Ground broken for Venerable Frederic Baraga Chapel


Submitted photo

Archbishop Alexander Sample, second from left, shows some earth he dug up from the frozen ground during a groundbreaking for the Venerable Frederic Baraga Chapel in the St. Peter Cathedral courtyard Tuesday in Marquette. Shown with Sample are Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus, from left, Charles Crotty, Randy LaLonde (hidden), Ed Glowacki, Joel LePage and Robert Vick. The chapel will house the earthly remains of the Catholic Diocese of Marquette’s first bishop, Venerable Frederic Baraga.

MARQUETTE — The Catholic Diocese of Marquette broke ground for the Venerable Frederic Baraga Chapel Tuesday in the St. Peter Cathedral courtyard in Marquette.

Archbishop Alexander Sample and Monsignor Michael Steber, pastor of St. Peter Cathedral, were among participants. The chapel will house the earthly remains of the diocese’s first bishop, Venerable Frederic Baraga.

“The chapel design will harmonize with the beauty of St. Peter Cathedral,” diocesan director of communications Loreene Zeno Koskey said. “Refinements to that design are ongoing to make sure that it echos the architecture of the cathedral and provides a worthy place for prayer and devotion.”

Construction on the $500,000 project is expected to begin in the spring and be completed by October this year.

Fundraising for the chapel has already netted almost half of the anticipated expenses. An initial fundraising goal of $360,000, announced in September, did not include costs for some essential items including a sarcophagus. The new goal also includes a contingency fund to accommodate cost differences that may result when construction bids come in.

Several new fundraisers are underway. 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 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 are undetermined. “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,” Koskey said.

The Bishop Baraga Association has organized a raffle to benefit the chapel construction project. A drawing for a 1993 red Corvette will be held Saturday, June 1, 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, contact Terri Gadzinski, diocesan development director, at 906-227-9108 or


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