STONEVILLE, N.C. — More than 300 people gathered to celebrate the dedication of the new outdoor chapel at St. Francis Springs Prayer Center on April 14. The San Damiano Chapel, nestled in the woods of the 140-acre retreat center under the direction of Louis Canino, OFM, offers a welcoming and peaceful place of prayer and meditation apart from the prayer center itself.
The dedication service included prayer, hymns and remarks by the staff, supporters, volunteers and Louis, who was all smiles as he thanked everyone who had helped in the project from its inception.
“The chapel is simple and unadorned, yet it is set amid the artwork of the greatest artist of all: Our ever-loving god, creator and maker. Like when he revealed himself to Francis in San Damiano Church, may Christ also reveal himself in an ever deeper way to all those who enter this sacred place,” Louis, shown in photo, said during his remarks. After the dedication service held in a tent not far from the new chapel, attendees walked into the chapel and sprinkled it with holy water.
The windows of the new chapel offer an expansive view of the pastoral natural setting. Inside, there is a small altar for the celebration of Mass and a San Damiano cross hangs above the sanctuary. Outside, meditation gardens ring the chapel and connect it to paths that wind through the grounds of the retreat center.
Also on April 14, a drawing for six prizes totaling $5,000 was held for individuals who purchased raffle tickets.
St. Francis Springs Prayer Center, located 40 miles north of Greensboro, opened in 2005. “It is a place where I can remember all that he has done for me,” said Ken Anderson, a supporter of St. Francis Springs, in an article in the Catholic News Herald.
The April 25 article said Anderson “credited the volunteers and supporters for the center’s development over the years, sharing Franciscan hospitality and spirituality with everyone who walks through the doors.”
In upcoming months, the center is offering a variety of retreats and workshops. Information is available on the programs page of the St. Francis Springs website.
— Paul Cronin is St. Francis Springs Prayer Center’s coordinator of development, marketing and volunteers.