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Jesuit High School Tampa Dedicates New Chapel of the Holy Cross

August 17, 2018 — On the eve of its 120th school year, Jesuit High School celebrated a historic milestone on August 7: The Rite of Dedication for the Chapel of the Holy Cross.

Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, of Oakland, California, the first American Bishop appointed by Pope Francis, was the celebrant of this joyous occasion years in the making. Jesuit priests, along with dozens of Jesuit student altar servers, chamber musicians and choir singers, as well as hundreds of Jesuit High School supporters, joined the Bishop at this momentous event.

Now consecrated, the magnificent 950-seat Holy Cross Chapel — the heart of the school at the center of campus — represents the fourth major sacred space in Jesuit High's history. 

The Bishop, accompanied by assisting priests including school president Fr. Richard C. Hermes, SJ, and local Jesuits Vincent Capuano, Paul Deutsch, Jay Hooks, Patrick Hough and Angel Rivera-Fals, led the ceremony.

Before pouring the sacred Chrism and anointing the altar, Bishop Barber said: "May the Lord by his power sanctify this altar and this house, which by our ministry we anoint, so that as visible signs they may express the mystery of Christ and the Church."

Fr. Richard Hermes at the dedication of the Chapel of the Holy Cross

Fr. Richard Hermes, SJ, at the dedication of the Chapel of the Holy Cross
at Jesuit High School, Tampa
The inaugural Mass inside Holy Cross Chapel was in memory of Fr. Michael Kennelly, SJ, who was president of Jesuit High in the 1950s and spearheaded the school's relocation to Himes Avenue in 1956.

Following a year of planning and two years of construction, the chapel represents one of the great landmarks in Jesuit High School's history. It measures 13,000-square feet (and 126-feet high to the top of the gold leaf-covered cross above the cupola). Its predecessor, St. Anthony's Chapel, served Jesuit for 55 years and had a capacity of a little under than 700. This fall for the first time, Jesuit will begin a school year with 800 students, who will all fit comfortably into the chapel every morning for daily Convocation.

Tuesday marked the debut of the new Phoenix Organ, played by Jesuit's first Zipoli Scholar, student Jordan Vivero. The choir and chamber orchestra, led by Dominick DiCarlo and Nina Wegmann, gave inspired performances at the Mass.

The five evocative chapel paintings by Berzosa include the Vision at La Storta behind the main altar. While on his journey from Venice to Rome in 1537, Jesuit Founder St. Ignatius Loyola and his companions paused at a small church where Ignatius saw God the Father together with Jesus who was carrying his cross. Ignatius then heard the words "I will be favorable to you in Rome." The Jesuit Order was approved by Pope Paul III in Rome in 1540.

The four corners of the chapel are occupied by breathtaking sacred side shrines, each dedicated to a Jesuit martyr and featuring the vivid work of Berzosa, depicting them when they were martyred: St. Edmund Campion, SJ, 1581 at Tyburn in England; French missionary St. Isaac Jogues, SJ, 1646 at Auriesville, New York; St. Paul Miki, SJ, 1597 in Nagasaki, Japan; and Bl. Miguel Pro, SJ, 1927 in Mexico.

In front of the chapel on each side of the entrance is a statue, of St. Ignatius to the left and of St. Francis Xavier, SJ to the right. Both are the work of Swanson, who also made the Stations of the Cross that encircle the chapel's interior. All of the chapel marble is from Italy (selected during a visit to Italy by Fr. Hermes), and the brilliant stained glass on the east side is from Conrad Schmitt Studios in Wisconsin.

A photo slideshow from the Rite of Dedication for the Chapel of the Holy Cross is available on Jesuit High School's website. [Source: Central and Southern Province Jesuits]

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