A space of their own
By Jessie Bazan, communication senior
Photographs by Aaron Ledesma, communication senior
With hundreds of 18- to 20-year-olds housed under one roof, residence halls are prime places to play. At Marquette, they're also prime places to pray.
There is an ecumenical chapel in every residence hall, and each has its own unique history. In 1995, then-Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland presided over the dedication of the Straz Tower chapel. Seminarians living in Straz held daily Mass in the chapel for years. Down Wisconsin Avenue, the Carpenter Tower chapel is decorated with images of saints from around the world. The Schroeder Hall chapel is currently the only chapel to house the Eucharist. This sophomore residence hall certainly has its share of stories.
Alumni of the 1980s may remember the popular Schroeder midnight Masses with former hall minister Rev. John Naus, S.J. Packed into the basement — their makeshift worship space at the time — students spent weekends together in prayer and then usually headed out for some (very) early-morning eats. The beloved Father Naus was known to go out for pizza with students after his weekend Masses.
The first-year students of McCormick Hall had their own Mass traditions as well.
"Before I moved in, McCormick actually had their Sunday night Masses in their cafeteria," recalls former McCormick hall minister Rev. Andy Thon, S.J. "Students would push chairs together in that old, grade-school style cafeteria, and Mass would be celebrated right there."
Father Thon, who lived in McCormick from 1990–2008, notes that there was a small chapel on the first floor during his time in the hall, but it was rarely used.
"When the Chapel of the Holy Family (in the Alumni Memorial Union) was built in 1990, we started having our 'McCormick Masses' there instead," he says.
McCormick Hall looks a little different these days. A summer 2013 renovation brought about a new chapel in the hall basement, housed where the old hall store used to be. Three large panels with Gothic-style art adorn one wall, while two large paintings hang on the other. The commissioned artwork was inspired by Jesuit North American martyrs. Hall minister Chelsea Casey, Grad '14, and a group of residence assistants organized a Mass in the chapel earlier this semester, which 35 students attended. She says students use the space often.
"It's really hard for students to find a space of their own to just sit with their thoughts and pray," says Casey. "This is a good time in students' lives to explore different types of prayer, so giving them that space in the residence halls is really important, especially for a religiously affiliated school."
Campus Ministry maintains a list of worship opportunities on campus and around the Milwaukee area.