By William Schmitt
NOTRE DAME — “Let us build a house where love can dwell,” sang the congregation in their opening hymn on Friday, July 19, as Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades began a Mass to bless the newest chapel on the University of Notre Dame campus — the Christ the Teacher Chapel in the building that serves as home to the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE).
The Rite of Blessing a Chapel and Dedication of an Altar emphasized the Lord’s presence, lifting minds and hearts with a joyful, generous use of chrism, incense and holy water.
“This chapel becomes a sacred place today, a place of worship and prayer, where the Lord indeed will dwell,” Bishop Rhoades said in his homily.
He added, “Here, the ACE community will be united with Christ and His sacrifice through the great sacrament of the Eucharist.”
The bishop affirmed the chapel’s dedication to Christ the Teacher. Many of its visitors will be engaged in the formation of educators and service to under-resourced Catholic elementary and secondary schools. The chapel is housed in the lower level of the historic wing of ACE’s home, renovated in 2011 to support ACE’s mission of sustaining, strengthening and transforming Catholic schools.
The dedication to Christ the Teacher is significant, said Bishop Rhoades, because the Eucharistic celebrations in the chapel will express the unity of divine truth and divine love — the combination of Christ’s teachings and actions.
“In our Catholic schools, too, there must be this profound conformity between what we teach and what we do, how we act,” he told the congregation.
About 50 representatives of the growing ACE community of faculty, staff and students filled the chapel to capacity. Several ACE-affiliated priests concelebrated with Bishop Rhoades. They included Holy Cross Father Timothy Scully and Holy Cross Father Sean McGraw, who co-founded the Alliance for Catholic Education in 1993.
In the coming weeks, ACE will wrap up its 20th summer with a busy schedule of courses forming tomorrow’s Catholic school teachers and leaders, along with conferences and professional development opportunities addressing major educational issues. To mark the 20th anniversary, ACE leaders will embark on a national bus tour celebrating the gift of Catholic schools and promoting the watchword, “Fighting for Our Children’s Future.”
Bishop Rhoades complimented the ACE community’s work on behalf of children around the country.
He noted the beauty of the chapel, which will be home to ACE’s weekly Masses throughout the school year. The Christ the Teacher Chapel incorporates opalescent stained glass, a crucifix whose design recalls the papal crozier first carried by Blessed Pope John Paul II, and other original designs by recognized artists. Its altar, which Bishop Rhoades covered with chrism as part of the dedication rite, contains a relic of Saint Andre Bessette, the first saint canonized from the Congregation of Holy Cross.
“May this chapel be the heart, the center, of this ACE building,” Bishop Rhoades said as he encouraged the mission that extends to Catholic schools around the country. From the chapel, he said, God’s “graces will abound and be poured forth upon the ACE community!”
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