The SJC Brooklyn community is playing a vital role in the campus’ renovations of its two chapels. As of early February, 208 donors gave 212 gifts to The Chapel Fund, raising more than $245,000.
The funds support renovations of two historic chapels — Lady Chapel in the McEntegart Library and the Kennedy Chapel in Burns Hall — with attention to accessibility and adaptability.
The College is replacing the curtain behind the altar in the Kennedy Chapel and the carpet. The new decor will feature SJC’s colors, blue and gold.
So far, a Board of Trustees member donated a piano. Other generous donors helped the College acquire new sculptures of Saint Joseph, Mary and Saint Ignatius. Fundraising efforts are ongoing.
The chapels still need chairs, which cost $500 each. The cost of the chair includes an engraved plate that donors can have personalized to honor or remember someone special. Organizers of the project hope to additionally acquire a statue of Saint Teresa of Avila; her feast date is the same day that the Sisters of St. Joseph were recognized as a congregation.
Kennedy Chapel in Burns Hall provides a quiet, reflective space for SJC community members throughout the year. This legendary Catholic chapel is where weekly, holy day and special Masses have been held for nearly a century. This space holds deep spiritual roots for more than three generations of alumni.
Originally a music room in the home of oil tycoon Charles Pratt, the Kennedy Chapel was opened and dedicated by Bishop Thomas Molloy in 1924. That year, Loria, the College’s literary magazine, published a poem about the new chapel
Bernadette M. Garvey ’26 wrote: “The chapel, ‘tis a holy place, The House of God, abode of grace.”
While the Kennedy Chapel is open to all, its seating plan prevents it from being truly accessible to those with physical disabilities. Replacing the original pews — which faithfully served thousands of St. Joseph’s College students, alumni and friends — with solid wood upholstered chairs will enable future generations to graciously accommodate all worshipers and to reconfigure seating for a variety of spiritual activities.
The Lady Chapel
The Lady Chapel on the fourth floor of the McEntegart Library was designed by the Rev. Armand Jacopin, an assistant professor of history. The chapel, serving the campus community since the library’s dedication on May 2, 1965, features abstract stained-glass windows and the 1970 XV Stations of the Cross by artist George Ciocher, conveying Catholic spirituality with a modern aesthetic. Through the years, the small chapel has been a quiet, interfaith refuge for anyone needing respite from daily life.
The Chapels Initiative will continue through the 2021-2022 academic year, and planned renovations will be completed during the summer of 2022. The College is seeking leadership gifts, cash donations of any amount, or items purchased for either chapel. Items available for purchase include engraving or inscription and may be made in honor or memory of someone special. All donors to the Chapels Initiative will become “Friends of the Chapels.”