Sunday, December 7, 2008

A state-of-the-art worship facility

Marquette University High School, the local Jesuit prep school, has been sending alumni mailings touting the recent renovations and additions. These are essentially fundraising tools. One is the 2007-2008 Annual Report. It has photos and quotes from selected students which include this (p. 5).
Marquette High's new classrooms and chapel not only provide state-of-the-art facilities for education and worship, but also provide more room to house the Marquette High spirit.

Photos of the new chapel have been noticeably absent from these mailings. From what I've seen of it pictured elsewhere, it is an example of the state of the art. Blame my high school education, perhaps, but I don't hold that there is inevitably only progress in the state of an art, liturgical architecture for example.

The new chapel finally replaces the chapel that was renovated into other uses some decades ago, after the school ended mandatory daily Mass. It's named the Three Holy Companions Chapel after St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Francis Xavier, and Blessed Peter Favre. The report says (p. 7) that they
became known as the nucleus of the Society of Jesus, just as the chapel will serve as a core to our community.

If it's an analogy, I'd have expected it to say the chapel is the, not a, core of the community. Of course, that would mean the community had been without it's physical core for decades, which might be a bit downbeat for a fundraising letter in the form of an annual report. It's back in some form; that's progress.


Anonymous Andy K. said...

Hey Terrence,
I love the blog!

I wanted so say that I went to MUHS recently (still in college), and, although I haven't been able to see the new chapel (hope to when I return to Milwaukee after a year abroad), I have seen a few pictures of it (both interior and exterior), and I think that the new chapel is leaps and bounds above the old chapel - especially given the state of the worldwide Jesuits today.

The old chapel was a bit bland, and left a lot to be desired. In addition, the chapel was too small to host "mandatory" Mass for the whole school. Hopefully this changes that (I haven't noticed if it does. The size says it should...).

The new chapel, however, brings back the "chapel" and "church" feeling that a chapel/church should have. Before, the old chapel had Mass in the "U" shape. Blah. Here, we finally get the rough-all-face-one direction that should be present. In addition, it gives the Tabernacle a place in the center of the church, and, as far as I can tell, gives the chance to (maybe, ideally, one day...) celebrate ad orientam. And, it permits the "keeping" the relics originally housed in the previous altar.

There is a bit of a ways to go, yes. But, given the circumstances, the worldwide situation of the Jesuits, and Milwaukee Catholicism especially, I think it's a decent step in the right direction.

4:37 PM  
Blogger Dad29 said...

Oremus, Andy, and AMDG.

The old chapel had a pipe organ.

Is the new one similarly equipped?

7:11 PM  
Blogger Terrence Berres said...

When I said the "old" chapel, I meant the chapel that had been in the main (Johnston Memorial) building. I suppose we might call that the old old or ancient chapel.

From Andy K.'s perspective, the old chapel is the smaller chapel that replaced the ancient chapel.

Andy, maybe I'll see in chapel. Dad29's presence might depend on the planned music.

8:39 AM  
Anonymous aquinas said...

Ah, yes. The "old, old" chapel, complete with balcony and sacristy. It was bigger than some parish churches, and, while it was surely showing its age, it had a lot going for it, not the least of which was a kind of spartan aesthetic (think wooden kneelers!) that fostered an un-selfconscious, masculine, Ignation spirituality that was promoted in a million other subliminal ways in classrooms and athletic fields as well. I'm grateful for having been the recipient of all that; it's served me well, I think. I pray that the young men at MUHS have it/find it as well, despite some of the lunacy apparent in the Society over the last several decades... Maybe things are turning around.

10:34 AM  
Blogger Dad29 said...

Actually, Terry, my presence depends more on adherence to the maxim "Say the black, do the red!" than on planned music.

I'll settle for that 100% of the loaf and wear earplugs if necessary.

1:56 PM  
Blogger Terrence Berres said...

"adherence to the maxim 'Say the black, do the red!'"

Last time I raised that kind of issue, I was told it's like paying the tithe on mint, dill, and cumin. I assume that means I could tape some to the parish pledge card for next year, in lieu of a dollar amount.

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Andy K. said...

If only I could have *seen* the old chapel. I once spent the end of an afternoon, waiting for a ride, walking around the 3rd and 4th floors, trying to reconstruct in my mind what the chapel looked like, and what the size was, after having seen one or two pictures of it! If only!

My prayers are such that MUHS can reinforce Catholicism at the school. It was a tad bit lacking, if you weren't actively engaged for it, which disappoints me, looking back (all 3 or 4 years ago!).

Bit by bit, I suppose.

2:19 PM  

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