Marin Catholic stained-glass window brings campus together in prayer
By Mary Powers
Amid the hustle and bustle of high school life, there is one place on Marin Catholic High School’s campus where students can find solace — in the magnificent St. Francis Chapel.
The chapel is a refuge for the whole community. Spiritual liturgies and activities in this sacred space include Mass, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and prayer and meditation. Sports teams and clubs also gather in prayer throughout the year, including the Marin Catholic football team who have a special Mass together on Fridays in the fall before their games.
The chapel has held important events for the school community and its alumni. In 2017 when Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone consecrated the Archdiocese to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, he led a special Mass and prayer of consecration for Marin Catholic students. Alumni have also celebrated special occasions in this unique location. Father Cameron Faller, a 2006 alumnus of the school, celebrated his first Mass as a priest in the chapel.
Msgr. Steven Otellini was chaplain of Marin Catholic when construction started on a new project in 2000, necessitating a new location for the chapel on campus. While praying about the best place to build the new chapel, he picked a spot with a beautiful view of Mount Tamalpais. He decided to design the space after St. Francis’ Canticle of Sun, celebrating the patron of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, while also honoring the beautiful creation visible from the chapel location.
Perhaps the most striking part of the chapel is the stained-glass window behind the altar. The design works in parts of the Canticle of the Sun and the life of its author while still making visible Mt. Tam and the wetlands below. The window was designed by Virginia artist Brenda Belfield, created by Stanisic Stained-Glass Studio in Naples, Florida, and made possible through the generosity of the Basso Family.
Father Andrew Ginter, current chaplain at Marin Catholic, speaks with joy about the many ways in which the St. Francis Chapel is the center of spiritual life on the campus. The stained-glass window, he says, keeps our mind on Christ, drawing us closer to Him so that like the cross at the center of the window, we may be on fire in spreading the Gospel.
Mary Powers is the assistant director of communications and media relations for the Archdiocese of San Francisco.