The Chapel of the Nativity, which seats about 50 for daily Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours, also houses the Blessed Sacrament in what was the tabernacle from the original SHU Chapel. It is now highlighted by brilliant shafts of gold that catch the warm natural light of this space. This Chapel features mosaics of the Nativity . On the left wall are larger-than-life images of the Three Kings from the East. The Magi are bearing gifts tothe newborn King and traditionally represent the Gentile world paying homage to Jesus. On the opposite wall are St. Ann and St. Joachim , the names traditionally given the parents of the Blessed Virgin and, thus, the earthly grandparents of the Lord. In a dramatic visual fashion, the Chapel of the Nativity spans the whole of Salvation History as it bridges the original covenant between God and the Jewish people, seen here in the persons of the Lord’s own family, and the larger, waiting world of the Gentiles, embodied by the visitors from the East. Literally at the center of those two dispensations is the Nativity: the bridge of history and of nations. Incidentally, the stones on which the Magi tread are native of Connecticut, an affirmation that all of us must walk on our own path. A spacious and light-filled reconciliation room is in one corner. Thus in a sanctuary dedicated to the new life of the Word made flesh, Catholics may renew themselves in sacramental confession.
Another striking feature of the main sanctuary is its unique processional Cross. Crafted in bronze, it stands some eight feet tall when mounted and features a corpus (the body of Jesus) that is bent in agony. Its pedestal repeats in miniature the themes so vividly depicted in the mosaics of the sanctuary. There is a reprise of the narrative of Adam and Eve; a visual representation of a skull, for Jesus was crucified at Golgotha (the place of the skull); and a snarl of roots holding open the jaws of death, reminding one that Jesus was killed on a tree to free all from the snares of death.
Stations of the Cross
The Stations of the Cross , which mark the traditional 14 moments in the journey to Calvary, are not found on the inside walls of the Chapel as might be expected. Rather, they are denoted by simple crosses on the floor, and believers are invited to literally make the Way of the Cross by following this route through the Chapel –nanother element of pilgrimage that is made evident by deep theological reflection and thoughtful design.