MARQUETTE - Bishop Alexander K. Sample has kicked off a campaign to raise $350,000 to construct a special chapel at St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette to house the remains of the Catholic Diocese of Marquette's first bishop, Frederic Baraga, who was declared "Venerable" by Pope Benedict XVI earlier this year. Early gifts to the campaign total nearly $134,000.
When the Church gives the title of venerable, it proclaims that person worthy of public veneration and their tomb must be accessible to the public.
Venerable Frederic Baraga's remains are currently in the St. Peter Cathedral crypt, where other past bishops of the Diocese of Marquette are entombed. The space is small and not handicapped-accessible.
The proposed Venerable Frederic Baraga Chapel can be seen to the right in this architect’s rendering of the exterior of the chapel addition planned for St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette. The chapel will have two entry points, one inside the cathedral and one outside.
This campaign will ensure an easily-accessible, dignified, and beautiful place of rest for Venerable Bishop Baraga. It will be a more suitable and appropriate place for public veneration.
The chapel will be built as an addition to St. Peter Cathedral, extending into the courtyard. Plans call for the chapel to have two entry points. One entry will be from inside the cathedral church, near the sacristy where the holy oils are currently kept. The other entry will be from the cathedral's courtyard, allowing travelers to enter the chapel while Masses and special events are taking place, without being a distraction.
Venerable Bishop Baraga's remains will be above ground, entombed in a marble sarcophagus. Several beautiful stained glass windows will carry symbols associated with the life and ministry of Baraga, including his Slovenian roots and honoring his missionary ministry to the Native Americans of the Upper Great Lakes region.
"The Baraga Chapel is sure to evolve into a popular destination for pilgrims far and wide, who seek a place that will inspire them to live their lives more faithfully through the example of Baraga," Bishop Sample said.
Pending gift completion, construction would begin in the spring of 2013. Those wishing to make a contribution can contact Terri Gadzinski, Development Director for the Diocese of Marquette, by phone at (906) 227-9108 or e-mail at email@example.com.