Our beloved foundress, St. Katharine Drexel, and the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament had a dream more than 80 years ago to establish an educational institution in New Orleans dedicated to serving African American students.
Xavier University of Louisiana was born, and while the academic successes of its students, faculty and alumni have been many, it is important to note that Katharine Drexel sincerely hoped that the establishment of the University would also help lead students closer to God through the Holy Eucharist.
At this very critical period in Xavier's history, it gives me great pride and joy to publically share with you our plans to construct the St. Katharine Drexel Chapel. This chapel, which will occupy a prominent location at the center of the campus, will be the first free-standing house of worship ever constructed at Xavier.
The chapel will, without question, send a powerful message of hope, inspiration, and Catholic values to all, especially our current and future students who now more than ever need the message of Jesus Christ in their lives.
Having survived the greatest natural catastrophe in American history, I am convinced that St. Katharine Drexel continues to guide and protect Xavier. Please join with me as together we build what will be a special place of reverence to her legacy.
Dr. Norman C. Francis '52
St. Katharine Drexel
|The chapel is contemporary in design, yet the sanctuary's octagonal plan is rooted in traditional religious structures. Raised four feet above the grade, the building is reached by an 80-foot long sloping processional approach. This path is aligned with the original campus quadrangle and the site from which Pope John Paul II spoke in 1987.
With a limestone base crowned by a copper roof that will change over time into a beautiful green color, the 11,000-square foot building connects to the university's tradition of building materials and color. The main sanctuary is a 65-foot tall volume with seating for up to 430 worshippers. A ring of skylights will allow natural light to be diffused through a screen and illuminate the sanctuary.
A smaller day chapel will be used for daily Mass and for individual reflection. The two worship spaces will be served by common liturgical areas including a narthex, work and vesting sacristies, and a reconciliation room.
The new chapel will be open, inviting, and easily accessible throughout the day and evening every day of the week. Parishioners from the surrounding neighborhood, who continue to rebuild their lives following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, will be welcome for daily and Sunday Mass.
Your gift, combined with the generous contributions of countless donors also interested in fulfilling the mission of Katharine Drexel, will ensure that Xavier continues to be a beacon of hope.
Regardless of the size of your gift, your personal support of the St. Katharine Drexel Chapel is critical and appreciated.