Renovated Chapel marks fresh beginning


Anna Malesiewski, Assistant Editor

Gannon University celebrated the Mass and Rite of Dedication of the Mary, Seat of Wisdom Chapel Sunday in honor of the chapel’s reopening.

The dedication comes after the chapel was closed and rebuilding was done after a gas leak closed the chapel to the public.

The Rev. Michael Kesicki said that many people helped make this reopening possible.

“The community, past, present and future, participated in a real tangible way by giving so much,” Kesicki said. “Community involves programs, planning and budgets, but all of that should serve something higher.”

President Keith Taylor, Ph.D., agreed that there was an outpouring of support for the reopening of the chapel.

“There has not been a part of this community that hasn’t supported it, either financially, in spirit or by their hands,” Taylor said. “It’s an amazing thing, and it hasn’t come without a whole lot of money, a whole lot of effort and a whole lot of work on a lot of people’s parts.”

The fact that so many were involved in the reopening is a testament to the mission of Gannon and the Catholic church itself.

“The fact that there were so many people involved gave witness to the church as living stones, and it was people and their heart and their commitment that brought this about,” Kesicki said.

Taylor also said that the reopening of the chapel aligns with the university’s mission to combine faith and community.

“With a purpose of transforming lives, I think God’s transformational power is really at the center of that, and at the center of all of the work we do at Gannon University,” Taylor said. “This is a way to not only symbolically, but physically provide an opportunity for students, faculty, staff and our entire community to live our Catholc tradition, to live our mission, and this is a spectacular example of what can happen if you put your heart to it.”

Kesicki also said that although it is a Roman Catholic chapel, the Mary, Seat of Wisdom Chapel was built in consideration of everyone’s faith journeys, Catholic or otherwise.

“My hope is that this place will not just be for community worship, but for anyone who wants to come in here for a place of solitude and to find a place to encounter the divine in a way that is meaningful to them,” Kesicki said.

The chapel’s location is central to displaying Gannon’s message of faith and community.

“It’s right in the center of downtown, which sends a message that we stand with our downtown, with our community, and that we are rooted,” Kesicki said. “That rootedness also means we encourage our students to have wings to find their own way to what leads them to a meaningful sense of truth.”

According to Taylor, the chapel was able to be finished at a remarkable pace, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Once it got started, it has been a labor of love,” Taylor said.

The reopening of the chapel is a symbol of rebirth for many.

“There is always the capacity for newness, to grow and to restart,” Kesicki said. “That’s the faith of our resurrection, that we can always start over, and starting over doesn’t mean going back to the starting square, but it means starting over and having learned something new and having a renewed sense of community and hope.”

The chapel is a symbol of restoration for Taylor as well. He hopes it will hold the same value for other members of the Gannon community.

“We hope that it renews people’s spirits, that it renews willingness, desire and initiative to come to Mass, to participate in the work that happens in Campus Ministry,” Taylor said.

“It is a symbol, and every symbol carries us one step forward toward meeting our goal as a university and our purpose as human beings.”


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