|June 12, 2017 • VOL. 55, NO. 11 • Oakland, CA|
New chapel a sacred space for worship and reflection
Since the original 1927 high school building on the Saint Mary's College High School campus in Berkeley was razed in 1973, the school has made use of classrooms, the auditorium and other campus spaces for liturgies and prayer services.
Now, thanks to generous gifts from the extended Saint Mary's community, a beautiful new Student Chapel is rising from the ground at the entrance to campus, the third home to Saint Mary's since its founding in San Francisco in 1863.
Ground was broken last August and construction is on track for an early 2018 completion.
The new chapel will honor our Blessed Mother and School Patroness, and will memorialize Remond Sabatté, Class of 1941. Sabatté, a member of the family who started South Berkeley Creamery in 1910, later renamed Berkeley Farms, was a well-respected Catholic lay leader, active in the Oakland diocese as well as nationally and internationally through the Knights of Malta, and who served on the Board of Regents for both Saint Mary's College and Saint Mary's College High School. The Sabatté family has led the chapel funding in memory of Remond Sabatté.
School President Brother Edmond Larouche, FSC, a 1966 graduate, said "It will be a sacred space for the community to come together for worship and celebration."
Set on a tree-lined hillside adjacent to the Brothers' campus residence and Saint Joseph's Hall, the chapel will be a focal point as students, staff and visitors enter the main entrance to campus. The distinctive design reflects the input and desires of students and staff who participated in early focus groups with the project architect. At 4,400 square feet, the chapel will be able to accommodate 200 people, large enough for an entire class to participate in a liturgy service. It will be used for a daily Mass or prayer service for the Brothers and members of the school community, as well as for alumni or small-group liturgies, memorials and prayer services. As important, the chapel will provide students and adults on campus a sacred space for quiet prayer and reflection.
"This will be a special place where students can go to be alone with their thoughts, away from the busyness of school and the stress that can go along with balancing academics, relationships, sports and other activities," says Brother Edmond.
Peter Boero, Class of 1964 and Director of the Chapel Project Fundraising, adds, "It is clear that the many donors to Saint Mary's Student Chapel are passionate about caring for the spiritual and religious needs of our students."
The steady progress on the construction site since Easter, following the end of the heavy winter rains, is holding the attention of the entire school community, as the once bare hillside on a campus so filled with history, is being slowly transformed into the home of the beautiful new Saint Mary's Student Chapel.
Saint Mary's College High School was founded in San Francisco in 1863 as the high school department of Saint Mary's College, and has been conducted by the De La Salle Christian Brothers since 1868. It is the oldest of the Brothers' schools on the West Coast. The schools moved to Oakland in 1889 and the high school to Berkeley in 1927 and college to Moraga in 1928.
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