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Newman Center oratory to be dedicated April 2

A sacred space for worship will soon become a reality for students, staff and visitors at the St. John Paul II Newman Center in Omaha.

Archbishop George J. Lucas will dedicate the center’s oratory (or chapel) April 2 – the 12th anniversary of the saint’s death – during a 10:30 a.m. Mass.

Father Joseph Taphorn, director and pastor of the Newman Center, Father Andrew Roza, associate pastor and director of vocations, and Father Paul Hoesing, former director of vocations and currently dean of seminarians and director of human formation at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, will concelebrate.

During the Mass, Archbishop Lucas will anoint the altar with chrism and a reliquary containing a first-class relic of St. John Paul II will be placed in a chamber in the floor below the altar. The relic is the saint’s blood on a piece of cloth.

Since the Newman Center opened in August 2016 near the University of Nebraska at Omaha campus, Masses and eucharistic adoration have been held in the center’s Karol’s Commons.

"We will now have a beautiful place to pray that is open and accessible," Father Taphorn said, "which also frees up the Commons for other needs to enhance community life."

A central feature of the 275-seat oratory is a large, stained glass east window depicting the risen Christ, Father Taphorn said. Other features include limestone, white oak, stained glass windows, bronze accents and access to an outdoor courtyard.

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