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New chapel for Marymount University Ballston campus

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Students, professors, staff, chaplains and friends of Marymount University in Arlington gathered in the new Ballston Center’s academic building Sept. 13 for the blessing of the chapel and altar dedication.


Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge dedicated the altar prior to the first Mass celebrated in the chapel located on the second floor of the new academic building. Bishop Burbidge used sacred oil to anoint the wooden altar carved with an intricate grapevine design. Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary Sister Jackie Murphy and Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Sister Patricia Helene Earl dressed the altar with linen cloths.


According to Sister Jackie Murphy, a member of the religious order that founded Marymount, the new chapel shows that the university is dedicated to extending its Catholic identity through every part of the Marymount community. 


In 1992, Marymount bought the building affectionately known as the “Blue Goose,” which was demolished in 2015 to make way for the two new buildings some are calling the “Regal Eagle.”


The building that houses the chapel includes classrooms, an auditorium, cafeteria, art gallery, library and a Starbucks. The other new building on the new Ballston campus, called the Rixey, will be used for student residences and retail space.


The chapel is “necessary,” said Katherine Martin, a Marymount senior majoring in mathematics and philosophy. “With all the stress of going to class, sometimes you need to come in here to take a moment to put things in order.”


A Mass and confession schedule for the new chapel has not been finalized, but Father Thomas M. Yehl, campus ministry chaplain, said he hopes to be able to offer Mass at least once a week. 


The chapel’s modern feel fits well with the building and will soon have new chairs and kneelers along with religious art, such as statues
of St. Joseph and St. Thérèse of Lisieux.


“It will come in stages,” said Father Yehl. “There are going to be stained glass on both sides and then Stations of the Cross on the back.”


According to Father Yehl, the stained glass windows will be suspended from wire similar to an art gallery exhibit. The windows on the wall facing Fairfax Drive will depict the life of Christ while the interior wall will have stained glass windows of the four evangelists repurposed from other churches.


The altar dedication was followed by the Ballston Center’s opening reception, which drew close to 200 guests.


Marymount University President Matthew D. Shank thanked all in attendance and promised that every part of the university’s education will stem from the altar and the chapel.


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017