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1/18/2013 2:36:00 PM
St. Mary School opens doors to new chapel
St. Mary's School photos
The new chapel at St. Mary School, Medford.  
St. Mary's School photos
The new chapel at St. Mary School, Medford.

The chapel is modeled on a 5th century Italian tomb.
The chapel is modeled on a 5th century Italian tomb.

MEDFORD — A chapel on the south side of the St. Mary’s Medford campus opened its doors to the incoming students this fall.

The chapel is fashioned after the famous Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, a 5th-century tomb of a Catholic noblewoman in Ravenna, Italy. This historic site is reputedly the first cross-shaped building in Europe, and served as Michalangelo’s inspiration for the current St. Peter’s Basilica.

The idea to build a chapel on the St. Mary’s campus in the style of this Italian structure was conceived by several faculty members on a school trip to Rome many years ago, and through generous support from the Catholic community back home was made a reality.

Bequests from Father Nicholas Dies and St. Mary’s teacher of 40 years, Patrick Naumes, along with a number of gifts made in memory of Father Glen Schlatter who taught at St. Mary’s School for many years allowed for the groundbreaking in September 2011.

The chapel has an Italian tile roof, seating for 100, heated travertine floors, and a granite-topped altar. Thirty-two stained glass windows, commissioned from local artist Kevin Christman, surround the congregation along with 16 sculptures of saints. (Six of the pieces will be installed by February with the rest being completed by June of 2014).

The St. Mary's community was honored to have Archbishop John G. Vlazny bless the chapel in May of 2012, and now local priests alternate celebrating morning Mass on most Wednesdays before school starts for the community of faculty, staff, students, friends, and neighbors of the school. Students also enjoy Mass by grade levels on a regular liturgical calendar throughout the school year. Many thanks go to Sacred Heart Parish's Fr. Kelly Vandehey and Fr. Mike Walker, the vicariate representative on the St. Mary's school board, for helping to make these Masses possible.

St. Mary's welcomes visitors to Medford to celebrate Mass. You can check the calendar of Wednesday morning Masses on the school's website at http://www.smschool.us.

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