St. John Fisher dedicates Saturday service to Hermance family donors

Photo by John Smillie
Photo by John Smillie

By Michael Maraghi, Staff Writer

Reverend Kevin Mannara and attendees at a mass held at Fisher on Oct. 7 honored the Hermance family for their donation to the college.

The development of the Hermance Family Chapel of St. Basil The Great, which was in the works for over five years, was made possible by the Hermance family donation. Ronald E. Hermance was a member of the St. John Fisher College Board of Trustees who passed away in 2014. Part of his bequest included funds that allowed the construction to occur.

Christopher Hermance, son of Ronald Hermance explained the personal and public importance of fulfilling his father’s wish at the dedication ceremony.

“It was always part of my father’s vision and we finally were able to honor his legacy,” said Christoper Hermance. “We just want to be part of the support system and just reflect integrity, reflect kindness, and just be a sanctuary for everyone on campus.”

The chapel, standing tall on the highest point of campus, has been the vision of the Basilian Fathers since 1947 as a house of spiritual growth and reflection for the college. The priests, over seven decades prior, had hoped the chapel would become “the main axis of the campus arranged along the highest ground with the future chapel dominating the campus court.”

Sophomore C.J. Wild who is the sacristan of the new chapel said the strategic location of the chapel allows it to be visible to people passing by or visiting Fisher.

Dedications were made by a list of esteemed attendees that included the Chair of the Board of Trustees Martin L. Birmingham, Fisher President Dr. Gerard J. Rooney and Wild.

“It was a beautiful ceremony,” said Wild. “It was wonderful to see the chapel full of students, of alum, and of people who are closely connected to Fisher. This project was 70 years in the making and it’s a beautiful day and it’s wonderful to see so many people here.”

While the chapel is built through the Catholic tradition, its design and appointments will allow and encourage ecumenical and interfaith worship. Likewise, throughout the day it will provide an oasis for quiet reflection for all looking to escape the pace of campus life.

“It’s a place where students can come, and not only students but all people and people of all faiths – Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, or no faith – to pray, to reflect, and to be a part of the community of believers, community of faithful,” said Wild. 

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