In designing the Village, the sisters wanted the Chapel to be at the center of the complex as it was to be the center of our religious life while there.
The bell tower still has it's three bells and the massive stained glass window remains.
Three mounting brackets on the front of the bell tower once held the giant cross. Much of the brickwork is showing its age here and throughout the whole complex.
The corner stone was laid two years before the Village's completion in 1958 when the home for dependent children was dedicated on October 26 of that yesr.
Lets go inside...
The chapel now serves as a general purpose recreation room and auditorium for the nursing home. The residents enjoy games, outside entertainers, crafts, and movies.
The clock on the balcony wall has been removed but the remnants still bring us back in time.
The alter remains and is now a table for games and crafts. A cutout is still on the back alter where the tabernacle was mounted. The rear curtain has been removed allowing the air conditioning units to be seen. Small crafts projects sit on the lattice work behind the alter. The alter itself may have been the one from the nun's chapel and the main alter removed. There is heavy glue remain along the entire perimeter of all the walls in the chapel indicating that something was adhered to them from floor to ceiling at one time since the Village.
Except for the pews being replaced by tables and some clutter in the sanctuary area, it almost looks as if Fr. McFarland is about to emerge to say Sunday Mass.
Off to the right side an original lighting chandelier can be seen. The confessional booths were also in that area. The lights in the main portion of the chapel have been replaced with high energy-efficiency type and are much brighter.
A big screen TV in church... Not if Sr. Jarlith was still around.
The stations of the cross are gone as are all the statues and crosses, but the mounting brackets for the stations remain.
The chapel front doors still depict religious icons.
The alter rail is removed and its mounting bolts can still be seen in the terrazzo floor. Yellow adhesive caution tape now marks the edge of the step up and a wooden ramp allows a wheel chair to get up onto the stage. A small piano leads the nursing home residents in sing-a-longs.
No, those are tables, not pews. Here we see the lighter colored terrazzo that was under the pews and mounting holes for the pews can still be spotted in the floor.
It is most likely an activity director who has their desk in the far side-alter area.
Why didn't we have a popcorn machine? It would have come in handy during a long sermon.
The nursing home is non secular, however they chose to let the stain glass windows remain for the beauty and character they give the room.
The organ is still in the choir loft and could easily belt out "Holy, Holy, Holy" once again. Past president of the Garden State Theater Organ Society, Donald Hansen said, when he saw these pictures, that there is still a lot of music in those pipes.
Several weeks after our tour, Hansen put me in touch with Bob Martin who later worked with me on making a few minor repairs and tuning to bring this organ to its full life once again. A leak in the roof over the chamber caused plaster to drop into the DC power supply, so we made a temporary shroud over the supply. We hope that the county will fix the roof and protect this memorable organ.
All but a few of the small flute pipes remain and are in excellent condition. A few are slightly bent.
From the pulpit that once stood in this very spot, the chaplain gave us words for renewed spiritual strength in our lives. Now a treadmill, which sort of looks like a pulpit, gives seniors exercise for renewed physical strength for their remaining life.
Follow me now as I take you outside of the convent. We can't go in, you'll see why in a moment.