The Building

The choice of name of the Chapel is not surprising. The Blessed Virgin Mary, under the title of the Immaculate Conception, was patroness of the fledging Diocese of Newark. Bishop Bayley had named the Seminary at Seton Hall the "Seminary of the Immaculate Conception." Devotion to the Immaculate Conception had been greatly heightened a few years earlier when, in the Constitution Ineffabilis Deus of December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX pronounced and defined that the Blessed Virgin Mary, "in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin."


The dedication of the Chapel in 1870 provides us with an summary of what must have been an interesting and probably lengthy sermon as well as the names of the building's architect, builder and decorator. Jeremiah O'Rourke, the architect, was a trustee of St. Patrick's Pro-Cathedral in Newark and provided the original plans for the design of Sacred Heart Cathedral Basilica in Newark. The name of J. R. Lamb of New York, the decorator, can be found at the base of a small plaque in memory of Bishop Bayley in the sacristy of the Chapel. The plaque dates to 1878 but is the only original record we have of Lamb's contribution to the Chapel's decoration.


"Dedication of a Chapel"

"The Chapel of Seton Hall College at South Orange was dedicated yesterday with appropriate ceremonies. Rev. Dr. Corrigan, V.G., President of the College, pronounced the blessing, Rev. Mr. Boston (?) sung (sic) the mass, and Rev. G. H. Doane preached the sermon from the 83rd psalm: "How lovely are thy tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts," &c. He dwelt upon the uses to which a Christian Church was put, spoke of the Church itself as the only and sole teacher established by Our Lord amongst men, showed how the teaching office had been exercised by the Apostles, by their successors, and is being exercised by the Church in our day by the Ecumenical Council. With regard to the doctrine of Papal Infallibility, he claimed that it had been practically acknowledged for centuries, and had been virtually defined in the Council at Chalcedon when the Fathers cried out on hearing the Pope's letter: "The cause is finished: Peter has spoken through Leo("); and then dwelt upon the special prerogatives conferred by our Lord upon St. Peter, apart and distinct from, and superior to, the other Apostles, &c.


The Chapel, which is built of stone, was designed by Mr. J. O'Rourke, architect, built by O'Rourke & Moran, and decorated by J. R. Lamb, of New York. A new altar was presented by Mrs. Eugene Kelly, of New York."

The Newark Daily Advertiser, February 7, 1870.