U.S. college builds new chapel with cornerstone blessed by Pope Benedict XVI

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21/05/2023
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Tucked among the hills of the small town of Front Royal, Virginia is the private, Catholic university Christendom College. There, a brand-new chapel was recently dedicated.

The goal of Christ the King Chapel is to instill a deeper appreciation of Catholicism and allow visitors to experience the richness and beauty of the faith. 

DR. TIMOTHY O'DONNELL
President, Christendom College

As Dostoevsky once said, 'the world will be saved by beauty.'
When truth and beauty intersect, as they always do, when we're dealing with the truth and what's beautiful, it's really really powerful.

The Gothic-style Chapel features influence from around the world—Italian marble, inspiration from French and Irish cathedrals and artwork restored from churches throughout the United States. 

The project commissioned international artists and even includes a hand-made statue of the Pietà from Spain. 

Christ the King Chapel also represents Christendom College's relationship with the Vatican, particularly its closeness to Pope Benedict XVI. Years ago, the College even flew the cornerstone of the chapel to Rome so it could be blessed by the late Pope. 

DR. TIMOTHY O'DONNELL
President, Christendom College

I'll never forget on the way back, we were checking into United and the Italians working for United they were so sweet because they said 'well what is this?' We said 'It's a cornerstone that was just blessed by the Pope!' And they said 'oh, you're kidding! No charge! No charge!' And they just put it in a suitcase and shipped the thing right through.”

Once it made it to the United States, a part of the cornerstone was shaved off and fashioned into four crosses for each corner of the chapel. Now, Pope Benedict XVI will always be a part of the College. His presence may even help extend the impact of the Chapel beyond the local community.

DR. TIMOTHY O'DONNELL
President, Christendom College

We've already had a number of non-Catholics and local town officials come and visit. And they're overwhelmed by what they see and so it becomes a great catechetical opportunity to talk about the faith.

Dr. O'Donnell hopes the new Christ the King Chapel will be a modern example of the intersection of beauty and truth for people around the world. 

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