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Renewing the Sacred

The Restoration of Saint Turibius Chapel

Saint Turibius Chapel stands at the heart of the Pontifical College Josephinum, a fitting location given its central role in the life of the seminary.

 

Designed by St. Louis architect Frank A. Ludewig and completed in 1932, the chapel was subsequently animated by a mural painted by Gerhard Lamers (c. 1936) and stained glass windows by the world-renowned Emil Frei.

 

Since the mural was painted on an exterior wall, water deteriorated the work after each of three renovations (1936, 1945, 1953) and was sealed over in 1989. The need to undertake a historic restoration and liturgical renovation – to restore early elements of the chapel, particularly the apse wall mural, and better accommodate liturgical celebrations – has been evident for many years. A successful focused fundraising effort enabled the long-anticipated project to move forward; renovation began in spring 2016. Nearly one year later, Saint Turibius Chapel was rededicated by His Excellency, The Most Reverend Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States and Chancellor of the Josephinum, on April 24, 2017.

 

Components of the renovation include:

  • A noble and permanent marble Altar of Sacrifice.
  • A beautiful and dignified setting for the adoration and reservation of the Most Holy Eucharist.
  • The creation of a new mural based on the ca. 1936 Gerhard Lamers original.
  • A reconfigured floor plan to provide increased seating, emphasize the centrality of the altar and renew the lines of the historic sanctuary.
  • New porcelain floor tile and marble altar steps and risers to enhance the service of the altar
  • Improved energy-efficient lighting and sound systems.
  • Enhanced handicapped accessibility.

 

The remarkable renovation was brought to completion though the partnership of countless individuals. Father John Allen, Josephinum Vice President for Advancement, noted, “The inspired vision of our contactors and architect – the Ruscilli Construction Company and William Heyer – supported by the great generosity of our special benefactors and the collaboration of many talented and dedicated artisans, craftspeople, engineers and subcontractors – have made this restoration possible.”

 

The 2017 restoration and renovation of Saint Turibius Chapel will have a profound effect and enduring impact on the formation of every Josephinum seminarian. “The restored chapel will further the integration of a dynamic prayer life which is focused around the altar and the Paschal Mystery,” said Reverend Monsignor Christopher J. Schreck, Rector/President. “The celebration of the Mass will be enriched with a renewed appreciation of the chapel’s architectural beauty and will enrich seminarians’ spiritual lives for generations to come.”

Seminarians will lead tours of Saint Turibius Chapel at the Josephinum’s Fall Tour Day on September 16, 2017. More information forthcoming at pcj.edu.

 

Donations to this historic renovation are still being gratefully received. To participate, kindly send contributions to the Office of Advancement (7625 N. High St., Columbus, 43235) or call Father John Allen at 614-985-2325.

 

Photos at Right:


The Mural

While decades of water damage made it impossible to restore the original mural, detailed conservation testing by EverGreene Architectural Arts helped to reveal the original color palette and brushwork. EverGreene created a new mural true to Lamers’ vision and style; it is affixed to a newly-constructed apse wall slightly in front of the original, to eliminate all possibility of future water deterioration.

The image of Christ the Eternal High Priest and adoring angels occupy the central place. Closest to the Son of God, a crowned image of Our Lady Sedes Sapientiae, flanked by Saint Joseph and Saint Turibius, is surrounded by other exemplars of holiness: Blessed Miguel Pro; Saint Rose of Lima; Saint John Neumann; Pope Saint Gregory the Great; Saint Catherine of Siena; and Saint Vincent de Paul.


The Tabernacle and Choir Stalls

The historic Josephinum tabernacle houses Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament. The original altar crucifix, carved at the Josephinum, provides a compelling focus for prayer at the center of the sacred rites.

Original choir stalls made by the Josephinum Altar Building Company ca.1935. Wooden chancel screens will emphasize the centrality and sacredness of the altar.


The Reliquary

A small reliquary housing the relics of saints was deposited beneath the altar during the Dedication Rites. It remains visible through a wrought iron and brass grille at the back of the altar.


Blessing of the Walls

The walls of Saint Turibius Chapel are sprinkled with holy water by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States and Chancellor of the Josephinum, during the rededication on April 24, 2017.


Anointing of the Altar

Archbishop Pierre anoints the new Altar of Sacrifice. Three kinds of Italian marble form/accent the nave, altar and Blessed Sacrament shrine.

 

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