New Christ the King Chapel Recently Dedicated At Christendom College

Against the backdrop of the Shenandoah Mountains soars the 116-foot tall Gothic crossing tower of the enormous, newly-dedicated Christ the King Chapel at Christendom College. The chapel, which is located at the highest point of the Catholic, liberal arts college’s campus in Front Royal, Virginia, replaces the former Christ the King Chapel, where the sacraments had been offered since the 1990s. Prior to that, a smaller building on campus served as the college’s chapel. Increased enrollment at the college was among the reasons to build the larger Christ the King Chapel, so that it would provide more space for the increased student body.

The restored antique high altar is seen in this photo of Christendom College’s Christ the King Chapel. The “Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus,” written by the late Mandy Hain, is also seen above the altar. (APK, via Wikimedia Commons. Permission to publish under license CC BY-SA 4.0.

The dedication of the new chapel was the culmination of yearslong fundraising, which began in 2016 when the college launched a $40 million campaign to help fund the construction of the chapel, and construction. By 2018, the college raised the necessary funds to begin construction, and groundbreaking for the chapel began the following year. Alumni from Christendom assisted greatly in the construction of the chapel through their craftsmanship. One graduate handcrafted various wooden elements in the chapel’s interior and another graduate, the late Mandy Hain, painted and inscribed various areas of the chapel. Before her death in February, two months before the dedication of the chapel, she wrote “that beauty is not an accessory to our lives, but a necessity through which we are exposed to the Truth.” This reality became evident through the many hours she spent painting the magnificent, blue ceiling of the Gothic crossing tower, her writing of the “Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus,” which is located above the main altar, and her gold-leaf detail of the phrase “This is the House of God and Gate of Heaven,” which is inscribed in Latin above the chapel’s entrance.

The ceiling of the crossing tower, which was painted by the late Mandy Hain. (APK, via Wikimedia Commons. Permission to publish under license CC BY-SA 4.0.

The doors to this House of God were opened on April 15 of this year when Christ the King Chapel was dedicated by Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Diocese of Arlington. In attendance were hundreds of benefactors, in addition to the college’s staff, alumni priests and Cardinal Arinze, a Nigerian cardinal. EWTN, a Catholic television network, livestreamed the dedication and Mass for those unable to attend. The grandeur of the chapel was on full-display during the dedication and Mass, both of which were enhanced by the choir which sang stunning hymns, assisted by the 2,850 pipe organ. Following the motto of Christendom College to restore all things in Christ, Bishop Burbidge said in his homily that, “now, you will celebrate this mission and be strengthened for it each time you gather here in faith, leading you to follow Christ and restore all things in him.” These words certainly ring true in Christendom College’s hope that the newly-dedicated Christ the King Chapel will serve as “a symbol of hope and inspiration for generations,” permeating the hearts of all those who enter through its doors.