Discover Dowling: The Chapel Addition

Emily discovers the chapel with help from Mrs. Sheaff


A view from the altar of the chapel.

Emily Ponxs, Staff Writer

The skylight above the altar brings natural light into the chapel.

Dowling Catholic has many faith influences throughout the school, the biggest of course being our beloved chapel. The Coppola Family St. Joseph Chapel we all know and love today was opened in 2015. While every Dowling student has been in the chapel, there are many things that are unknown to even some of the most frequent visitors. “Everything in the chapel was intentional,” Dowling Catholic Theology teacher Mrs. Christy Sheaff explains.

The chapel has stunning features like a large skylight and the stained glass windows. The skylight lets in light and all light is angled upwards so it can serve as a beacon of light when driving by at night.

The windows are placed on each side of the chapel with one saint on each pane along with Jesus in the middle. Each window represents a part of the school’s principle areas of study: St. Albert the Great for Science, St. Cecilia for The Arts, St. Thomas Aquinas for Theology, St. Hildegard for Communication, St. John Paul II for Vocations, St. Teresa for Solidarity, St. Sebastian for Teamwork, St. John Baptist de la Salle for Formation, St. Hubert for Math, and finally St. Clare for Technology. All of these windows represent an important part of our school. Two of the glass panes have Christ on them, one representing Evangelization with all of the gospel writers surrounding Christ and another representing Communion.

The altar holds precious relics.

“Our chapel is built to focus our attention on the Eucharist.  The tabernacle is right in the middle and is the central focal point.  There is no doubt when you walk in that our chapel was meant to help us understand, love and celebrate the Eucharist,” Sheaff says.

Something many students do not know is that our chapel has three relics all located in the altar: A piece of St. Pope John XXII’s zucchetto, St. Pope John Paul the Great’s vestments, and a piece of bone from St. John Vianney. The bone was gifted from our very own Fr. John Acrea who has been serving the Diocese of Des Moines as a priest since 1962.

Many wonderful things fill our chapel including our very own students. There are numerous ways to get to know the chapel better – morning prayer, Reconciliation, Adoration, as well as mass daily. Our chapel has many features to discover. Incredible intention and thought was put into your prayer experience here at Dowling Catholic – take advantage of it all!