Aquinas House is rededicated

by Jay Krehbiel | 11/23/98 6:00am

Aquinas House celebrated the rededication of the Saint Clement Chapel with events on Saturday and Sunday.

The chapel was closed over Summer term for renovations which modernized and altered the interior of the chapel.

The process began a year ago, when Aquinas House received a large donation in honor of prominent Dartmouth community member Paul Paganucci '53 and his wife Marilyn, from a donor who wished to remain anonymous. The donor also pointed AQ to two other people who would be willing to give.

With that base, AQ then began a year-long capital campaign to raise the remaining amount, Aquinas House Chaplain and Director Father John McHugh said.

A planning committee of students, alumni and AQ staff decided there should be three main goals of the renovations: to refurbish the interior of the chapel, worn after 36 years of use, to update the chapel so as to meet the guidelines established by the Second Vatican Council and to change the chapel's design to have a more inclusive and unifying theme.

The chapel was originally built in 1962, and in 1963 the Second Vatican Council altered the rules for building churches, making AQ's relatively new chapel outdated one year after being built, according to McHugh, and since that time, AQ has wanted to update the facility.

Also, because the chapel was built in 1962, there is a dominance of male images, McHugh said. The committee wanted to add more female representation to the decor.

To help with these changes, four of the six new stained glass window depict the women saints Elizabeth Ann Seton, Kateri Tekawitha, Katherine Drexel and Teresa de Lisieux. In addition, a tapestry of Our Lady of Guadalupe hangs on the south wall of the chapel.

A second new tapestry of remembrance is hanging behind the newly placed book of remembrance, commemorating the donors to the renovation project as well as deceased Catholic alumni and alumnae of the College.

Another major change is the addition of a new arched window in the west wall behind the alter containing the College motto "Vox Clamantis in Deserto" as well as pictures of the Lone Pine, an open book and the Dartmouth College shield.

The centerpiece of the renovations is the new alter on a round base, without the traditional alter rails. The removal of the alter rails suggests that fewer barriers should exist between the priest and the community and the round base represents the continuity and unity in the community, McHugh said.

The new alter is made of marble and granite, chosen for the reference to the "granite state." In addition new pews were constructed and fashioned in a circular pattern around the alter, guaranteeing a good view for the entire congregation.

"What we emphasize is unity in the community," AQ President Mark Kutolowski '99 said. To this end, the new pulpit is raised, to incorporate the readings better into the service.

To celebrate the renovations, AQ held a concert on Saturday which featured the Handel Society's Concertato Singers. A dinner at the Hanover Inn Saturday night in honor of the donors followed the concert.

The culmination of the weekend was the Sunday mass, featuring Catholic leaders from throughout New England. Afterward, a luncheon was hosted in the AQ basement.

The renovations to the chapel add to last year's renovations to the TV room and study room. AQ's renovations over the past two years make it a practically new building, Kutolowski said.

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