Mercyhurst’s Christ the King Chapel is in the midst of a five to six month facelift to repair minor damages caused by wear and tear.
The chapel is receiving several cosmetic fixes, including a fresh coat of paint, new overhead lighting, including focal lighting for its murals, and re-stained pews. According to Monsignor David Rubino, vice president of advancement the project is “totally funded by outside donations” and will cost $407,000.
There will be no structural or architectural changes according to the Rev. Jim Piszker, the university chaplain and part of the project committee, which is made up of eight to 10 members of administration, faculty, staff and Sisters of Mercy. The renovations will be completed in March, Piszker added.
While initial plans had the pews being repositioned to add more space between them, overseers of the project are unsure whether or not that will happen.
According to Rubino, who heads the funding and contracting of the restoration, the integrity of the floor is the main concern. Moving the pews would mean drilling new holes in the floor, which could potentially damage it. Rubino said they may try moving one or two pews before deciding to move them all.
The committee working on the restoration wants to ensure that the chapel keeps its original look, which is why minimal work is being done.
“It’s a simple, almost monastic type of chapel and the trick here is not to overdo it because then you wreck the integrity of the building,” Rubino said.
Piszker said questions were raised about why the restoration is taking place during the school year rather than the summer.
“People forget that we do a lot of weddings here and summer is a prime wedding time,” said Piszker. “We had to figure out a time period when nothing is scheduled and it just so happened we had a time frame from November through April.”
Sunday Masses are being held in the Taylor Little Theater and daily masses are held in the Prince of Peace Chapel for the remainder of the restoration.