Over the past 30 years, St. Benedict's Chapel in Chesapeake, Virginia has grown from a small group of traditional minded Catholics attending Mass in rented rooms, to over 170 families present on March 5, 2011 to dedicate our brand-new church. This might be the only building erected in the past 30 years from the ground-up specifically to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass.
The building project has taken 5 years of planning, construction, fund raising, and many delays, but it is an incredible structure with so many beautiful details that show how much love for God and our Catholic Faith are held by this community.
The altars, lectern, communion rail, and Stations of the Cross are antiques that were collected by Father Willis, our former chaplain, who began the project in 2006. The East Rose window depicts the Agnus Dei and was chosen from a vestment that Father Willis wore. The West Rose window above the choir loft is an accurate representation of the St. Benedict's medal. Other architectural details include a Rood Screen Crucifixion depiction attached high above the main altar on the Rood Beam which both came from England and alternating stained glass windows of Seraphim and Cherub created by the Joseph Byers Studios in Philadelphia.
The dedication service was presided over by Bishop DiLorenzo and Mass was celebrated by our chaplain Father Nichols, FSSP, North American District Superior Father Flood, FSSP, and our assistant chaplain Father Byrne, FSSP. It was a beautiful service with angelic music sung by St. Benedict's choir and assisted by 18 altar boys. Many clergy were present as well as some of our parish's seminarians. A reception was attended by 200 parishioners afterwards to give thanks to all those who put in many hours of hard work in the building of the new church. A most special thanks must go to Father Damian Abbaticchio, OSB + who served as a priest for 60 years and as our much-loved chaplain for 13 years.
A link to the chapel's website shows many pictures of the building construction. Seminarian Philip Johnson has written about the dedication at his blog In Caritate Non Ficta. A Priest's Life has several posts about the dedication, including a line of altar boys that contains my son, Will, who fainted during the litany of the Saints at the beginning of Mass.
May God be loved, worshipped and glorified, may the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, and all the Saints watch over us, and may our love for Our Lord and each other help bring many souls to God.