Because it closes in on a sale of its North East campus, Mercyhurst College is inviting neighborhood members to collect Thursday to “categorical prayerful gratitude for and pay a ultimate go to to” the campus’s historic and iconic chapel.
As a result of the chapel will not be used for Roman Catholic prayer and worship, Mercyhurst is within the strategy of eradicating altars, the ambo (pulpit), statues, pews and different non secular photos, together with among the stained glass home windows, in line with a press release from Mercyhurst Vice President for Mission Gregory Baker.
“This summer time a spiritual items vendor will rigorously take away this stuff to be used within the development of latest chapels,” Baker mentioned in a press release. “This work won’t impression the outside of the constructing, which is a crucial a part of North East’s historic profile.”
Mercyhurst is following pointers from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie, within the removing of the artifacts, in line with Baker.
Baker mentioned in his assertion that Thursday’s excursions and prayer service are an “alternative to acknowledge the longer historical past of the campus as the positioning of St. Mary’s Seminary for the Redemptorist Order.”
The Redemptorists offered the campus to Mercyhurst in 1991 after the North East neighborhood, by the North East Chamber of Commerce, raised $500,000 to offset renovation prices.
Hope for preservation of chapel’s stained glass
One lifelong North East resident, Chris Gagliano, desires Mercyhurst and the Diocese to go away the stained glass home windows intact. Eradicating them, she mentioned, would take away from the chapel’s magnificence and historical past.
“That is in all probability probably the most historic constructing in North East,” mentioned Gagliano, 71, who took to Fb Wednesday to ask for the neighborhood’s assist. “I am in my seventies and I sang within the choir loft there in highschool when the seminarians have been out of city. …I’ve grown up with that chapel.”
Gagliano mentioned she understands why inside non secular relics can be eliminated because the campus will tackle a secular use, she mentioned. She’s hopeful, although, that the home windows, which she mentioned are a part of the chapel’s “gorgeous structure,” can stay.
“There are different church buildings which have been allowed to maintain these stained glass home windows, though the inside has been gutted,” she mentioned. “The Church Brew Works in Pittsburgh is probably the most notable instance.”
Baker, in a follow-up assertion, mentioned the stained glass home windows are designed to be “very spectacular from the within” of the chapel.
“With storm home windows already masking the stained glass from the skin, eradicating the facet home windows will make minimal distinction from the skin trying in,” he mentioned. “Plus, the big round window within the choir loft and beneath the steeple — which faces downtown — will stay in place.”
Based on information, the Buffalo, New York, agency Lansing and Beierl was commissioned in 1901 to assemble the Gothic Revival-style limestone chapel and its copper spire.
In 1977, a fireplace at St. Mary’s Seminary almost destroyed the construction.
See inside one final time
Whereas Gagliano is hopeful that the home windows could be spared, she’s additionally encouraging residents to tour the buildings Thursday.
Many of the buildings on the campus might be open for small teams to tour Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. A prayer service might be held contained in the St. Mary’s Chapel at 11 a.m. There might be restricted seating for the service, masks should be worn by anybody who has not acquired the COVID-19 vaccine and social distancing should be noticed.
Mercyhurst has supplied lessons on the historic campus within the coronary heart of North East for 25 years. In 2019, it introduced it will consolidate the two-year school’s choices at its foremost campus in Erie and promote the property. Final spring, it superior its timeline for consolidation, shifting all however its nursing, biology, allied well being and police academy applications from the North East campus for the present educational 12 months.
Final month, the Erie Occasions-Information reported that Blue Wave Investments of Baltimore was in talks with Mercyhurst to purchase the 84-acre property, which straddles the North East borough and township line. Blue Wave Investments is the dad or mum firm of S.P.I.R.E. Institute, a sports activities coaching and schooling mega-facility in Geneva, Ohio.
Should you go on Thursday: