News: Chapel service back in full effect
Story by Lance Cpl. Antwaun Jefferson
QUANTICO, Va. - After almost 16 months of waiting, the United States Marine Corps Memorial Chapel has finally opened up to the public. On Sunday the chapel celebrated its first Mass since renovations started.
The Marine Memorial Chapel started undergoing renovations in July 2010. During this time, no services were celebrated in the chapel. Also, the chapel was unavailable for use of weddings, funerals, memorial services or other special services. Services were held at Little Hall.
Many people who came to the service on Sunday were eager to get back to their base chapel. Others, who didn’t have a chance to attend the Post-Renovation Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Sept. 21, wanted to see what has changed from the last time they were there. As people walked up the front step they were met by Sharon Nelson, the greeter at the door.
“Good morning, everyone,” said Nelson. “It is so lovely that we are finally open again. It’s like we are back home.”
When people walk across the threshold, they were immediately in surprised. There were comments from “Wow, are we in the right place” to, “I can see why we were waiting so long; good job.”
With $1.65 million invested in the renovation, there were plenty of changes made. Rick Drake, manager for the Resident Officer in Charge of Construction office that renovated the chapel, was not able to attend the Mass. However, he did state at a previous event that some of the things that changed were the carpet and tile in the chapel. The pews and wheel chair ramp were renovated as well.
They even put in a new fire suppression and fire alarm system, and advanced notification system.
Some of the people who attended Mass were Col. Dan Choike, the commander of Marine Corps Base Quantico, and his family.
“The United States Marine Corps Memorial Chapel is just a great place to come to,” said Choike. “It’s importance to the community is so great.”
The United States Marine Corps Memorial Chapel is hitting the ground running starting off with an “all you can eat” pancake breakfast in the chapel annex after 9 a.m. Mass on Oct. 9.
Daily mass will be every weekday at 11:30 a.m. at the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. Confessions will be on Sundays between 8:15-8:45 a.m.
The chapel will celebrate Mass every Sunday at 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. Protestant service will be held on Sundays at 10:30 a.m.