Chapel of the Immaculate Conception new mass times

Pictured is the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception. Photo courtesy of Keegan Gupta for Flyer News.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a CORRECTED version of the article posted in early February about the history of Immaculate Chapel. Flyer News regrets the error.

James Martin | Contributing Writer

The Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, from its beginning as a farm to a chapel lodged between university classrooms and walkways, has welcomed millions of faces in its 150-plus-year history.

In 1867, members of the Society of Mary broke ground on Nazareth Farm, continuing their mission from Christ by overseeing a school for boys. This school was titled St. Mary’s Institute. Over the next two years, construction on the chapel was completed on the grounds of the institute, highlighted by a roof with six chimneys (long removed) and 22-inch brick walls. 

In 1920, the St. Mary’s Institute was renamed the University of Dayton. Since construction began in 1867, the chapel has undergone a series of changes and refurbishments to get to the iconic university chapel it is today.

1867 – Construction began on a suitable worship space at Nazareth Farm; Church of Nazareth

1869 – Archbishop John Baptist Purcell, of Cincinnati, celebrated the rites of consecration and dedication of the “Church of the Nazareth” under the patronage of the Immaculate Conception.

1876 – The lovely reredos containing the statues of Mary, the Immaculate Conception, John and Peter graced the sanctuary.

1878 – The Stations of the cross are installed.

1883 – The interior of the chapel is repainted, and a Covington, Kentucky, artist completed several murals to adorn the walls and ceiling.

1877 – Coal-burning stove installed

1898 – The addition of steam heating allowed the coal-burning stove to be removed

1899 – Installation of electricity

1907 – 20-foot addition enlarged the sacristy

1929 – Central heating is installed

1971- Dramatic renovation to meet Vatican II’s call for liturgical renewal: The chapel’s interior was reconfigured; new stained glass windows; the chapel dome/cupola was refurbished and painted blue—renovation totaling $90,000.

2000 – Chairs were reoriented and a new sound system along with central air conditioning was installed.

2015 – The sanctuary ceiling required significant rebuilding to meet fire and safety codes. Could not preserve the ceiling mural, the Coronation of Mary, given that it was painted directly on the deteriorating plaster. The Chapel of the Immaculate Conception is a consecrated structure, signified by 12 white marble Maltese Crosses on the sides and rear walls, meaning its purpose is to always be a structure that honors the liturgical rights of the Catholic Church.

The blue dome or cupola of the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception has become a present-day icon for locals. The metal and wood dome can be seen from just about anywhere on campus and features a 7-foot 4-inch-tall cross with arms 4 feet 6 inches wide perched on top.

Tom Laveck, finished his undergrad in religious studies and is currently pursuing his graduate degree in theological studies at the University of Dayton. Laveck has spent his time researching and studying the chapel’s deep history.

“The Chapel of the Immaculate Conception is similar to the Holy Trinity Church in downtown Dayton; it is probable they had the same architect although the Holy Trinity Church was established first in 1861 with it’s spire being completed in 1868,” he said. “They both had the red brick structure until 1910 when the Holy Trinity Church covered the red brick in white.”

Since 1869, when the chapel was complete and the institute was up and running, weather and other natural causes have threatened the chapel’s structure.

“In 1883, St. Mary’s Covenant now St. Joseph Hall for Dayton students, caught fire and north-east directed winds pushed the fire towards the chapel. As the fire threatened the chapel, Bro. Joseph Meyer grabbed a reliquary (a box of saint bones, teeth, etc.) and held it above his head promising to build a statue for Mary if she saves the chapel.” Laveck said. “The chapel was saved and a statue was built.”

This story was unknown to be true until they refurbished Mary’s statue in 1936, which sits in the Serenity Pines on campus. While refurbishing, glass pieces were found under the statue with inscriptions of the exact date of the fire, confirming the story to be true. The Chapel of the Immaculate Conception was 20 feet from being damaged by the flames.

AJ Schuller, a freshman, has had a longstanding religious focus since a child. He attends church regularly and is a member of the Christian Church. When informed about the history of the university chapel, he was shocked.

“I have been attending church at the chapel for almost half a year, I would have never known the changes and upgrades the chapel has received,” Schuller said. “I think that it’s very interesting and something I will look into.”

The chapel’s history has been preserved through a collection of documents, graphs, and images that can be found in the university archives or on Dayton’s Chapel booklet. Today, the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception stands tall in the exact place upon completion in 1869, serving as the heart of UD as a Marianist university. With 11,378 students on campus, the chapel is a staple for many, its blue dome apparent to all.

Lucy Graff is a junior and formerly attended Seton High School, a Catholic high school in Cincinnati.

 “I think the history of the chapel shows a lot about the faith the university has and how rooted we are to the Marianist community and Mary, which can be reflected in the chapel’s name,” she said.

The Chapel of the Immaculate Conception provides a variety of mass times and faithful events, welcoming all students and community members. Stop in to witness the history for yourself.

Weekday Masses: Monday-Friday at 12:30 p.m. Sunday Mass: 10 a.m. | noon | 6 p.m. | 8:30 p.m.

For more news about anything on campus, check out our campus page here!

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