This year during Catholic Schools Week, January 28-February 3, Mount St. Mary Academy held a special dedication for the newly renovated school chapel. Those involved say the generosity of donors and volunteers made it all possible.
“We started work at the end of last school year, and we had the help of so many talented people,” said Mount St. Mary Academy President Karen Flake. “With insight from from alumna Elaine Kelly Green ’04, artist Kevin Kresse, and school administration, we began to see a vision for a lighter, brighter school chapel, full of inspiration for our students.”
The Mount St. Mary Academy Chapel, first built in 1982 when the 1908 school building was razed, offers students a place to sit and pray, meditate and host visiting speakers for theology classes. Mass is held in the chapel twice a week by MSM Chaplain Monsignor Lawrence Frederick.
While the beautiful stained glass from the original convent provided a calming and spiritual backdrop for these activities, much of the room was in need of updates. The renovation included replacement of the wall coverings as well as new seating, drop-ceiling and carpet to lighten the appearance and remove allergens.
A beautiful, back-lit crucifix depicting Jesus at the Resurrection was crafted by local artist Kevin Kresse and gifted to the school in memory of Rev. Monsignor Bernard G. Malone by his nephew and former Mount St. Mary Chaplain, Monsignor Francis I. Malone and the Joseph V. Malone, Sr., family of Philadelphia. Kresse is a Catholic High School alumnus with several sisters who graduated from Mount St. Mary Academy. Monsignor Malone received an early assignment at Mount St. Mary as a young priest and has remained involved with the school, now serving on the Mount St. Mary Academy Board of Directors.
In order to inspire on campus the spiritual presence of the Sisters of Mercy who founded the school, several items from the Mount St. Mary Convent Chapel were relocated to the school chapel as well. Mount St. Mary Campus Ministry Director LouAnn Gieringer shared how MSM students will now be able to observe the Stations of the Cross with the addition of 14 wooden stations from the Sisters. Other items from the chapel included a marble holy water font and a framed copy of the St. Pudenziana painting of “Mary Mother of Mercy” from one of the oldest churches in Rome. A letter dated July of 1890 explained the original painting had been blessed and a reproduction commissioned by Pope Leo XIII, who had given it to the Sisters of Mercy as a sign of deep appreciation for the work of their entire congregation.
At the dedication ceremony on January 31, President Flake thanked the donors present, and MSM Chaplain Monsignor Lawrence Frederick gave a special blessing for the chapel. The renovation was made possible by gifts from Nabholz Charitable Foundation; Libby and Lee Hastings, Michelle and Stan Hastings, and Cathy (Hastings ’76) and Steve Owen in honor of Rosalyn Jones Hastings ’48; the Mount St. Mary Class of 2016; and an anonymous donor.
With the joyful dedication of the renewed chapel, all in the school community are encouraged to visit this chapel in prayer to rededicate their life, work and efforts to the Lord and shine Christ’s Light to the world.