Book Club Channel
The Chapels of Notre Dame: A Q&A with Vice President Dr. Affleck-Graves
And then of course we have the Basilica, which is very formal. We have a lot of wonderful formal Masses in there. These are very big Masses, with 800-1200 people, and a formal liturgical choir, and often we have incense. You see more of the traditional, formal Mass in that context and it just works beautifully. So there are different ways people have a liturgical experience in these chapels.
How are these chapels part of the school's spirituality?
As Fr. John (Jenkins) says in the Afterword of the book, it's important to study our religion and to believe in our religion, but you also have to practice your religion. The role of the chapels is to show how they are integrated into every aspect of your life: your residence life, your work life, your academic life, your social space, and of course, Sunday Mass. So throughout every aspect of your life, your religion is with you.
Does each residence hall have its own chapel, and how important is the notion of sacred space to your students?
With one exception, there is a chapel in each of the twenty-seven residence halls. And it's a very special place in each hall, both as a community gathering place to pray on a Sunday evening, but also as a place where one may go for a moment of reflection or a quiet moment of thanks, when something great has happened in your life. It's also a gathering place for when tragedy happens. It wouldn't be unusual if when something happened to a student—such as the death of a brother—to have a Mass that evening and for it to be overflowing.
Do students have leadership over the chapels in the residence halls, or is there a priest in charge?
It's a mix of both. We try to have a religious person—a priest—in residency in every hall, and many halls have three or four priests living with the students. So they take the liturgical leadership, but the music and the timing of the Mass will be taken by the students.
What is your favorite chapel on campus and why?
My favorite chapel is the Log Chapel. My three granddaughters were all baptized in that chapel, so it has a very special place in my heart. It's a small, very intimate chapel, wonderful for those family occasions.
What's the history of the Log Chapel?
The Log Chapel was actually built in the very early 1830s by a priest, Father Badin. He had about an 80-mile parish and he'd ride around on horseback. He built this log chapel as one of the places he resided. When the University was founded in 1842, it became the residence for Father Sorin and his Holy Cross brother companions.
It was the first building and chapel on the campus. It burnt down in 1856 and was rebuilt in the early 1900s.
Deborah Arca joined the Patheos team after more than ten years managing programs for the Program in Christian Spirituality at the San Francisco Theological Seminary. Deborah has also been a youth minister, a director of Christian Education and music/theatre programs for young people and has served as a music director for worship and special retreats.