Ground broken for New Venerable Frederic Baraga Chapel


As the quest for the Venerable Fredric Baraga’s sainthood continues so do the efforts to create a chapel to house his remains.   A groundbreaking ceremony was held today in the courtyard of St. Peter Cathedral.

The chapel has been in the works for many years.  It will serve as a place of prayer and to pay tribute to the former Bishop of the Diocese.  Each diocese where the Venerable Bishop Baraga served will be represented in the chapel.  The new chapel will be built to match the sandstone and architecture of cathedral.

The project builds upon the life and ministry of Venerable Frederic Baraga, the first bishop of the Diocese of Marquette.  Archbishop Alexander Sample and Monsignor Michael Steber, pastor of St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette, were among those participating in the groundbreaking at the St. Peter Cathedral courtyard.

The chapel design will harmonize with the beauty of St. Peter Cathedral.  Refinements to that design are ongoing to make sure that it echoes the architecture of the cathedral and provides a worthy place for prayer and devotion.

Construction is expected to begin this spring, as soon as the ground thaws.  Completion is anticipated in October 2013.

According to Loreene Zeno Koskey, Director of Communications for the Diocese of Marquette, fundraising for the chapel has already produced close to half of the anticipated $500,000 in project expenses.  The fundraising goal was initially set at $360,000 based on rough estimates, while the current goal of $500,000 is based on detailed and current project estimates.

The initial fundraising goal that was announced last September did not include costs for several essential items, including the sarcophagus.  In addition, based on feedback received on the initial chapel plans and animated drawings that were released last September, the architectural plans have been changed to better match the architecture of the cathedral.  The new goal also includes a contingency fund, typical for construction projects, to accommodate cost differentials that may result when actual construction bids come in.

Several new initiatives are currently underway to help raise the needed funds.  A dollar-for-dollar gift match has been pledged by the Dr. John and Mary Jane Beaumier family of Duluth, Minn.  The Beaumiers will match all new gifts to the chapel construction project, up to $100,000. The Beaumiers have deep roots in the Upper Peninsula, including being previous members of St. Joseph & St. Patrick Parish in Escanaba and longtime Bishop’s Ambassadors for Legacy of Faith, the Endowment Foundation of the Diocese of Marquette.  The Community Foundation for Delta County is administering the matching funds and disbursing them in $10,000 increments to the chapel project upon verification of funds raised.

Catholic Extension has also made a commitment to provide matching funds for the chapel project, although the amount and specifics of the support have not yet been determined.  For more than 100 years, Catholic Extension has strengthened the Catholic Church in the United States by providing grants in mission dioceses across the country that build lasting impact by investing in people, infrastructure and ministries.

In addition, the Bishop Baraga Association has organized a raffle to benefit the chapel construction project.  The drawing for the 1993 ruby red Corvette, which is in excellent condition, will be held Saturday, June 1, 2013 at the Bishop Baraga Association.  Tickets are $50 each and may be purchased at any U.P. Catholic Credit Union location, the Bishop Baraga Association, or the Diocese of Marquette.  If 1,000 tickets are not sold, the raffle converts to a 50/50 cash drawing.

For more information, or to make a donation to the chapel, please contact Terri Gadzinski, diocesan development director, at 906/227-9108 or e-mail her at