Christ the King Chapel Renovations
August 03, 2018

STEUBENVILLE, OHIO—Christ the King Chapel, the central place of worship at Franciscan University of Steubenville since 1969, was closed for nearly a month this summer for much-needed interior renovations and refurbishing.

Pews were sanded down and stained, walls and ceiling were repainted in new hues, and new carpeting and tile in the sanctuary were installed.

“These upgrades couldn’t wait for the construction of a new chapel, which is still in our long-range plans,” said Father Nathan Malavolti, TOR, Franciscan University’s chief evangelization officer. “Guiding all our decisions, primacy of thought was given to focusing our attention where it should be, on the sanctuary.”

The new paint on the ceiling and walls accentuates the San Damiano Cross that overlooks the sanctuary and leads the eye to gaze upon the altar, said Father Malavolti.

Two immediately noticeable changes were to move the musicians’ space to the back of the chapel and to move the tabernacle from the side chapel to an altar of repose against the back wall in the center of the sanctuary.

Like the other renovations, moving the tabernacle now “draws one’s attention to the sanctuary, the sacred space,” said Father Shawn Roberson, TOR, chaplain. Likewise, the centrally located tabernacle prompts greater reverence after Mass, when it is a Franciscan University tradition to remain in quiet thanksgiving for a few minutes.

Joseph Rooney, a 2017 theology and philosophy graduate and current MBA student, said, “What struck me as I walked in the first time is that Christ is at the center of our lives here at Franciscan, and I saw that reality with the renovation. There is a beautiful simplicity and intimacy to the Chapel space that is conducive to prayer.”

Computer science professor Dr. David Dombrowski said, “There’s a sense of sanctity and of the sanctuary truly containing the Lord, the source and summit of our life on campus.”

A new tabernacle, 23 inches high, allows room for two lunas and the ciboria used for large Masses in Finnegan Fieldhouse. The former eucharistic chapel will be used for additional seating at Masses and is now a shrine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The spiritual hub of campus, during the school year Christ the King Chapel offers confessions five days a week, 21 Masses weekly, monthly Spanish and Latin

Extraordinary Form High Masses, bi-monthly Low Masses, and numerous holy hours for faith households and other campus groups.

“We are most grateful to our Physical Plant Services work crews who labored under a very tight deadline to complete this project,” added Father Malavolti.

The chapel renovations were approved by a representative of Most Rev. Jeffrey Monforton, the bishop of of Steubenville.

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