January 29, 2016

Catholic Schools Week Supplement

A father’s love of Providence leads to school’s new chapel

Students and staff at Our Lady of Providence Jr./Sr. High School in Clarksville use their new chapel for first Friday adoration, as well as for morning liturgy and the sacrament of reconciliation. The new, permanent chapel is a 25-year dream come true for the school. (Submitted photo)

Students and staff at Our Lady of Providence Jr./Sr. High School in Clarksville use their new chapel for first Friday adoration, as well as for morning liturgy and the sacrament of reconciliation. The new, permanent chapel is a 25-year dream come true for the school. (Submitted photo)

By Christa Hoyland (Special to The Criterion)

With the completion of its new chapel, Providence Jr./Sr. High School in Clarksville fulfilled a nearly 25-year-old dream this fall: the construction of a permanent chapel for its students.

Since the early 1990s, Providence administrators have wanted to build a chapel, and now, thanks to the generosity of several Providence donors, that dream is a reality.

Construction of the chapel was coordinated by Koetter Construction and funded in part through a generous donation from Carolyn Kirchdorfer, a 1960 alumna of the school. Kirchdorfer and her family were eager to support the chapel construction in memory of her husband, the late Jim Kirchdorfer.

Carolyn said her husband loved Providence, and contributing to the building of a new chapel is a wonderful way to honor his memory and his love for the school where one of their children—Teresa Gardone, Class of 1985—attended.

The new chapel seats 120-130 students and is used regularly for morning liturgy, which is celebrated by Father Adam Ahern, the school chaplain. Father Ahern also offers the sacrament of reconciliation in the chapel twice a week, and students and staff visit the chapel for adoration on the first Friday of each month.

The chapel features four exterior windows, which will be set with stained glass in the coming months. The student entrance to the school building runs alongside the chapel so that students can easily access the chapel for morning worship or prayer.

Providence President Joan Hurley, who will retire at the end of the school year, is thrilled with the completion of the permanent chapel.

“The new chapel is a dream come true and a great blessing for our students,” Hurley said. “We are so very grateful to those who have made this possible.”

The chapel was previously housed in various locations on campus.

In 2013, the chapel was moved to the first floor, in an office swap with the guidance office and campus store. The location was quiet and still accessible before school for morning liturgy, but the chapel was cramped. The space also was needed for the relocation of the school kitchen and cafeteria, which was in need of an update after 64 years. So the time was finally right for the building of a dedicated chapel. And the Kirchdorfer family helped make it possible.

Kirchdorfer’s sons followed in their father’s footsteps and graduated from St. Xavier High School in Louisville, Ky., but they appreciate their mother’s love for her alma mater. A $75,000 matching gift from ISCO, Inc., the company founded by Jim Kirchdorfer and currently operated by their sons, helped fund the remaining balance of the $325,000 construction cost.

Various alumni provided donations to match those funds. †
 


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