Hundreds of worshipers, including many USC students and faculty, attended a three-hour Mass yesterday to consecrate a lavish, new Catholic church on the campus.
Just before the afternoon service, people gathered in the courtyard near Our Savior Church and marveled at the building’s ornate European-type structure, replete with stained glass windows, a 75-foot bell tower and high wooden arches.
“The students wanted a church that looks like a church," said the church’s pastor, Father Lawrence Seyer. "Everybody goes to Europe to see the beautiful churches so we wanted to get a church that was truly beautiful and awe inspiring, which leads us to God.”
At the former chapel, only a small portion of the school’s 10,000 or so Catholic students attended Mass.
Seyer expects many more people will visit the new complex on USC’s campus, which can accommodate 300 worshipers. The church will even hold late services to accommodate student schedules.
“[We have] 10:30 morning Mass but these are students, they’re not up then. So I’ve got another Mass at 7 and at 10pm. We call it the “last chance Mass.”
Sophomore Morgan Rogers of Minneapolis is studying Biology and Spanish at USC. She said she's eager to attend Our Savior.
"I guess I’m just really excited to see the church grow and it’s really cool that I can come here because I grew up in a very sheltered community," said Rogers as she waited for the service to begin. " I always went to Catholic school my whole life. Here it’s so diverse that it’s cool that I can still celebrate the diversity but also still have the Catholic center here.”
Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez led the consecration Mass.
The Our Savior Parish project had a $36 million price tag and includes a $7 million endowment. The adjacent Catholic Student Center is named for developer Rick Caruso, who was a major donor to the project.