The new chapel of the Francisco de Vitoria University, "heart of the campus".

The Archbishop of Madrid, Cardinal José Cobo, yesterday called the new chapel of the Francisco de Vitoria University "heart of the campus", in its dedication as a sacred space. And also "gymnasium of Christian virtues", "place of the Word of God", "place of the Eucharist", "of encounter", "to the deployment of charity". The university dressed up for its 30th anniversary.    

Francisco Otamendi-April 10, 2024-Reading time: 3 minutes
Francisco de Vitoria University Chapel,

New chapel of the Francisco de Vitoria University, inaugurated on April 9, 2024.

There were some previous nerves, logical, but everything went well, as Cardinal Cobo pointed out at the end. Because the Dedication of a temple in the Church, in this case under the title of "Seat of Wisdom" (Sedes Sapientiae), has many rubrics, blessing of the water, anointing of the altar and the walls of the church, etc., which consecrate it as a sacred space.

The Francisco de Vitoria University (UFV), of Catholic inspiration, is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its foundation, and there was the rector, Daniel Sada, thanking all those who filled the temple at the beginning of the ceremony, because since the blessing of its first stone, in September 2022, the chapel has been "more than a construction project within the development plan of our campus; a manifestation of the commitment of the UFV with the spiritual growth and faith of its university community".

Space for coexistence

A campus where "people not only from different groups, movements or associations of the Church coexist, but also from other beliefs and religions or positions on the meaning of life, all of them welcome," added the rector.

The ceremony, celebrated with a dedication ceremony that brought together more than 500 people, and a Eucharist, was also attended by Vicar Jesús González, Javier Cereceda, L.C., territorial director of the Legionaries of Christ in Spain; Mario Palacios, archpriest; Justo Gómez, L.C., senior chaplain of the UFV; and civil authorities such as the mayoress of Pozuelo de Alarcón, Paloma Tejero, rectors of other universities, and businessmen, friends and collaborators of the university.

"Sign of God's presence in the Church."

To build a chapel, noted the Cardinal Cobo in his homily after thanking "all those who in one way or another are involved in today's celebration", "is to build an open place, a place of God's presence that invites everyone", and added: "it becomes a sign of God's presence in the life of the Church. Wisdom is a gift, a gift that reminds us that God is always where truth is sought and where faith is found". 

The Cardinal recalled the words of St. John Paul II when he said that "this chapel is a place of the spirit, where believers in Christ, who participate in different ways in academic study, can pause to pray and find nourishment and guidance. It is a gymnasium of Christian virtues, where the life received in baptism grows and develops systematically".

"It is a welcoming and open house for all those who, listening to the voice of the Master within, become seekers of truth (like Nicodemus), and serve men through their daily dedication to a knowledge that is not limited to narrow and pragmatic objectives." Ultimately, he concluded, "this is the mystery that this house gathers together. A house of encounter in which all those who enter and compose it place their gifts at the service of reality." "A building in which all are at the service of charity, at the unfolding of charity". 

The architectural and artistic project 

The architectural design of the new chapel is the work of the architects Emilio Delgado, Felipe Samarán, professors at the Degree in Architecture at the UFVand Antonio Álvarez Cienfuegos, and Cabbsa was responsible for the construction.

Last May, architects Delgado and Samarán were speakers at an international conference on Omnes Forum on "Sacred architecture in the 21st century", in which the emeritus professor of projects at the Madrid School of Architecture, Ignacio Vicens, and the parish priest of Santa María de Caná (Pozuelo), Jesús Higueras, also took part.

With a capacity for 500 people, the structure of the new UFV chapel houses not only a space for worship but also a Center for faith formation. Its elliptical shape, characterized by two large domes supported by seven columns, symbolizes the union between the perfection of the circle and spiritual directionality, creating a space that invites reflection and spiritual encounter.

The underground floor is intended for activities such as conferences and meetings and replicates the elliptical shape of the church. The apse of the chapel is covered with gold leaf according to a design by the artist Alberto Guerrero Gil with the collaboration of students and teachers of the Fine Arts Degree at the UFVtogether with its director, Pablo López Raso. The altar, the ambo and the seat are made of white marble from Macael (Almeria). The tabernacle is housed in the golden tent of God and is double-sided, serving the main chapel and the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament.

Other elements

The chapel also has an interior Way of the Cross in bronze and a pregnant Virgin, the work of Javier Viver, awaiting the final one, which reflects the aforementioned invocation of the temple "Seat of Wisdom". It will be a Virgin attending to a young child Jesus writing in a notebook on her lap, as the first formator.

Under the altar there is a reliquary with the relics of saint Pedro PovedaJosé Sánchez del Río, priest and educator, founder of the Teresian Association; José Sánchez del Río, a 14-year-old layman who died during the Cristero War in Mexico; and Blessed María Gabriela Hinojosa and six religious companions of the Visitation, all of them martyrs.

The authorFrancisco Otamendi

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