Catholic chapel rebuilds to "European style"

30 Nov 2000 | Cpl. Mike Rogers

The Catholic Chapel here has been under renovations for more than 10 months as it was restored to today's standards while keeping its historical value. More than 50 years of patchwork and repairs led to a complete renovation bringing the Catholic Chapel into the new millennium."The entire building was gutted from the roof the flooring," said Chief Petty Officer Franklin D. Field from East Hampton, N.Y., and the division officer for the Marine Corps Base Chaplains' Office here. "The chapel now has independent lighting that can be operated by remote anywhere in the chapel and an overall European-style look."The renovations included refurbishing all the furniture, replacing plumbing and electrical systems and adding new heating and air conditioning units. To keep the historical value of the chapel, light fixtures had internal components replaced and all the original antiquities were restored to a "like new" finish."Inside the Catholic chapel a new archway wall was also added to draw attention to and enhance the tabernacle," said Field.The church's Sunday services were held at the base theater while St. Francis Xavier was under construction. Some services were also held at the Staff Noncommissioned Officer Club here."The rededication and renovation of the chapel gives the Catholic community a chance to come together and celebrate being a Catholic," said Cmdr. Jerome V. Dillon, the Catholic coordinator here from South Sioux City, Neb.Some differences added during construction were the tile floors and brighter lighting in an effort to get the look of a European-style interior of the chapel. The climate controls within the chapel are also controlled independently and not with the bulk of base buildings."Most Catholic chapels found in the U.S. have carpeted floors and soft lighting," said Field. "This one is now bright and shiny like a Vatican-style church.With renovations officially completed, the church will be rededicated in a ceremony during Mass, Sunday at 11 a.m. Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien, Archbishop for the military services will be dedicating the chapel.