|Fr Eamonn Shelly, LC anoints the walls of the chapel.|
November 28, 2007. This fall, Pinecrest Academy’s (www.pinecrestacademy.org) new
chapel received its finishing touch: the presence of Christ in
the Eucharist, brought from heaven to earth on September 15,
the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. The event was
covered by the Georgia Bulletin (www.georgiabulletin.org), the diocesan newspaper
of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. The article, which appeared in
the November 22nd issue, is reprinted below with permission.
father of several Pinecrest pupils also produced a short video
of the event. To watch the video, click here.
Georgia Bulletin - Georgia
School Chapel Dedicated At
SUZANNE HAUGH, Special To The Bulletin
Published: November 22,
CUMMING—As beautiful as Pinecrest Academy’s new chapel is, not until
the Blessed Sacrament resided in the tabernacle was life breathed
into the structure.
That’s what moved many like Rick Swygman, Pinecrest’s
executive director, during the dedication Mass of the Our Lady
of Guadalupe Chapel held Sept. 15.
|Processing in for the chapel dedication.|
“It brought to life for
me the power of the Eucharist, the power of Christ’s
presence,” Swygman said.
Among the striking details of the chapel are
a Stuflesser crucifix and altar of Carrara marble, both from
Italy, and a Holy Spirit window inspired by the luminous
masterpiece in St. Peter’s Basilica.
The chapel on the Legionaries of
Christ school campus, an independent Catholic school which serves students
in pre-K3 through high school, is dedicated in loving memory
to Matthew Gerard Tollett, the late son of Douglas and
Over 300 guests were present for the dedication of
the chapel as Archbishop-emeritus John F. Donoghue celebrated the Mass.
Concelebrants included Msgr. Steven Churchwell of Christ Redeemer Church in
Dawsonville, Marist Father Richmond J. Egan, Father Jose-Duvan Gonzalez of
the Office of Hispanic Ministry, Father Joseph Peek of Mary
Our Queen Church in Norcross and Msgr. Luis Zarama, vicar
Those attending entered a darkened building, passing through wooden doors
and beside an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness
of the Americas and a special patroness of Mexico, where
the Legionary order began.
Thirty-three stained glass windows depict aspects of
the four main areas—spiritual, academic, human and apostolic—the school aims
to develop in its students.
Legionary Father Todd Belardi, director of
the boys school, and Legionary Father Eamonn Shelly, school chaplain,
anointed the chapel walls after which Archbishop Donoghue anointed the
altar with chrism. Many, including Tom Hoover, Pinecrest’s business manager
and the school’s liaison with those working on the project,
remembered these moments well. Hoover and the school’s sacristan Cindy
Cassandra, mother of 11 children, wiped off the oil after
the archbishop consecrated the altar.
“This was a touching moment,” Hoover
said. “Cindy’s movements and demeanor reminded me of the scene
in the ‘Passion of the Christ’ where Our Lady wipes
up Christ’s blood after his scourging. It occurred to me
that Christ’s blood would soon be made present on this
Immediately afterward, the altar was dressed with linens, candles
and flowers. A triumphant trumpet blast sounded and Legionary Father
| Processing out after the dedication.|
Scott Reilly, president of the board, placed the Blessed Sacrament
in the tabernacle for the first time.
Archbishop Donoghue noted in
his homily the need humans have for “special places”—to eat,
sleep, play or pray.
“Where we do what we do remains
the most constant feature of ordinary life—and our lives are
reinforced and stabilized by having purposeful places,” he said.
was one such “purposeful place,” he added,
“ … a holy
space in the midst of our lives.”
There is a “pull
we feel inside, when confronted by the ups and downs
of human life, to bring our thoughts and feelings to
a place that is not ordinary, but rather, extraordinary—spiritual, not
worldly—and even miraculous—a place where prayer, our prayer, can be
heard, and answered,” Archbishop Donoghue said.
The Father, Son and Holy
Spirit—the Trinity—resides in this place, he said, and “They wait
for us to bring our gifts—our joys, sorrows, worries, failures
and triumphs, and everything that comes to us because we
are alive, because They have made us live.”
Be thankful for
this new “jewel in the crown of Pinecrest Academy, a
school of Catholic excellence” the archbishop told those gathered, but
most of all appreciate God, who shares “His love through
Jesus Christ, our only Lord—who is with us, and within
us, in this holy place … now and forever.”
a lector during the Mass, Elizabeth Kelley was 3 when
she began attending Pinecrest and now is a freshman at
Wake Forest University. The alumna and last year’s valedictorian recalled
how all the students signed their names on the underside
of the rafters.
“This chapel was very unifying for our student
body,” she wrote by e-mail after the dedication. “I think
it is important for our school to have a chapel
because Christ is the reason for everything we do. We
need a place to come to Him and thank Him,
ask for help or even just to say hello. If
|Our Lady of Guadalupe Pinecrest Chapel|
we are taught to make Christ the center of our
lives and of even the most minute actions, it makes
sense that He would have a physical presence on campus
She remains impressed by the generosity of the chapel’s
“The new chapel is absolutely beautiful and everything is
of the highest quality. It is apparent that the benefactor
believes in the mission of Pinecrest and he knows that
God deserves the absolute best for His house. I love
seeing Pinecrest grow.”
The project architect was Lyman, Davidson, Dooley, Inc.
The builder was Cannon/Estapa General Contractors, Inc. The school worked
closely with the American Resurgens Management Corp., where Tollett is
president. The director of construction for the Legionaries of Christ
was Darryl Podunavac, who approved much of the design.
school could use another building to accommodate its expanding enrollment,
now at 835 students, the chapel was “not just a
luxury. … It’s a vital part of our campus,” the
school’s executive director said.
Like a number of those in attendance,
Swygman, a convert to Catholicism, had never experienced a dedication
like this. “It was one of the most beautiful things
I’ve ever seen.”
Part of Hoover’s role in the process was
to recommend furnishings for the chapel, sharing his finds and
decisions with his wife, Jill, and their four children. He
called the chapel “beautiful, perfect.”
“But something was missing. Someone was
missing. When Christ entered the tabernacle, it was complete. It
was finished. It was a home for God,” Hoover said.
chapel is not an alternative to area parishes, Swygman said.
“We’re a private school. Anyone is welcome, but it’s just
a school thing.”
And you will not be alone if you
come to celebrate the Eucharist.
“Now every morning we’re pretty much
full with about 250 people for Mass at 7:10.”