Home Lancer Life Our Lady Chapel Celebrates 20 Years

Our Lady Chapel Celebrates 20 Years


This year marks the 20th Anniversary of Our Lady Chapel, which is actually the fourth chapel at Gilmour. The previous three were in numerous areas such as the Tudor House and the Holy Cross Room. As the popularity of Mass on campus grew, the earlier chapels became overcrowded. Around 1990, Mr. Fred Lennon presented to Father John Blazek and Br. Robert Lavelle the idea of Our Lady Chapel. The construction was finished in 1995.

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Kristen Kirkpatrick / Photography

Bishop Roger Gries has a quick discussion with Father John before entering Our Lady Chapel.

Our Lady Chapel brought the Science Building and the Commons together. Now, students and teachers conveniently walk by the Chapel every day to get to lunch. Every morning, the community comes together in the Chapel for Convocation. On Sundays, parishioners celebrate Mass. The Chapel physically and socially connects the campus and community.

“The Chapel is the heart and soul of Gilmour,” said Fr. Blazek. He also said that Our Lady Chapel reaches out and embraces the aspect of family life; it focuses on Gilmour’s students and their importance to the overall success of the school as a whole. According to Fr. Blazek, the Chapel pumps life through the school and keeps the school connected. Our Lady Chapel has become a crucial component to the proper function and action of Gilmour’s

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Tina Newton / Chapel Council

Our Lady Chapel sits near the center of campus between the Tudor House and Classroom Building.

Holy Cross Mission. Mrs. Tina Newton, a member of the Chapel Council, said that the Chapel “brings us together as we share in Communion with God and each other through dedication and passion for the core values.”

Our Lady Chapel also holds a Vatican Treasure. The painting of Our Lady of Vladimir was donated to the Chapel by Pope St. John Paul II. The painting was renamed “Our Lady of Gilmour” by the Pope and was delivered by the Pope’s personal emissary Father Pittau. This piece of historic art now hangs behind glass in the back of the Chapel.

“More important than the chapel itself,” said Newton, “are the people that make it such an inviting and caring place.” Fr. Blazek has been leading Mass since before the Chapel was built. He has been a part of the Gilmour community for 36 years. He kick-started numerous opportunities for students such as Edge, Life Teen, and various retreats.

Mr. Matt Fafrak is the director of Music Ministry and has been a part of Our Lady Chapel for 10 years. With observable passion and dedication, Fafrak brings a new perspective to the traditional music preformed during Mass. He adds a contemporary twist to the traditional hymns of Mass. He utilizes many instruments to achieve this goal and gives the community music to enjoy.  Fafrak said, “I know I am called to be here.”

There are numerous ways to be involved with Our Lady Chapel. The Chapel Council provides services at the Mass and plans upcoming events and festivities such as Chapel picnics, special Mass celebrations, and holidays. The Chapel Council, according to Newton, recognizes the importance of the Chapel and is dedicated to maintaining a welcoming and caring community.

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Kristen Kirkpatrick / Photography

Edwin Heryak (`17) prepares for the 20th Anniversary Mass.