Loretto Academy Celebrates the Renovation of St. Joseph Chapel

By Katie Martinez
Photos by Ale Saldana

A beautiful homily was given at the April 25 dedication Mass by Loretto Academy Chaplain Father Ed Roden-Lucero at the April 25 chapel dedication Mass.

Loretto Academy’s Crown Jewel — Newly renovated St. Joseph Chapel on the Loretto Academy campus in El Paso shines in all its glory, standing ready for Mass, concerts and other celebrations.

Loretto Academy’s Crown Jewel — Newly renovated St. Joseph Chapel on the Loretto Academy campus in El Paso shines in all its glory, standing ready for Mass, concerts and other celebrations.


St. Joseph’s Chapel is the crown jewel of the Loretto Academy campus in El Paso. The very first Mass held in the chapel was on Christmas, 1928.

Throughout the years, weekly school Masses, concerts and special occasion Masses have been celebrated in the chapel. After 88 years of use, St. Joseph’s Chapel was in dire need of repair. chapel-after-6 Color Edit

For restoration purposes, the Chapel Renovation Campaign began in 2012. It began with various events to raise funds needed for the estimated $500,000 renovation.

“Every time I stepped foot in the chapel I was distracted by all the work that needed to be done. It was then I decided that we would start the renovation with or without all the funds,” said Buffy Boesen, president of Loretto Academy.

The renewal began after Christmas Eve Mass in December 2015. Since that time, the chapel has been closed to all Masses. Student Masses relocated to the Little Theatre and the school gym.chapel-after-7 Color Edit

Renovations of the chapel included upgrading sound and lighting, completely remodeling the confessional, adding storage solutions, polishing the marble floors, sanding and staining the original pews, removing the Communion rail, extending the altar forward and repainting the cupola and walls.

Restoring the original organ was added to the scope of work this past April. After months of work overseen by Ed & Jo Soto, class of ’70, and various contractors, the chapel was ready just in time for Loretto’s Foundation Day.

The first Mass in the renovated chapel was celebrated April 25 by Bishop Mark J. Seitz and Father Ed Roden-Lucero, Loretto Academy chaplain. All who had given their time, talent or treasure were invited to the Mass and reception. This was a very special Mass celebrating the completion of St. Joseph’s Chapel, the founding of the Sisters of Loretto and the feast day of St. Mark. It was also the first time in years that the pipe organ was played. The organ will be fully restored by Christmas Eve Mass this December.chapel-after-3 Color Edit

Later in the week following the special celebration, school Masses returned to the chapel. Everyone was extremely happy to be back in the beautiful chapel for Mass. May is an extremely busy month for Loretto Academy. Second graders received the sacrament of First Communion on May 14. The fifth- and eighth-grade graduation ceremonies followed.

Loretto Academy thanks everyone for their contributions to St. Joseph’s Chapel. It is only through our friends that we are able to “Let Loretto be Loretto Forever!”

(Editor’s Note: Katie Martinez is a 2006 graduate of Loretto Academy
in El Paso and serves as its advancement coordinator.)chapel-after-5 Color Edit

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