God is ‘at the heart of everything we do’ at seminary, archbishop says at chapel dedication

By Dave Hrbacek | OSV News

ST. PAUL, Minn. (OSV News) — With the ceremonial opening of doors at the new chapel at St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul, hundreds got their first look at the place where 92 men from 16 dioceses across eight states will pray daily both to encounter Christ and discern their vocational calling.

Three bishops, including Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda of St. Paul and Minneapolis, assembled in the sanctuary April 20 for the dedication of the new chapel, which included anointing of the chapel’s altar and walls.

They were joined by more than a dozen priests and deacons, including the seminary’s current rector, Father Jonathan Kelly, and his predecessor, Father Michael Becker, both of whom played key roles in the design and construction of the chapel. It is part of a larger construction project at the seminary scheduled to be completed later this spring. St. John Vianney College Seminary has partnered with Zeman Construction, Finn Daniels Architects and the Studio of Liturgical Design and Consulting.

During his homily at the dedication Mass, Archbishop Hebda, filled with emotion, gave his impression of the chapel and of its importance in the formation of the St. John Vianney men who will spend time there trying to hear God’s call in their lives.

“This is a chapel that speaks about a generous response,” he said, acknowledging the many benefactors who contributed to the cost of the $10 million renovation project. “It’s not just adequate, it’s spectacular. It’s a way in which we are able to demonstrate to the seminarians that we think that what they’re doing is incredibly important. But it’s also a way in which we’re able to communicate that God has to be at the heart of everything we do in this seminary.”

Father Jonathan Kelly, rector of St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., anoints a wall in SJV’s new chapel during a dedication Mass April 20. (Photo by Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit)

In remarks at the end of Mass, Father Kelly said he hopes the chapel will help in the overall mission of the seminary, which is to form “men who are authentic and transparent. … The one place that we want to be truly authentic is before God in this chapel.” To that end, the chapel is filled with natural materials like wood and stone, augmented by large windows that let in lots of daylight. That, combined with artwork created by local iconographer Nicholas Markell, help give all who enter the chapel “a sense of the divine,” Father Kelly said.

The central part of the chapel — and St. John Vianney — is the tabernacle containing Jesus himself, in the Eucharist.

“Jesus is here,” Father Kelly noted, making a connection to the ongoing National Eucharistic Revival, “and he is the center of our life, and the center of our home.”

Author: OSV News

OSV News is a national and international wire service reporting on Catholic issues and issues that affect Catholics.

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