You Are Here: CHS New Chapel
Every Place Has a Story
For numerous decades, Catholic High’s chapel has held a significant place in the hearts of students and teachers alike. The masses and events held in this chapel have created a special bond between the sacred space and the participants. Located in the 200 hall of the high school building, the chapel offers a quiet place away from the hustle and bustle of the loud hallways and classrooms surrounding it.
The initial chapel was located in the Brothers’ residence. However, in 2008, the school decided to move the worship space and build a new, larger chapel. It was moved not only for convenience, but to follow CHS’s words, “Keep Christ at the center of our words and actions.”
Therefore, the new chapel was placed in the middle of the high school where the old library was originally located. Along the right wall of the new chapel are the Stations of the Cross and small pews that were once where the brothers sat for morning mass.
In the old chapel, all students and faculty members were required to remove their shoes before entering. This rule began in the old chapel because it contained white carpet, and shoes would stain the fabric. In those days, one could open the doors to the 200 hall and see 100 shoes lined up along the walls.
Perhaps one of the most significant objects in the chapel is the stained glass windows. Craig McCullen from Wahoo Glass created these intriguing panes. One of the main reasons the school wanted these windows was simply because the directors did not want a plain back wall in the chapel. The image depicted from the stained glass windows is the bayou passing through each pane. While a bayou is usually brown, the school and Wahoo Glass decided to make it blue so the light would reflect through it. This stream connects the school with the town. Each stained glass is dedicated to someone, a class, or a family, and holds a deeper meaning than just decoration.
Another important component of the chapel was the mural located behind the altar. The mural depicted Jesus on the cross with the two thieves. According to a talk given by Jamie Nelson-Hebert, Christi from Parks Mural Restoration painted the work of art, but Paul Allain created the liturgical design of the mural. Just as the chapel was moved to make CHS literally “Christ Centered,” Jesus is also the center of the new sacred place. Along the bottom of the mural are painted rocks with the seven last phrases of Christ on them. This helps connect students and teachers to Jesus’ last moments on the cross.
In 2016, the chapel was once again redone. The mural of Jesus on the cross was painted over. A crucifix and statues that were original to the Brothers’ chapel were added. Now, students and visitors have pews for masses. However, the Brothers’ pews on the side of the chapel still remain.
Altogether, the main goal of the new chapel was for students to have a special place to get away and be with God. By physically keeping the chapel “at the center of our words and actions,” students are able to feel more connected to the sacred space. The chapel offers students a place to have a safe space to get away and connect to God. Without the chapel, Catholic High would not be the same.
A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words
New Chapel Floor Plan. (Notice that the chapel was originally planned out differently than it is today)
The Stations of the Cross
The Brother’s pews
The old mural
The old pews
The new altar
The new pews
The Story of the Glass
The photos that follow tell the story of the school through stained glass.
1st window — Image of St. Peter’s College
2nd window — Image of sugarcane
3rd window — Symbol of the Eucharist
4th window — Symbol of the Ten Commandments
5th window — Image of Mt. Carmel Academy
6th window –(Class of 2016): Symbols of St. Francis of Assisi — silver cross and red marks of the stigmata
7th window — (Class of 2015): Symbols of St. Joan of Arc — Gold crown, fleur de lis, sword, blue field
8th window — (Class of 2014): Image of St. John Baptiste De La Salle
9th window — (Class of 2013): Symbols of Sts. Peter and Paul — Gold key, silver key over silver sword
10th window — (Class of 2012): Symbols of St. Maximilian Kolbe — two gold crowns, white rod
11th window — (Class of 2011): Symbols of St. Anthony of Padua — gold book, silver lilies, brown field
12th window — (Class of 2010): Symbols of St. Teresa of Avila — gold heart, red HIS, silver rays on black
13th window — (Class of 2009): Symbols of St. Michael the Archangel — red cross, silver field
14th window — Image of the Holy Spirit
15th window — (Class of 2008): Symbols of St. Sebastian — gold arrows
Voices from the Past and Present
Catholic High’s chapel has always left an impression on CHS students, alumni, and teachers. The following interviews were taken at Catholic High in New Iberia. On May 10, 2012, Megan Anderson Gaston, a CHS graduate of 2004, was interviewed about her memories of the old chapel. She said, “During my senior year, Mrs. Lissard would take our class to the chapel to bond, and it was our place! We made our most vivid memories of high school there!” Mrs. Megan misses the old chapel’s size, but enjoys the new chapel’s masses. The second person interviewed was Mrs. Kate Musso Migues, a 2004 CHS graduate, and she remembers how small the old sanctuary was and thinks the new one is wonderful. She exclaimed, “I never really got to go to the old chapel because only one class could fit in it at once!” Rachel Lemaire, an alumni, was questioned about her thoughts of the new chapel. Rachel remembered the old chapel and its white carpet. “I always wanted to go behind the altar into the hall thing,” she inferred. She was here when the new chapel was built and said they came back to an addition to the school after summer of sixth grade year. Altogether, she preferred the seclusion of the old chapel, but likes the size of the new one. However, she made a request that kneelers, a choir area, and quieter doors should be added to the new sacred place. The last person interviewed was Mrs. Lucy Lissard, a middle school religion teacher. She had mixed feelings about the new chapel. She stated, “The stained glass windows are gorgeous. There is disruption from the hallway outside the doors, but altogether it is great that we have a place to worship God!” In conclusion, all interviewees are grateful to have a chapel, but each has her own opinion regarding the old and new holy places.
Bienvenu, Michelle. Personal Interview. Jan 2012.
Catholic High School. n.d. Blueprints of New Chapel.
Gaston, Megan. Personal Interview. 10 May 2012.
Lemaire, Rachel. Personal Interview. 10 May 2012.
Lissard, Lucy. Personal Interview. 10 May 2012.
Melancon, Marly. Current Chapel. 2012. Photograph. Private Collection.
Migues, Kate. Personal Interview. 10 May 2012.
Nelson-Hebert, Jaime. Personal Interview. 18 Jan. 2012