By ROB HERBST
The Catholic Week
AUBURN — A packed chapel full of young adults on a recent Friday night showcased the need for a new home and that the Catholic faith is alive in Auburn.
Auburn University students filled the Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati Chapel on March 22 as Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi celebrated a Mass of Dedication. The new student chapel at 342 North College St., will seat about 150 people for Mass on Tuesday and Thursday nights, plus Monday night Adoration and Benediction. It will also be accessible 24 hours a day for prayer.
Auburn’s Catholic student center seats about 10 people for Mass.
“Now we have a real place of worship for college students,” said St. Michael Parish Pastor Msgr. William Skoneki. “I’d say this night is a wonderful new chapter in Auburn Catholic history.”
There’s still a little work to be done as the plastic chairs need to be replaced, the pews installed and the parking lot paved. It will ideally be ready in a few weeks.
“It’s beautiful to see that our Catholic community here is growing so much that we need this,” said Darby Wilson, an Auburn senior from Madison, Ala.
The Mass included the anointing, incensation and lighting of the altar and church and the reposition of the Blessed Sacrament.
While it’s a new era for Auburn Catholics, the chapel is actually the converted interior of a historic home. The Hardin-Poucher house was built in 1850. It sits about one mile south of St. Michael Parish and two blocks north of Toomer’s Corner.
“I think it’s turned out beautifully and it’s so nice we have a historic house. Now it’s part of a historic chapel,” Msgr. Skoneki said. “It’s very exciting and this gives us so many more possibilities.”
Among those possibilities is to help the Auburn Catholic community continue to grow.
“I honestly think that’s the only thing (the chapel) can do,” Wilson said. “Having a place like this where we can call it our own as students and worship God as students together, I think it’s only going to increase the number of people we’re able to bring in and people who are able to share in this.”