July 26, 2019
NEWBURGH, N.Y. -
Mount Saint Mary College’s Chapel of the Most Holy Rosary in the Dominican Center will soon have its confessional renovated, thanks to the efforts of Fr. Gregoire Fluet, chaplain and director of Campus Ministry.
Fr. Fluet recently secured a $15,000 grant from the Padre Pio Foundation of America for the renovation, which is scheduled to take place in the next 12 months.
Catholics practice the Sacrament of Confession, wherein parishioners discuss their sins with a priest, who acts in God’s place and absolves them. Usually parishioners can choose between a face-to-face session with the priest, or opt for anonymity behind a screen located within the confessional. However, the way the chapel’s current confessional is designed, a face-to-face confession is nearly impossible.
“We can reconfigure the confessional without destroying the woodwork of the chapel,” explained Fr. Fluet. “We’re trying to create it so that if someone walks in, they would say it was there since the chapel was built.”
Fr. Fluet learned that to renovate the confessional in this manner, it would cost $15,000. So he contacted the Padre Pio Foundation of America, requesting a grant for a portion of the costs. To his joy, the foundation offered to cover the entire cost.
“If they had sent us even $1,000, I would have been ecstatic, so we are extremely grateful to them,” said Fr. Fluet. “Many people want to see their priest [during confession] and want to talk about the situation that brings them there. And thanks to Padre Pio, we will now have that option. This is a great blessing.”
This year marks the Mount’s 60th anniversary, and Fr. Fluet is pleased that the confessional will be repaired during this year of celebration.
“This is something that will be helpful not only to current students, but also future generations,” he explained.
Securing the grant is another example of Fr. Fluet’s legacy of service at the Mount. In addition to overseeing several large-scale food, clothing, and holiday toy drives each year though Campus Ministry, he recently made plans to donate his parents’ estate to the Mount. These proceeds will be used to aid the Mount’s popular Nursing program and athletics offerings.
Padre Pio, also known as Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, O.F.M. Cap., was a friar and priest in the early and mid-1900s. The Padre Pio Foundation of America was established in 1977 to promote devotion to Padre Pio and continue his legacy of love and caring.
“This is a project that would make Padre Pio happy,” noted Julie Fitts Ritter, director of the Padre Pio Foundation of America, in a letter to Fr. Fluet. “The time he spent in the confessional was a statement to how important the Sacrament of Confession meant to him. It is our hope that your ministry and future ministries will use this very special confessional long into the future.”
The Dominican Center was first constructed in 1927, and the chapel was added and dedicated in 1928. The Mount purchased the Dominican Center from the Dominican Sisters on July 13, 2011. Since then, the building has become a state-of-the-art living and learning center for the college, and the Chapel of the Most Holy Rosary holds Mass nearly every day.