Santa Paula, California
The Chapel of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity is prominently located at the head of the main quadrangle at Thomas Aquinas College. This important location reflects the centrality of faith in the pursuit of wisdom. The design for the chapel is inspired by the churches of Southern California as well as the broader Catholic tradition.
SANTA PAULA, CA — The archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahony, presided at the Dedication Mass of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel on Saturday, March 7, 2009, at 11:00 a.m.
Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel is the 12th of 15 buildings to be completed on the campus of Thomas Aquinas College. At a cost of $23 million, it is 15,000-square feet in area and is the most prominently situated and most elaborate of the structures on the campus. The Chapel is cruciform in shape and features a 135-foot bell tower.
Although the basis of its design is in the Spanish Mission style of Southern California, Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel also incorporates elements from the Catholic Church’s long tradition of sacred architecture, such as a dome that rises 89 feet over the sanctuary, floors and columns of Italian marble, and an ornate limestone façade.
In 2003, before construction began, Pope John Paul II blessed the plans for Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel, and just this past fall, the cornerstone of the new building was shipped to Rome to receive the blessing of Pope Benedict XVI. Says college president Dr. Thomas E. Dillon, “Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel will be a statement in stone, as it were, for our students and for all who visit our campus that Thomas Aquinas College is resolved to remain ever loyal to the Vicar of Christ and faithful to the teaching Church.”
The new chapel has permanent seating for 450 in its nave and loft, and its generous side aisles can be used to accommodate another 250 in temporary seating. The chapel’s soaring vaulted ceiling, while helping to lift the hearts and minds of the congregation to God, will also provide outstanding acoustics for the college’s student choir and chant schola, which provided the music at the Dedication Mass with selections from composers such as Hassler, Mozart, Dubois, and Palestrina.
Says college chaplain Rev. Cornelius Buckley, S.J., “The name that has been chosen for our new chapel is fitting, since the entire academic program at Thomas Aquinas College culminates in the study of St. Thomas Aquinas’ treatise on the Trinity.” He adds, “And Mary is our model par excellence in her relationship to the Holy Trinity — the perfect daughter of the Father, the most admirable mother of the Son, and the dearest spouse of the Holy Spirit.”
Once dedicated, the new chapel will be the site of the College’s four daily Masses as well as the many devotions initiated and attended by a large majority of its 350 students, who hail from across the country and abroad.