Visible presence of Christ — two chapels offer fellowship, prayer and sacramental worship

February 24, 2015

HOUSTON — Working professionals and those who live or visit with loved ones in central Houston can find refuge in two chapels that offer fellowship, prayer and sacramental worship during this Lenten season and throughout the year.

Holy Cross Chapel and Warren Chapel are two of 60 ministries in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston supported by the Diocesan Services Fund (DSF) and are conveniently located in central Houston. Both chapels depend heavily on DSF support, since those who attend are registered at other parishes.

The Holy Cross chapel is supported by daily collections, donations and fundraising appeals while Warren Chapel depends strictly on donations, which are not always adequate to meet the operating costs, so the DSF ensures they may continue to maintain a visible presence of Christ.

Holy Cross Chapel, located at 905 Main Street, is celebrating its 33rd anniversary this month on Ash Wednesday and receives approximately 75 visitors daily. The chapel provides many busy professionals with a convenient place to attend daily Mass, receive the Sacraments and spiritual direction, attend workshops and purchase Catholic resources from its bookstore. 

The chapel, which is open Monday through Friday, also offers devotions, such as First Friday, daily Rosary, a prayer line, weekly prayer for the holiness of our children and Recollections for men and women. It is closed on the weekends.

Father Jerry Jung, director of the chapel, is a priest of the Prelature of Opus Dei and is assisted by Father Paul Kais, Father Chris Schmitt and Father Frank Vera, also priests of Opus Dei. 

In addition, Archdiocesan priests and bishops regularly offer one of the two daily Masses. Father Jung noted that written over the back door in the narthex where most people enter from the street is a quotation from the Gospel of John 12:32: “And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” 

“This beautiful quote reminds us that we are lifted up through Christ’s suffering, as we sacrifice our own efforts, burdens and crosses each day through our professions,” Father Jung said. “All walks of life, pleasant and unpleasant, can be turned over to Christ, to our God who sanctifies the work of our hands. Our work is redemptive, and in a real way furthers God’s creative action.” 

On Ash Wednesday alone, some 1,200 people come to one of the six Masses offered at Holy Cross Chapel. It also serves as a point of entry for non-Catholics desiring to learn more about the Church in a welcoming environment. 

Holy Cross also hosts the Business Ethics Forum which invites business leaders to discuss real-life work events from a Catholic perspective, as well as the Thomas More Society that investigates legal opinions. 

Lenten and Advent Forums for men and women also are offered, plus ENDOW study courses for women. During Lent, the Stations of the Cross are prayed after the 12:15 p.m. Mass on Fridays.

Warren Chapel, near the Texas Medical Center at 2401 Holcomb Blvd., was established in 1981, and is the religious and spiritual heart of St. Dominic Village, a senior care community with approximately 275 residents including retired priests and religious. In 2014, the chapel served more than 30,000 people through its various services, as well as an additional 7,000 people who attended Masses in St. Dominic Village Assisted Living and the Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.

“We are a ministry of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and a member of the Texas Medical Center,” said Patricia Egerman, Spiritual Care and Volunteer Coordinator at St. Dominic Village. “We are the only Catholic retirement community in the greater Houston. This entire village of residents, patients, guests and staff relies completely on Warren Chapel for Sacramental and spiritual care.”

“Additionally, members of the surrounding community and professionals that work on our campus at the St. Dominic Chancery and in the Texas Medical Center, are seen frequently in Warren Chapel.” 

Each week, 11 weekday Masses, one Sunday Mass and the Sacrament of Reconciliation are offered in Warren Chapel and five weekday masses are offered in Assisted Living and the Nursing Center. Eucharistic Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is offered twice a month and the Rosary is prayed daily. 

On Ash Wednesday, ashes will be distributed at both the 8:15 a.m. and noon Masses. During Lent, Stations of the Cross will be prayed every Friday and there will be a Lenten reflection every Wednesday, both at 3 p.m., followed by the daily Rosary. 

These sacramental and devotional services are provided through the generosity of priests who are residing at St. Dominic Village, Pope John XXIII Retired Priest Residence and the surrounding community. 

Some of the priests currently serving at Warren Chapel and St. Dominic Village are retired Auxiliary Bishop Vincent M. Rizzotto, Father Carl Belisch, C.S.B., Father Roy Oggero, C.S.B., Father James Gaunt, C.S.B., Monsignor Reggie Nesvadba, Father Dan Warden, Monsignor Fred O’Connor, and Father Len Broniak, CSsR. 

“Warren Chapel is used for our Sunday Masses and for Baptisms, Quinceañeras and weddings,” said Father Broniak, chaplain of the deaf Community of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. 

“Over 19 ministries in the Archdiocese utilized Warren Chapel last year alone,” Egerman said. “We welcome all groups and individuals that are searching for services near the Medical Center, either during Lent or anytime during the year, to join us at Warren Chapel.”