Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel is a $23 million project aimed at providing Thomas Aquinas College with a permanent place of worship to accommodate its students and faculty in Santa Paula, California. Designed by architect Duncan Stroik, the chapel represents a step away from contemporary architectural trends, and instead embraces the best of classical and Early Californian construction. Influenced by Early Christian, Romanesque, Italian Renaissance, and Spanish architecture, the chapel contains graceful marble columns, classic arches, a three-tiered bell tower, and uses the traditional cruciform shape. In order to remain true to its location in the hills of Santa Paula, the chapel is also modeled after the California missions built by Father Junipero Serra. Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel is a project that is 3 ½ years in the making.
After traveling to Rome to be blessed by the Pope, the 765-pound cornerstone was laid in place on October 27. The ceremony was presided over by Thomas Aquinas College chaplain Rev. Cornelius M. Buckley, S.J. Participating in the ceremony were President Thomas E. Dillon, Chairman of the Board of Governors Maria O. Grant, and other members of the board. Benefactors of the college and many of its 350 students attended the ceremony, which featured the inaugural ringing of the bells on the chapel’s 135-foot-high bell tower.
“This is no ordinary stone,” says President Dillon. “It is the cornerstone of our new chapel—the crown jewel of our campus, and its installation is a cause for celebration for the many people who are assisting in making the chapel a reality for Thomas Aquinas College.”
The cornerstone measures two-feet high, three-feet wide, and eight-inches thick, holds a metal tube to be covered with a bronze rendering of the college’s crest, and will contain scrolls that list the names of the chapel’s benefactors, students, faculty, alumni, governors, and other friends of the college.
Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel will be officially dedicated in March 2009. To view design drawings, current photos, and a video “virtual tour,” please visit the college’s web site, www.thomasaquinas.edu.