New Seaport Chapel nearing completion
SOUTH BOSTON -- The major structural components are finished, the bell has been installed, and the rest of the interior is currently being worked on -- if all goes to plan, the new Our Lady of Good Voyage Chapel will open after Easter.
The chapel been under construction since the summer of 2015 following a ground breaking ceremony in late 2014, and once completed will replace the present one-story red brick chapel that has stood for over 60 years on Northern Avenue.
While its opening has been delayed more than once, director of Property Management for the archdiocese Deborah Dillon and Father Gerald Souza, vicar of South Boston-Seaport Catholic Collaborative, said things are now steadily falling into place.
"Right now, we're really working on finishing up the interior," said Dillon.
Currently, the floors are being installed, and said Father Souza, the lighting has been mostly completed and the ceiling is done. Keeping in line with the history of the Seaport District, the ceiling is wooden and meant to resemble the hull of a ship.
One stained-glass window has been installed, a "museum quality" window, he said, and the rest will be installed shortly.
Dillon noted that, among other things, windows, pews, the altar, a statue, the balcony, and shrine altar rails are being reused from closed churches.
There are naming opportunities for many of the fixtures being installed, Father Souza said, and noted that he wants them to "stand the test of time."
"The old chapel was there for over 50 years, so we're expecting the new chapel to be there for at least that long, if not longer," he said.
The new chapel will reflect the current "renaissance" of the Seaport District, Father Souza commented, which, over the last several years has seen massive growth.
The new apartments and businesses have changed the culture of the neighborhood, he said, and the new chapel will address that.
"The original chapel was built in the 1950s to meet the needs of the people who predominantly worked down there," like dock workers, longshoremen, and fishermen, he said.
"Now, the new chapel is able to continue that same mission. However, the types of people, or the types of jobs, that are around the chapel have changed significantly," he continued.
Built at the gateway of the Seaport District, Father Souza called the location of the new chapel "exciting."
"The first thing people will see, as they drive over the (Evelyn) Moakley Bridge into the seaport, will be the new chapel, right on the corner as they go over the bridge, sort of greeting everyone that comes," he said.