted an installation of restrooms, a reconciliation room, and a bride’s room near the south area of the chapel.
Fitz said the renovation planning began in 2008 and the entire process is funded by donations from friends and alumni. Fitz said they hope to have more than 11 million accumulated by March.
“I thought it was something that needed to be done and was overdue,” Fitz said. “When finished, we will have a much more beautiful space for worship.”
Shaughn Phillips, a junior history major and campus ministry member, said the renovations are a step in the right direction. Phillips said he is a devoted Catholic and does not believe the renovations will affect Mass attendance.
“I am really excited for the renovations and it’s kind of overdue,” Phillips said. “Being a Catholic, the Eucharist is the center of my life so the chapel is very important to me.”
Junior biology major Michael Mingus said he fully supported the chapel renovations because it is a way of acknowledging the respect the Mass deserves.
“At Mass, students do not kneel during the appointed times, because there are no kneelers,” Mingus said. “This is a serious liturgical error, and is not acceptable. It will allow me to celebrate the wonderful mystery of the Eucharist
in a beautiful place that gives glory to God.”
Fitz said the wait for the new additions will be well worth it and anticipates the renovations will be impressive.
“The Immaculate Conception Chapel has been the center of our faith since 1869,” Fitz said. “The chapel makes a place and space to remind us that God is with us all the time. It is important that it becomes a beautiful space.”