The Chapels at Xavier College are an integral part of the life of the Xavier Community. They are our most sacred places where we gather regularly together to pray to our God in times of joy and times of sorrow. The celebration of the Eucharist continues to be a regular feature of College life. On each campus, the chapel is situated in a central place as each chapel is the symbolic heart of each campus, reminding all of us each day to strive for the greater glory of God in all that we do.
The College Memorial Chapel and the Kostka Hall Memorial Chapel are also our war memorials reminding us of the sacrifice paid by 134 Old Xaverians who have laid down their lives in the service of our country and for our freedom. The Burke Hall Chapel was built in honour of Mrs Burke’s brother Francis Brady.
The College Memorial Chapel is where we gather each year, in late October to celebrate our graduating students in the moving Valete Mass. Many of our graduates choose to return to the College Memorial Chapel for marriage, and at the end of their lives, for their funeral requiem mass. Others choose it as the place of welcome to the Christian Community when they present their own children to be baptised.
We continue to cherish these sacred places of beauty which lift our hearts to God.
Xavier College Memorial Chapel
To celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Xavier College in 1928, a chapel was built as a memorial to the young Old Xaverians who died in service of our country in the First World War.
This chapel was designed by architect, Ole Jorgensen, in 1925. We give thanks to God for Ole's vision, ongoing persistence and generous commitment to the construction of this sacred and beautiful space between June 1927 and September 1934.
It is highly visible on the Melbourne skyline and a beacon of faith for the extended Xavier family.
The Chapel project, which spanned 16 years continues to serve as a tribute to the generous donors who made it possible, and the outstanding personal efforts of Fr Edmund Frost SJ and Fr Frank O’Keefe SJ.
In 1920s, the College Rector, Fr Frost wrote: “From the centre of the city and from the surrounding suburbs, the distant view of the noble dome would catch the attention of many a Catholic as he returned home from a day of weary toil.” It remains true today.
Externally, the Chapel is in the Italian Renaissance style while the four massive pillars at the main entrance are in the Ionic order, adding to its grand appearance.
Symbolically, the College Memorial Chapel defines Xavier College reminding all of the greater glory of God.
Burke Hall Chapel
In October 1925, after an inspection of the school, Mr T.M. Burke, who had donated the property and the original buildings to Archbishop Daniel Mannix (who in turn, gave them to the Society of Jesus), undertook to pay for a chapel and a new classroom block.
The Chapel was erected by Mrs T.M. Burke in honour of her brother, Francis Brady, an Old Xaverian (1904-1909). Construction commenced in January 1926 and the foundation stone was laid by Archbishop Mannix in February. It was completed in November 1926.
The Chapel was blessed and opened by Archbishop Mannix on December 3, the feast of St Francis Xavier.
Throughout the years, there have been few changes to the Chapel. The original altar remains but not the altar rails. In 2004, in honour of his parents, the first couple to be married in the chapel, Brian Condon left a substantial bequest to Xavier in his will. The renovation of the sanctuary of the chapel in 2012 was also made possible through the generosity of the Brian Condon Estate.
Kostka Hall Memorial Chapel
In 1962, the Kostka Parents’ Associations accepted the responsibility for raising the necessary funds for, and the commissioning of, the architectural design of a new chapel.
The chapel was to be a war memorial to those Xaverians who had been killed in the two world wars. Construction commenced in July 1966 and was completed the following December.
The chapel has two striking features. The first feature is the fifteen stained-glass windows, created by Alan Sumner, which were donated by the Parents’ Association. Each depicts a Station of the Cross. The second feature is the amber light which pervades the Chapel.
On 20 February 1967, the chapel was opened and blessed by Bishop W. Moran. Described at the time as “the heart of the school", it remains so today.
The full renovation of the chapel was completed in November 2012, in time to celebrate 75 years of Jesuit education at Kostka Hall. These renovations were also made possible through the estate of Brian Condon.