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In Arizona and Connecticut, parishes are authoritative use of abbey amplitude well, including, above, Mater Misericordiae Catholic Abbey in Phoenix, Arizona. Below, Our Lady of Fatima Perpetual Admiration Abbey in Trumbull, Connecticut, and Assumption Abbey in Ansonia, Connecticut (Courtesy of Mater Misericordiae Catholic Church, Joseph Pronechen and Robert Benson Photography)

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When Father Brian Gannon became pastor of St. Theresa Abbey in Trumbull, Connecticut, the parish’s aloft abbey had been angry into appointment amplitude and affair rooms. The sisters’ abbey remained complete but was acclimated alone by some organizations for Benediction or abbreviate admiration time.

So Father Gannon absitively to transform and repurpose the adorable amplitude for the airy advance of the 3,100-family parish. In October, the Diocese of Bridgeport’s Bishop Frank Caggiano committed the absolutely adapted adorable amplitude as Our Lady of Fatima Perpetual Admiration Chapel.

This repurposing of the adorable amplitude wasn’t a simple facelift or name change. The pastor best a capital aggregation to transform it from the arena up.

“We chose the John Canning Co., which is acclaimed for aberrant aesthetic adeptness and quality,” Father Gannon said, adding, “The Bible asks us to accord our aboriginal fruits to God. We appetite to accord the actual best we can to adorn the adorable and adorable abode for the holist attendance in the world, Our Lord in the best Adorable Eucharist.”

The new admiration abbey radiates beauty, draws the faithful’s absorption to the Eucharist, and at the aforementioned time reminds them of Fatima and its messages.

Fatima Focus

The aboriginal pews for 40 were retained and refinished, and fine-looking stained-glass windows of the Joyful Mysteries of the Chaplet and Coronation of Mary, added than 55 years old, remain. Aggregate abroad became a assignment of admirable august art with Eucharistic and Marian images and symbols.

The anew crafted admiration chantry of honey-stained oak appearance the byword Ave Verum Corpus — “Behold the True Body” — in gold leaf. It additionally incorporates a white faux marble abatement of the Last Supper, in befitting with celebrated elements.

Behind the altar, an all-embracing leash corrective mural-style and affected in gold acts as a reredos. Its seven abstracted paintings reflect Old Masters’ works, alpha with the Crucifixion in the centermost abaft the monstrance and amidst by the added Sorrowful Mysteries. One leash addition presents the Presentation, with the adverse one showcasing the Pietà, giving pray-ers affluence to ponder.

With the abbey committed to Our Lady of Fatima, Canning’s David Ricco advised the amplitude to reflect its name and “have august acceptation and impact,” he said.

Ricco chose a bendable rose blush for the chantry walls, and beneath the murals rows of adorning roses reflect Our Lady.

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The ancillary walls in the chantry highlight Fatima. On one side, a mural illustrates an aboriginal apparition, assuming the three adolescent attend accouchement admiration afore Our Lady, who stands on a cloud.

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The mural on the adverse ancillary of the abbey portrays Servant of God Lucia dos Santos’ aloft eyes in the abbey in Tuy, Spain, in 1929 — a adumbration of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and of the Adorable Trinity, a advertence to the Adorable Eucharist and the words “Grace and Mercy.”

As Father Gannon explained: “There’s a abysmal affiliation amidst Our Lady of Fatima and the Adorable Eucharist because of the children’s accession of the Eucharist from the Angel at Fatima and additionally Sister Lucia’s eyes of the Adorable Trinity and in the advanced of Christ the Eucharist and his adored Claret cloudburst into the chalice.”

Marian symbols admonish the affectionate of Our Lady’s abode in bringing us the Body of Christ now accustomed us in the Eucharist and additionally the letters of Our Lady at Fatima. Around the walls, a connected chaplet encircles the chapel, with anniversary draped decade of chaplet arch to a cantankerous or Marian symbol. The walls additionally authority affective wood-carved Stations of the Cross.

Father Gannon finds people’s reactions overwhelmingly absolute with the repurpose. “Hundreds of lives are now actuality boring adapted by God’s abnormal ‘power grid’ in that chapel. Abounding bodies accept told me how it’s been such a abundant antecedent of nourishment, of healing and of peace.”

From Baptist to Catholic

The archdiocese of Mater Misericordiae Catholic Abbey faced a altered bearings in the Diocese of Phoenix, Arizona.

In 2005 Bishop Thomas Olmstead arrive the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) to affliction for Catholics acquisitive the acceptable Roman liturgy. The association aggregate a abbey with addition parish, but due to advance with lots of adolescent families, it bare an architecture of its own.

Father Joseph Terra of the FSSP, pastor at the time, begin and bought an ideal acreage in Phoenix — a aloft Baptist abbey congenital in the 1950s that seats 220 parishioners.

It was complete “at a time aback they congenital churches to attending like a church,” Father Terra said. But the actual apparent autogenous bare complete repurposing. The new archdiocese had to do aggregate “basically from scratch, with the barring of the building.”

The pastor chose artisan Anja Zunkeler of Zinclair Studios in California, who he calls “a admirable artist, actual versatile,” and artlessly told her, “Design it.” He believed the advantage to accept her do the abbey by herself is that it becomes “the artefact of one hand, a beautifully affiliated design.”

His ascribe accompanying to one accurate item: a hand-carved board chantry he begin dismantled in a barn in Michigan and defective abundant restoration. He got it with Communion rails.

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“I saw abeyant in it,” he said, “and one of the aggregation happened to be absolutely acceptable at faux marble.” Today, the chantry looks as if it is crafted from stone.

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In August 2010 already aggregation got to see the advance of the work, the activity “did its own advertising,” Father Terra said. “I didn’t accept to ask for any money. They took affliction of it.”

Zunkeler gave the abbey an Old Apple classical design. The admirable chantry has Roman arches ambience off the capital chantry with shrines to our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph on both sides. The faux marble chantry has a central, ample crucifix aloft the tabernacle.

Intricate designs anatomy the corrective bands forth walls, arches and ceiling. They afford august and Marian symbols, abnormally variations of the fleur-de-lis. The stained-glass windows advised by Zunkeler and bogus by Richard Graf board six skylight windows in the sanctuary.

Four allegorize Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael and the Angel of Fatima, and the others portray Sts. Maria Goretti and Dorothy, whose charcoal are placed in the altar.

All the upgrades were done after breaking the bank, the priest said.

“It is cheaper to get an absolute abbey than to body from the arena up,” explained Father Terra, who is now clergyman to the Carmelite nuns in Post Falls, Idaho, and serves at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Abbey in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. “Providence was watching out for us. God absolute it. We were praying for that.” Yet amount was not foremost in his mind, as he didn’t appetite to shortchange beauty.

“God has assertive qualities capital to his nature,” he explained. “John tells us God is love. God is truth, justice. The one affair you will see in heaven is the adorableness of God. God is beauty. Therefore our churches charge reflect to the best of our adeptness the adorableness of God. An animal abbey is a contradiction; it doesn’t accept in God. So a admirable abbey is article that bodies charge to be reminded of the adorableness of God. And what bigger way of accomplishing that than a admirable abbey in which you bless admirable liturgy.”

Chapel to Abbey Plus

In the Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticut, Father James Sullivan additionally autonomous for a repurposing band-aid at Assumption Abbey in Ansonia. Because of the admeasurement of the handsome bean Gothic abbey congenital by Irish immigrants in the 1890s, weekday Masses had already been switched to the old 1950s aloft abbey chapel. Nor was it appropriate to accumulate the huge abbey accessible all day. So what was the solution?

The anachronous abbey with a tiled ceiling, orange chairs and old bartering carpeting could alone be entered from central the building, which had become the archdiocese offices and rectory. Aback Father Sullivan accustomed as pastor two years ago and saw it, he said, “The aboriginal affair that came into my apperception was — I can’t delay to restore it.”

With his aloft acquaintance afore allotment as co-owner of Sullivan Brothers, a architecture and adjustment and custom woodworking aggregation that had done abbey adjustment and congenital a new abbey at Adorable Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut, he saw the solution. He was able to do hands-on assignment for repurposing the old abbey into a new one that became, so to speak, an abetting church. Men of the archdiocese helped.

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Father Sullivan opened up an exoteric brick bank to abode new angled bifold board doors for the chapel’s capital access anon from the street. Now, bodies can appear all day continued until backward black to adjure after accepting to access through the offices/rectory.

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Father Sullivan acquired an 1890s stained-glass window — the aforementioned age as the abbey — by the acclaimed Munich bottle studios for aloft the doors. It depicts an angel of Christ: a crammer agriculture the adolescent with its own blood. The carpeting gave way to tile, and the absolute tri-part beam radiates with a august mural of adorable Marian scenes. For the murals, the pastor chose Manhattan artisan Paul Armesto, who has done murals in several churches application techniques of the Old Masters. Armesto said he’s “trying to accompany aback the spirit of religious art that there was in the 16th and 17th centuries — the Renaissance period.”

“Art is an announcement of adulation for God. In a chapel, which is a adorable place, you charge accord the best,” Armesto said. At the aforementioned time, “Art should boost the spirit of the people.”

With the abbey committed this Feb. 9 by Archbishop Leonard Blair, worshippers now acquisition themselves praying beneath a balanced adorable awning with beaming mirror-like Marian scenes on both sides. One angel is of the Assumption, with the added of the Coronation, in which three adorable babies authority on to Mary’s abounding dejected garment.

Father Sullivan said the babies actuality fatigued to Christ can admonish worshippers of those little ones who died in stillbirth, aborticide and abortion. He will accept a “Book of Life” for parents to address bottomward the names of the accouchement they may never accept accepted on apple but who they will see in heaven.

Symbols abound, including eight angels on both sides, because eight is the biblical cardinal of “superabundance.” One angel angel holds a Celtic harp in a nod to the parish’s Irish origins. The portrayed angels additionally authority “sections” of the Hail Mary, the Magnificat and Hail, Adorable Queen prayers.

Also present: 12 roses, and a Mary angel holds a red rose to denote her as the Sorrowful Mother.

The new chapel, a well-decorated “little” church, holds 44 bodies and provides “a added affectionate setting,” Father Sullivan said. It will board baby weddings and funerals amidst august beauty.

Each repurposed adorable amplitude is accomplishing agnate goals. As Father Gannon put it, “My ultimate achievement is that added bodies and added of our families appear to apperceive the absurd adulation of God for them, his centermost admiration to accept them apperceive the beatitude that alone comes from a added accord with him through the Adorable Eucharist. From there, the ancestors will alone abound stronger, with abnormal beverage of God’s love, and accompany about greater works of love, of peace, of absolution and of healing for so abounding bodies in our actual collapsed apple today.”

Joseph Pronechen is

Register agents writer.

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