Some students at the University of Dayton in Ohio are circulating flyers raising awareness about proposed renovations to the Immaculate Conception Chapel on campus that will reportedly include the removal of the Blessed Sacrament from the main area of the chapel, according to the Catholic Beat.
The $12 million renovation is expected to begin in August and the chapel will reopen 14 months later.
The flyer from the students reportedly indicated that a painting of the Coronation of Mary on the chapel’s ceiling would be demolished. It also noted that a hand-carved pulpit dating to the 1860s will be stripped apart and reconfigured into a holy water font. The flyer urges others to contact the administration and voice their concern.
However, new features for the chapel reportedly include pews and kneelers instead of the chairs, a significantly larger sanctuary with room for a choir, a Eucharistic adoration chapel, and a baptismal font near the entrance.
University President Daniel Curran reportedly said, “The Immaculate Conception Chapel is the spiritual heart of our campus and deserves a thoughtful and unified renovation that respects the chapel’s history and meets contemporary liturgical requirements.”
The chapel, originally constructed in 1869, was reportedly not built with restrooms, but that will be amended in the renovation.
“We are a Catholic university; we should have a powerful symbolic place and space for God,” Fr. James Fitz, SM, vice president for mission and rector reportedly said. “Since the chapel was built in 1869, it has been adapted to meet changing needs and circumstances. This renovation will preserve the chapel’s essential traditions and history and allow us to celebrate Mass in accord with today’s liturgical norms.”
Critics of the renovation are reportedly saying, however, that the public presentations about the renovation held earlier this year were poorly advertised and had very low turnouts.
According to the Catholic Beat, one student said, “Scarcely any students know the fate of the historical pieces, and the university will have a problem on its hands because of the number of students shocked by the changes.”
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