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Exterior view of the Chapel on the North American Martyrs and the Dedication Mass on September 17, 2014.
Jesuit High School Dedicates New Chapel

Hundreds of benefactors, students, faculty, and staff, gathered for the dedication Mass of the Jeff ’80 and Liz Phelan Chapel of the North American Martyrs on the campus of Jesuit High School on September 17.

The Most Reverend Jaime Soto, DD, Bishop of the Diocese of Sacramento, served as the presider with concelebrants Fr. Michael Weiler, SJ, provincial, California Province of the Society of Jesus; Fr. David J. Suwalsky, SJ, president, Jesuit High School; Fr. C. Hightower, SJ, superior, Sacramento Jesuit Community; and Fr. Eduino Silveira, pastor, Our Lady of the Assumption Parish.

Designed by Hodgetts + Fung Design and Architecture as an iconic structure to greet stu¬dents on their daily arrival, the Chapel of the North American Martyrs is meant to be a welcoming presence when approached from the main campus. The strong yet simple geometry, enduring materials, and soaring ceilings to provide a spiritual anchor for the Jesuit High School Campus, and to provide a symbol¬ic progression from dynamic campus life to a more contemplative sacred space.

The design is based on geometric principles which date to the beginnings of sacred architecture. Arcs, axes, and alignments have been carefully orches¬trated to create a subtle yet inevitable path toward the sanctuary, and from there, toward the altar. Yet, in recognition of our multicultural society, and the treasure of individuality, the plan gathers, rather than focuses the paths of those who come to worship. Seating up to 350 people, the sanctuary is large enough for school liturgical services while a smaller devotional Lady Chapel will allow for individual prayer, contemplation and small group devotion.

Several outcomes were desired as part of this project:

  • Building of a chapel large enough to accom¬modate Jesuit High School's largest class
  • Creation of a signature building to identify Jesuit's Catholic, Christian heritage and to announce Jesuit's presence in Sacramento
  • Resolve the growing concerns about the safety of student drivers and passengers, as well as visitors, as they enter/exit Jesuit from Gordon Lane; and
  • To add land to the campus should there be a future need and to create a buffer between the school and residential development.

More than $16 million has been raised from generous benefactors and friends to assist the Jesuit High School community to achieve these goals.

Jesuit High School opened with a chapel in 1963 which it outgrew by the late 1960s. The chapel was closed and the space was re-purposed as a band room in the 1990s. All-school liturgies were held in the Fr. Barry, S.J. Gymnasium or in the pool amphitheater. Smaller Masses or prayer services were held in the community chapel, li¬brary, the Harris Center cafeteria/band room/little theater, and even in the locker rooms.

The first donation for this current project was received in 1998. Jesuit’s Building for the Future campaign received its first $1,000,000 pledge for a new chapel in 2004 from Jeff (’81) and Liz Phelan. The Board of Trustees gave its approval in 2005 for a project which would include a dedicated chapel, land acquisition and installation of a traffic signal at a new entrance to Jesuit High School off of Fair Oaks Boulevard.

For more information about the chapel, please visit http://www.jesuithighschool.org/jeffrey-80-and-elizabeth-phelan-chapel-north-american-martyrs.





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