Trinity Catholic School turns classroom into new chapel

Trinity Catholic School turns classroom into new chapel

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MASSENA — As Advent appeared on the calendar, Trinity Catholic School students had a place to spend some quiet time reflecting on the season.

The school recently dedicated a new chapel in what had formerly been a classroom.

“We made great use of it,” Principal Kathleen Behrens said.

Bishop Terry LaValley blessed and dedicated the chapel in honor of the Rev. Donald Manfred, former pastor of Sacred Heart and St. Lawrence churches, who served the Massena community for 18 years before moving to a new assignment this year.

Mrs. Behrens said the dedication was in honor of Rev. Manfred’s “faithful, devoted service to Trinity and Catholic education.”

A dedication Mass was also concelebrated by the Rev. Mark Reilly and the Rev. Tojo Chacko.

The chapel is a scaled-down version of what one would find in a Catholic church, from the altar setting to the pews. It sits across the hall from a classroom with students who will be making their first communion.

“This has always been a vision of mine. Even when I was a classroom teacher, I talked about it,” Mrs. Behrens said.

The school formed a committee of teachers and students — the Chapel Committee — to undertake the project.

“It started out with a committee of teachers and students. They had a vision of what they wanted it to be,” she said.

Then, once that was decided, they had to turn the former classroom into the chapel. Working in their favor was the fact that St. Michael’s Oratory in Parishville was getting rid of chapel furniture, which fit perfectly with the vision for Trinity’s chapel.

“Everything is from there,” Mrs. Behrens said.

One item that wasn’t purchased from St. Michael’s Oratory was the stained glass windows. Each tiny piece of the stained glass isn’t really glass. They were created by students using paper, and art teacher Mary Willmart put the pieces together to create the faux stained glass windows. From a distance, there’s no way to tell the difference between real and faux.

“She meticulously did it,” Mrs. Behrens said.

She said the chapel serves a couple of purposes, including giving the children, faculty and staff a peaceful place in the building to come and reflect and “have some down time with our Lord.”

It also helps the school teach traditions of the Catholic faith, like bowing your head or making the sign of the cross as a sign of respect when passing a Catholic church.

The chapel is available to students all day, Mrs. Behrens said.

“They just say to their teacher, ‘I think I need to go to the chapel and spend time with God,’” she said.

Source: Watertown Daily Times
Trinity Catholic School turns classroom into new chapel

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