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Jesuit High School Sacramento Opens New Chapel of the North American Martyrs

By Doris Yu

October 27, 2014 — Last month, Sacramento’s Jesuit High School dedicated its new chapel named for the eight French Jesuits martyred in North America between 1642 and 1649. A special Mass to dedicate the chapel was held on September 17, which coincided with the 51st anniversary of Jesuit High’s opening day in 1963.

With 250 people in attendance, Sacramento Bishop Jaime Soto blessed the chapel and prayed it would become “a place of joy, commemoration and peace; a center for praise and thanksgiving; and a source of unity and friendship.”

Bishop Soto was joined by California Province provincial Jesuit Father Michael F. Weiler, Jesuit High's president Jesuit Father David J. Suwalsky and former presidents and administrators of Jesuit High, who participated in the Mass.

Measuring 10,800 square feet, the modernist-style chapel was developed over the last 14 months. The chapel’s main sanctuary, where school liturgical services will be held, seats up to 350 people. A smaller devotional Lady Chapel provides space for individual prayer, contemplation and small group devotion. Outside, a 90-foot pool reflects light into the vestibule of the building, and a six-foot marble statue of St. Ignatius Loyola will be placed on the grounds later this month.


The chapel also incorporates green technologies and efficiencies, and the school is seeking its certification as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold project from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Among the chapel’s artwork is a martyrs’ installation, made of eight panels engraved with the names of the eight North American martyrs for which the chapel is named and the words “pray for us” in English, Latin and French.

Three of the martyrs were killed by members of the Mohawk and Iroquois tribes at Auriesville, New York: René Goupil, Isaac Jogues and John de La Lande. The remaining five died in Canada: Anthony Daniel, John de Brébeuf, Gabrial Lallemant, Charles Garnier and Noel Chabanel. All worked tirelessly to bring the Catholic faith to indigenous peoples.

View a video of the dedication Mass below.





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Situated on a bluff overlooking the Potomac River, Loyola Retreat House is located 35 miles south of Washington, D.C., in southern Maryland.