“Going to the chapel and we’re gonna get married…” The song by the Dixie Cups echoed in the hallway outside the chapel at Notre Dame High School on May 28, 2005. Inside Mary Jo Deuscher (class of ‘69) was being united in marriage to Mike Miller.
“Notre Dame had been a big part of my life, so it seemed only appropriate that I move on to this new chapter by celebrating this sacrament there,” Mary Jo recalls. She had been teaching there since 1974.
The beautiful chapel was built in 1956. Students have gathered there for silent reflection. Sports teams have gathered there for team Masses and send-offs. Faculty members have experienced solace and peace in its pews. It proved to be a vital part of the religion program at the high school for many years.
However, the use took its toll, and the chapel got a little run-down as the years passed. In 2002, friends and families of Notre Dame came through with a “chapel campaign.”
With Judy Schroeder at the helm, renovation began. The ceiling was changed to a vaulted ceiling, and the gray cinder-block walls were painted. New lights were installed. The altar and the pews were refurbished as well. Cushions were even made for the wooden pews. The chapel was beautiful once again.
Today students still use the chapel often. Classes gather to pray the rosary, reflect on the Stations of the Cross or have prayer services. Seniors in Nita Carlson’s religion class are responsible for their own prayer service once a month. With a partner, students decide on a theme, choose songs, select readings and write prayers. Tyler Waggener says, “It’s a reverent place where we show respect for God and pray.”
Rachel Hackenmiller agrees. “It’s a nice change of environment where our prayers seem more valuable.”
The chapel will continue to play an important role in Catholic education at Notre Dame. Paulina Coursey sums it up by saying, “The chapel completes the religious atmosphere at school!”