DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/31 December 2015) — In joyful ceremonies, His Grace Romulo G. Valles, D.D., Archbishop of Davao, presided over the blessing of the new Ateneo chapel along Roxas Avenue in Davao City on Wednesday.
More properly known as the “University Chapel of Our Lady of the Assumption,” the sacred space accommodates about 700 faithful on the main floor and the mezzanine.
The University Chapel of Our Lady of the Assumption of the Ateneo de Davao University can accommodate some 700 faithful on the main floor and the mezzanine. Photo courtesy of Igy Castrillo
The chapel interiors are rich with cultural symbols and images of Mindanao in brass, wood, and fabric. Murals depict Bible stories in oil on canvas. Artworks were created by Tausug brass sculptor Juan Sajid Imao, Davao painters Mark Tolentino and Bong Espinosa, the Zamboanga Yakan weaving family of Krishnan Kin Nasser Ilul, and Paete woodcarver Paloy Cagayat.
“Our intention was to provide the University with a place of worship and prayer that would support its catholicity in the multiethnic context of Mindanao and its culture of Ignatian spirituality,” said Fr. Joel E. Tabora, SJ, President of the Ateneo de Davao University.
At the mass during the blessing of the University Chapel of Our Lady of the Assumption at the Ateneo de Davao University Jacinto campus on December 30. Photo courtesy of Igy Castrillo
The Ateneo chapel was one of three structures in the Jacinto Campus that were blessed Wednesday. The others were the Community Center of the First Companions and the Fr. Edgar Martin SJ Hall
The Community Center hosts a student study center, faculty workspaces, academic department offices, research and advocacy offices, the Jesuit Residence, and a dialogue center in its eleven floors. It is named after Jesuit saints: St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Francis Xavier, and St. Peter Faber
Martin Hall has sports and athletic facilities—volleyball and basketball courts, jogging track, and a fitness center as well as a multipurpose hall—in four of its seven floors. The other floors have the Office of Student Affairs, offices of student organizations, and parking spaces.
On hand to help bless the campus structures were Rev. Fr. Antonio F. Moreno, SJ, Provincial Superior of the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Daniel J. McNamara, SJ, Rector of the Davao Jesuit Community, Fr. Joel E. Tabora, SJ, and other Jesuit fathers.
The celebration of space for work and worship was participated in by members of the University Board of Trustees, faculty, administrators, alumni, and friends of the Ateneo in the spirit of ad majorem Dei gloriam (for the greater glory of God).
(Pam Castrillo is a faculty member and researcher of the Department of Literature and Arts of the Ateneo de Davao University)