Archbishop Gregory Aymond blessed and dedicated the beautiful chapel at St. Anthony’s Gardens in Covington on June 29, the feast day of Sts. Peter and Paul.
Concelebrating with him were Father Rodney Bourg, pastor of Most Holy Trinity in Covington; Deacon Charles Swift, chaplain of the new chapel; and seminarian Will MacMaster. Archbishop Aymond called the chapel “the heart of St. Anthony’s Gardens. It’s not just ‘at’ St. Anthony’s Gardens; it’s the heart,” a sacred space where residents have the opportunity to encounter Christ every time they walk in for prayer or Mass, the most intimate encounter.
This was the first Mass celebrated at the chapel since St. Anthony’s Gardens opened in December 2016. Mass will be celebrated every Tuesday at 10 a.m., but there will also be Communion services, Bible study and services for members of other religious denominations, said Deacon Swift. Approximately 80 percent of the current residents are Catholic. St. Anthony’s Gardens, a full-service archdiocesan residence for seniors, is operated by Life Care Services. It has 120 independent living apartments, 57 assisted-living apartments and 36 memory care apartments.
“It’s awesome to have the presence of the Blessed Sacrament and Mass here once a week,” said Barbara Bahlinger, a Founder’s Club resident at St. Anthony’s Gardens and a lay member of Caritas, an organization that works to promote social justice and end poverty. “It’s a wonderful gift for everyone at St. Anthony to be able to come and reflect (in this chapel). He is the way, the truth and the life,” she said. Archbishop Aymond asked residents to pray for peace in our community and in the world, and to pray for vocations to religious life.
Betty-Ann Hickey, associate director of the archdiocesan Worship Office and liturgical consultant for the new chapel, said the altar, ambo and altar chair were designed to look “noble, simple and beautiful.” The crucifix was made in Italy, and statues of the Sacred Heart, Immaculate Heart, the Holy Family and St. Anthony – the residence’s patron saint – will soon be added.
“Your heart is touched by the heart of Christ when you come into this sacred space,” Archbishop Aymond said.
Christine Bordelon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.