“It has been a four year journey of creating this vision,” stated John Sullivan. “Originally the vision was for a dome chapel to be designed by a Holy Apostles Brother in Germany, and to be built with German timbers. After working nearly two years, and several trips to Germany by Sullivan and Holy Apostles leaders, and the German designers journeying to Cromwell, Connecticut, the U.S. dollar dropped and the Euro went through the roof. “We then brought the project fully to the United States,” explained Sullivan, ”and we took the original dome idea completely off the table due to the large expense of such a construction.”
“Beautiful simplicity” is how Holy Apostles College and Seminary President and Rector, The Very Rev. Douglas L. Mosey, C.S.B, describes the newly-constructed Chapel that sits atop a grassy hillside overlooking the Connecticut River. What was built 50 years ago in 1957 as a tool shed and paint shop evolved into a very small temporary chapel with poor acoustics that accommodated 80 of the college’s 380 students. The new, invitingly spacious octagon-shaped chapel hosts a towering cathedral ceiling that replicates a Byzantine design dating back to the Fifth Century. The new Holy Apostles chapel is dedicated to Mary, Queen of the Apostles.
From initial ideas generated to the Groundbreaking Ceremony held on May 1, 2009, to the September 8, 2010 Inaugural Mass, “this is a triumphant accomplishment and an amazing feat for all of us,” stated Sullivan. “Considering our country’s recent economic times and the fact that it is extremely rare to hear of a church being newly-constructed, we are all exceedingly pleased.”
Sullivan Brothers LLC was introduced to the project four years ago by John Sullivan’s sister, a nun with the Sisters of Life Order in Manhattan for the past 12 years, Sister Veronica Mary Sullivan. A former student at Holy Apostles College and Seminary, Father Mosey knew that Sister Veronica had two brothers in the construction, building trade, and contacted her directly regarding the project. A former U.S. Air Force Captain, Sister Veronica Mary is a specialist in cardiac nursing, and currently the Archdiocese of New York Director of Family Life/Respect Life Office in Manhattan.
A full service building and remodeling company, Sullivan Brothers LLC specializes in all phases of residential, commercial, church construction and renovation. A division of the company also specializes in additions, kitchens, baths and all forms of home restoration. Launched in 1987, the company’s operational offices at 1 Wolcott Road in Wolcott, also features a 5,000 square foot state-of-the-
For the past 1.5 years John Sullivan, project/construction manager for the Holy Apostles Chapel creation, was responsible for coordinating every aspect of the entire project including the interviewing and hiring of interior designers, engineers, all contractors and all sub-contractors. One of his first achievements was to introduce architect, Don Hammberberg of Don Hammerberg Associates in Farmington, Connecticut to the project. Sullivan explained that “The open floor plans designed by Don Hammerberg include a choir loft and elevated sanctuary to accommodate superior acoustics and approximately 300 worshippers. The entire lower basement level can be divided by curtains to create classrooms, or used as an assembly hall for lectures, musical performances, guest speakers and the space accommodates 300 people.”
Sullivan expressed, “The enormity of this undertaking to build the octagon Holy Apostles chapel has been a truly enriching experience. The honor of being such an integral part of the vision of creating and building such a stunning House of Worship is enormous for us. It has been such a remarkable privilege to work with so many talented and gifted individuals on a project of this grandeur and beauty. The enormity of knowing that Father Mosey has put his faith and trust in me, and in my company, over the past four years to complete a project of this magnitude, is indescribable. It is an honor I deeply cherish.”
The octagon-shaped, heavy wooden Douglas Fir frame of the arching cathedral ceilinged chapel has been built of timber spanning over 60 feet that was designed and created by Vermont Timber Works in North Springfield, Vermont. The design uses a classic tension ring/compression ring combination with a bell tower serving as the center hub. The Chapel’s Sacristy, Alter and Entry feature scissor trusses with hand carved finals. Interior posts stand 12’x15’ and are 40 feet tall, and the Chapel’s beautiful new arches are 25 feet long. A 100 ton crane was needed to lift and install the impressive new bell tower. To install the trusses, a 60 ton crane was utilized while the 100 ton crane secured the celestry containing windows and the church’s bell, in place.
The Inaugural Mass and Dedication Service will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, September 8th and officiated by Bishop Michael R. Cote of the Norwich Archdiocese. Bishop Cote will be assisted by Archbishop Henry J. Mansell of the Hartford Archdiocese;