New chapel to be the spiritual heart of Kapaun Mt. Carmel

An artist’s rendering of the new chapel at Kapaun Mt. Carmel High School. Bishop Carl A. Kemme is scheduled to bless the new chapel on Thursday, Jan. 25.

A chapel described as the new spiritual heart of Kapaun Mt. Carmel High School will be blessed next week by Bishop Carl A. Kemme. The event will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 25.

Two chapels at the east Wichita high school have been consolidated into a single worship space, according to President Rob Knapp.

“The original chapel was built in 1961 for Mount Carmel Academy, a girl’s school, and had a capacity of about 60 to 65 people. It operated within the school for decades,” he said.

About 15 years ago the school built what was known as a temporary chapel in some basement space with a seating capacity of about 250, Knapp said, adding that it was used for sports team Masses and for other clubs and programs that wouldn’t fit in the main chapel.

“The main chapel was never large enough to house that large of a crew and so that temporary chapel in the basement was built to get us to a point where we could have those Masses.”

When planning began for KMC’s Spirit and Strength capital campaign in late 2020, Knapp said, a new chapel was at the top of the list of priorities.

“And through that campaign, we designed and are currently building a chapel that exists in the location of the original chapel…off of the rotunda, which is where the main entrance to the school is.”

He said walls were removed from an area that housed a former library and office space behind the original chapel are being used for the new chapel.

“We are very excited and pleased that we will have a chapel that will seat 250 people in one location at one time. It’s a purpose-built chapel that will survive for generations to come.”

The chapel is meant to inspire prayer and become the home for liturgy within the school, Knapp said. “It exists right there in the heartbeat of the school, right in the rotunda, the main entrance to the school, where the students pass by every single day on their way in, on their way out, on their way to lunch, and on their way to class. It’s a very nice centralized location for the chapel.”