This chapel will serve as a house of prayer and temple of God for many generations to come. ~ Fr. Richard Hermes, SJ, Tampa Jesuit president
Jesuit High School (Tampa) Dedicates Chapel of the Holy Cross

Aug. 10, 2018 - On the eve of its 120th school year, Jesuit High School celebrated an historic milestone on Tuesday, Aug. 7: The Rite of Dedication for the Chapel of the Holy Cross.

Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, of Oakland, Calif., the first American Bishop appointed by Pope Francis, was the celebrant of this joyous occasion years in the making. Jesuit priests, along with dozens of Jesuit student altar servers, chamber musicians and choir singers, as well as hundreds of Jesuit High School supporters, joined the Bishop at this momentous event.

Now consecrated, the magnificent 950-seat Holy Cross Chapel – the heart of the school at the center of campus – represents the fourth major sacred space in Jesuit High's history. It is preceded by St. Louis Church (1899-1905), Sacred Heart Church (1905-1962), and St. Anthony's Chapel (1962-2016).

Featuring the captivating works of Spanish painter Raul Berzosa and Florence, Italy-based sculptor Cody Swanson, the new student chapel will serve the greater Jesuit community and boys in the Tampa Bay area for the 21st century and beyond.

Tuesday's special event began with a processional across campus to the Chapel portico. There, the Chapel's architect, Duncan Stroik of the University of Notre Dame, and Taylor Burt '08, representing contractor Batson-Cook, offered the keys and the plan to the building to the Bishop. Jesuit school president Fr. Richard C. Hermes, SJ, then unlocked the doors to the chapel and led everyone inside.

The Bishop, accompanied by assisting priests including Fr. Hermes and local Jesuits Vincent Capuano, Paul Deutsch, Jay Hooks, Patrick Hough and Angel Rivera-Fals, led the ceremony. He sprinkled the people and the walls with holy water all throughout the chapel. Six authentic relics were part of the processional (they had been venerated in the gymnasium) and Bishop Barber placed one in an aperture at each of the four side shrines, and two in the main altar. There, they were enclosed by a stonemason.

Before pouring the sacred Chrism and anointing the altar, Bishop Barber said: "May the Lord by his power sanctify this altar and this house, which by our ministry we anoint, so that as visible signs they may express the mystery of Christ and the Church."

Fr. Richard Hermes at the dedication of the Chapel of the Holy Cross

Fr. Richard Hermes, SJ, at the dedication of the Chapel of the Holy Cross
at Jesuit High School, Tampa
The inaugural Mass inside Holy Cross Chapel was in memory of Fr. Michael Kennelly, SJ, who was president of Jesuit High in the 1950s and spearheaded the school's relocation to Himes Avenue in 1956. The Mass was dedicated in honor of Marjorie Couch, mother of Ted Couch '54.

Couch made the largest gift in school history, $3.15 million, to Jesuit's For Greater Glory campaign. The chapel of the Holy Cross is the second major structure supported by the $40 million campaign. Launched in 2015, For Greater Glory represents a renewal of school life by investing fully in Jesuit High's people, programs, and facilities, and the campaign includes both Phase I and Phase II of the school's campus master plan.

Phase I has included Gonzmart Hall, a 32,000 square foot administration and student center that was dedicated in March, and the stately Oliva Courtyard. The courtyard connects Holy Cross Chapel with Gonzmart Hall and will be completed in the coming weeks. (Fr. Hermes, SJ also spoke on Tuesday about additional elements being added to the chapel as it completes construction soon, including stained glass above the choir loft on the west side.) Phase II will include a new Performing Arts Center.

Following a year of planning and two years of construction, the chapel represents one of the great landmarks in Jesuit High School's history. At 13,000-square feet (and 126-feet high to the top of the gold leaf-covered cross above the cupola), it has allowed Jesuit High to accept more students. Its predecessor, St. Anthony's Chapel, served Jesuit for 55 years and had a capacity of a little under than 700. This fall for the first time, Jesuit will begin a school year with 800 students, who will all fit comfortably into the chapel every morning for daily Convocation.

Tuesday marked the debut of an organ at Jesuit High. Played by Jesuit's first Zipoli Scholar, Jordan Vivero '18, the Phoenix Organ provides a traditional, sacred soundtrack to Mass and other chapel events. The choir and chamber orchestra, led by Dominick DiCarlo and Nina Wegmann, gave inspired performances at the Mass.

The five evocative chapel paintings by Berzosa include the Vision at La Storta behind the main altar. While on his journey from Venice to Rome in 1537, Jesuit Founder St. Ignatius Loyola and his companions paused at a small church where Ignatius saw God the Father together with Jesus who was carrying his cross. Ignatius then heard the words "I will be favorable to you in Rome." The Jesuit Order was approved by Pope Paul III in Rome in 1540.

The four corners of the chapel are occupied by breathtaking sacred side shrines, each dedicated to a Jesuit martyr and featuring the vivid work of Berzosa, depicting them when they were martyred: St. Edmund Campion, SJ, 1581 at Tyburn in England; French missionary St. Isaac Jogues, SJ, 1646 at Auriesville, New York; St. Paul Miki, SJ, 1597 in Nagasaki, Japan; and Bl. Miguel Pro, SJ, 1927 in Mexico.

In front of the chapel on each side of the entrance is a statue, of St. Ignatius to the left and of St. Francis Xavier, SJ to the right. Both are the work of Swanson, who also made the Stations of the Cross that encircle the chapel's interior. All of the chapel marble is from Italy (selected during a visit to Italy by Fr. Hermes), and the brilliant stained glass on the east side is from Conrad Schmitt Studios in Wisconsin.

A photo slideshow from the Rite of Dedication for the Chapel of the Holy Cross is available on Jesuit High School's website

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