Virtually every aspect of design in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit is deliberate and works to preach the Gospel – occasionally with words. The entire building is a work of art that communicates important and enduring realities. Its location is a visible reminder of the centrality of the life of faith at Sacred Heart University, and its overall appearance links the believing community to its roots in Judaism. Its artwork is a catechism in stone and glass and light that shares the central themes of Christian belief: calling and incarnation and redemption.
The Chapel is distinguished by worldclass art crafted by a “modern-day Michelangelo” that puts it in company with some of the world’s most memorable sanctuaries: in the Vatican and at Lourdes and Fatima. The highly stylized mosaics seem to bridge the great Christian traditions of the West and the East: what Pope John Paul II called the two lungs of the Church. They are made up of tens of thousands of small pieces, each contributing to the overall power and effectiveness of the whole. Attention to detail is everywhere evident: the Nativity images of the donkey and the cow, for example, boast 20 different colors.
For the Sacred Heart University community, this sanctuary is the fulfillment of a dream as old as the University itself. The Chapel will host a wide variety of religious services and other programs to include Sunday liturgies and, in the Chapel of the Nativity
, the celebration of daily Mass. It is a special place that makes possible – and actively encourages – a deepening of the life of the Spirit within this community. There is no doubt as to its Catholic heritage and purpose, but it is a place of welcome and refuge: in the timeless words of the Hebrew Scriptures, a “house of prayer for all peoples.”
Exterior of Chapel
The exterior walls are designed to suggest the pages of a book, complete with their elements of text, and they face the University Library across the Quadrangle in a kind of deliberate dialogue. The Catholic intellectual tradition, which informs the University’s mission, insists that authentic learning involves the mind, the heart and the body, so this kind of conversation is an essential element of campus life.