Venice | An idea, decades in the making, has come to fruition with the blessing and dedication of the Holy Family perpetual adoration chapel at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice.
Bishop Frank J. Dewane presided over the blessing and dedication Jan. 31. He noted the importance of having a permanent place to spend time with the Lord.
The original idea for a perpetual adoration chapel at Epiphany dates back to before the church was elevated to cathedral status in 1984. The idea was reintroduced to its present rector — Father Jack Costello — not long after a parish stewardship committee was formed. At that time, there were more than 70 people committed to adoration each weekday from noon to 7 p.m. The committee and Father Costello agreed there was a need to provide a place where cathedral adorers could worship continuously and without any interruptions.
With the rector’s guidance, Jenny Holaday and Joe Vuono moved forward with determining the location and the details while Chris Coviello helped with the fundraising. Vuono engaged architect Timothy A. Del Vescovo to come up with the design for the chapel itself. This commitment and hard work made the blessing and dedication possible.
“This has been on my mind for many years,” Vuono said. “It is so beautiful. It is the perfect setting for our Lord.”
The result is a chapel nestled between the parish and school office buildings. Approaching the chapel, parishioners will first hear and then see a perpetual waterfall flowing in front of a stained-glass window of a golden cross and a quote inscribed on the outside wall by St. Paul the VI: “Perpetual Adoration extends its influence far beyond the individual adorers, touching their homes and families and reaching out to the parish communities and beyond.”
The waterfall serves both symbolic and practical purposes. It represents the need for the perpetual presence of Christ in one’s life, and it helps keep the exterior noise of the school and parish out of the sacred space.
Upon entering the chapel, parishioners will see stained-glass to the immediate right, which were previously windows to a now non-existent convent. Further inside on the left is a large statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary dressed in elegant blue and oriented in the direction of the tabernacle. Along the north wall is a crucifix and then on either side of the tabernacle is stained-glass with bowing angels. The silver and gold tabernacle is in a recessed area on a white stone wall that has a white curtain and wood framing. The chapel has space for about 25 people.
Some additional work needs to be completed before the 24-hour perpetual adoration can begin with 230 adorers signed-up, Holaday explained. Several parish outreach groups have scheduled times for adoration. In the meantime, the chapel will be open during regular office hours of 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Bishop Dewane said an adoration chapel is a fitting place to spend time with the Lord in prayer and that adorers should heed his call to develop a loving relationship with God.
The blessing and dedication took place following a Mass celebrated by Bishop Dewane for the students of Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School. The Bishop encouraged teachers to take time to bring classes to the chapel to help explain its purpose and to take time with the Lord.
The chapel owes its name to a relief of the Holy Family in front of the school, which seemed an excellent name for our new chapel, Holaday explained.
“Thirty plus years later, the chapel is built, and the real work begins — on our knees, praying unceasingly for God’s blessings, for ourselves, our families, our neighbors, and the world,” Holaday said.