By Kevin Parada, Staff Writer
A centerpiece of Verbum Dei High School, the iconic Chapel has gone through a recent interior seating and altar reconfiguration. The process will take a while to fully realize as it is being remodeled to be in full accord with Vatican II. The Chapel is a sacred place where students, parents and, teachers can peacefully interact with God and have no disturbances between 7:30 A.M. and 4:30 P.M.
The Chapel seating has been rearranged in a circle with the altar as the focal point. This is done because everyone is participating in the mass, the priest is not facing just one side, and a sense of welcome is in evidence with the circular arrangements of the seats.
Jason Guardado, a Verb senior, prays in the Chapel for his JEDIS and KAIROS meetings, and he noticed the changes one day.
“I walked in one day a noticed a different smell, different arrangement, and I felt more welcomed with how close everyone was,” said Guardado.
Frederico Gianelli, SJ, VDHS Adult Faith Formation Director, had a main focus when considering the changes. His desire was to make the students feel more comfortable as well as to have a better spiritual connection with God.
A huge risk of the collision of beliefs that paid off was the installation of a meditation and yoga space in the Chapel. Gianelli said that everyone is welcome, including those of other religions. Students can learn to expand their knowledge of religion as well as to relax in the sacred space.
“I have tried my best to reconnect the busy students back to God,” Gianelli said. “Their campus [is] where they can feel at home, have a stronger connection with God, and relax when they feel stressed out due to the amount of work that they receive to prepare them to college.”
The main focus was to improve the connection the students feel with God, and the rearrangement of the seating is a welcoming start, as that is what the faithful first encounter when they enter the Chapel.