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Fisher’s Catholic roots will shine through the new chapel

A closer look at the construction of the Hermance Family Chapel of St. Basil the Great, soon to be opened to the Fisher community in September 2017.

The inside of the chapel, with the entrance doors on the left to open into the gathering space of the chapel, the Vestry room, and to the right is the main part of the chapel where the altar will be

Diana Russo, Lifestyles Editor

The Hermance Family Chapel of Saint Basil the Great is expected to be completed this summer and is projected to open the first week of the Fall 2017 semester.

There will be three dedication ceremonies upon the opening of the Chapel. It is encouraged that all members of Fisher will attend each dedication.

The first dedication of the Chapel will take place when students return to Fisher at the start of the Fall 2017 semester. A second opening celebration will take place at the end of September.  Mannera discussed the first dedication, “our plan is to have Bishop Matano come to dedicate the altar. There’s a rite that the Church used for dedicating altars that dates back for centuries, and it’s a really beautiful rite.” Following the first two dedications, a celebration and blessing will take place during alumni weekend with crucial donors of the Chapel in attendance, Mrs. Hermance and her family.

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The gathering space at the entrance, or Narthex, of the chapel -a reception area for beginning or after Masses.

As people enter the Chapel they will be greeted by a copper statue of the Blessed Mother to symbolize the gateway to Christ. People will enter through Narthex, a transition place. Kevin Mannera, Congregation of Saint Basil (CSB) and Director of Campus Ministry said, “all of this is a transition space from the hectic days of our lives to a peaceful garden. And here this will be used for everything from donuts on Sundays to small receptions to where the bride and groom greet people to whatever we need a gathering space for.”

And of course, there will be a baptismal font near the entrance of the chapel. Mannera explains how this baptismal font will be bigger, with two levels to it. “It’ll be a higher level for when people to come in to dip their hands in and make the sign of the cross. We do that as a reminder of our baptism, every time we enter the church. And there’ll be a larger pool at the bottom for when adults are baptized.”

The creation of the Chapel was purposeful and extensively thought out. The design will have a modern, traditional feel with sections of the Fisher gray brick throughout. “We had a meeting with the artist who is carving the crucifix so that people could share their ideas for what the crucifix means to them, and he’s trying to take them all into account as he carves the crucifix,” said Mannera. “We have some talks at this time for the artist who is doing the stain glass windows. We’ve certainly talked about what the art symbolism is in the Church.”

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The main altar where the big mosaic crucifix cross will be

Mannera discussed the strategic creation of the glass windows that will flood the Chapel with light, “there’s also a couple other stain glass windows in the series that we will put out for special occasions. There’s one of the Nativity that we will put out at Christmas, and there’s one of the risen Christ that we will put out at Easter, and there’s one of the Blessed Mother that we will put out for the Marian feast days.”

The woman who is creating the stain glass windows is located in Rochester and is willing to let students with a corresponding major or interest in stain glass windows tour her work place. The purpose of this Chapel is to also encourage community and student involvement.

Students with any level of musical talent were also persuaded by Mannera to get involved. The Chapel will have a grand piano and a stellar sound system. Mannera discussed this further, “If they’re willing to play some at the glory of God, we’ll find a place for them. There’s everything available from solos to liturgical music. There’s a place for everybody. If somebody has a gift, and they don’t share it, everybody is disadvantaged.”

Behind the altar there will be a large cross that is named, Father Forgive Them. Mannera described the design of Father Forgive Them, “the inside of the cross will be a mosaic. At the center of the mosaic will be a crucifix.”

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A closer look at the altar being built, with the Fisher style brick

In order to include traditional aspects in the Chapel, several items will be obtained from the community. For example, Mannera said, “There’s a number of churches in Rochester that closed so we’re trying to find items from closed churches that we can use in the chapel. The tabernacle is coming from St. Salome’s Church. The Stations of the Cross is coming from St. Salome’s Church, which has closed.”

Manera also said, “the top of the altar and top of the ambo are coming from the altar that was at Most Precious Blood Church, so it will be cut for both of them. The symmetry again is the harmony between the ambo the altar of God’s Word and the altar of The Sacrament.”

There will be a circular driveway in the front of the Chapel for convenience factors for people with special needs or for those who want to be dropped off prior to a wedding. In the center, there will be a statue of St. Basil with landscaping everywhere. Mannera said, “The statute has meaning too. It will be facing away from the chapel, and he is holding a dove in his hand, and the dove of course represents the Holy Spirit. The idea is that from here, we will be carrying the Holy Spirit out to the campus, and from the campus out into the world.”

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The outside area of the chapel where the entrance will be, and where the circular driveway with landscaping will be.

Once the Chapel opens, Mass will be held every Sunday and hopefully every day, if priests are available. The times of the Masses has not yet been released. However, the Chapel will be open daily for the community and the Fisher community to enter, pray or worship.

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