Contact:Fr. Ross Chamberland, OFM executive director, Lateran Center for Catholic Identity

DATE: 18 April 2016


Iconic St. Joseph’s Oratory Slated to Open…and Never Close

(St. Bonaventure, NY) It is perhaps the most iconic building on the campus of St. Bonaventure University–that picturesque, round brick chapel that looks like it sprouted right out of the 12th century. St. Joseph’s Oratory, locked and virtually dormant for decades, will at last be opened to students on May 4. But the news is better than that because the plan is to never let it close. That’s because this precious centerpiece has been transformed into a perpetual Eucharistic Adoration chapel which will remain open for students to use as a particular place of  quiet prayer before the Blessed Sacrament 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

When: Opening of the NEW Eucharistic Adoration Chapel in the historic St. Joseph’s Oratory will begin with a 4:00 pm solemn Mass  on Wednesday, May 4 at the university chapel. There the Sacred Host will be consecrated for use in the Oratory. At the completion of Mass, the Host will be transferred in its new monstrance to St. Joseph’s Oratory. This will take place in a solemn procession under a baldacchino (traditional elaborate fabric canopy).  In the Oratory, the monstrance will be placed in the new glass tabernacle located in the center of the renovated space which will be blessed and officially opened for this unique and singular purpose.

What: Historic 1927 St. Joseph’s Oratory–which had been dormant for general use for decades– has been transformed into a Eucharistic Adoration chapel which will remain perpetually open for students to use as a place of prayer 24 hours a day/ seven days a week. Cost of renovation including security system, custom tabernacle and base, new lighting package, seat cushions and paint amounted to $10,000. This amount was paid for with generous donations from alumni and friends of St. Bonaventure University. This is an historic six-sided chapel in a 12th century Northern Italian design constructed of hand-made red brick, terra cotta ornamentations and clay tiles. It was originally built for use by the  Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception who lived on campus (adjacent to Francis Hall) working in food service for the university. It is outfitted with a heat system so it can be used year round.

Where: In the heart of St. Bonaventure University campus in front of the library and Butler Gym. This location is convenient for most students during the day or night.

How: Beginning the evening of May 4, 2016, the Oratory will be open for student use with the same security access card used to access other secured campus buildings.

Why: This treasured Oratory (history here) is the epicenter of a major new initiative at SBU, The Lateran Center for Catholic Identity. The new center will provide programs aimed at reinforcing the university’s Catholic identity and includes encouraging the unique call of the Spirit in students. Its very first task was to transform the beautiful six-sided St. Joseph’s Oratory into a Eucharistic adoration chapel complete with glass tabernacle, new lighting and security technology.

Fr Ross Chamberland O.F.M., the Lateran Center’s dynamic, young, executive director, explained the rationale behind creating the new adoration chapel:

“Everything associated with the new LCCI, from the establishment of a residence for men discerning priesthood, to retreat development, to various forms of student outreach is rooted in prayer and adoration of the Lord Jesus,” he said, adding, “the Lord is the center of everything we do and who we are, so we start there. If you are familiar with the power of Eucharistic adoration, you know the transformation that awaits not only the individual students who enter through the heavy oak doors but the entire campus community as well.”

Who Rev. Ross Chamberland O.F.M., director of Lateran Center for Catholic Identity at St. Bonaventure University, planned and executed his vision to transform St. Joseph’s Oratory into a Eucharistic Adoration Chapel that would be open to students 24/7.

While the Eucharistic Adoration Chapel is primarily for students at St. Bonaventure University, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and anyone in the community interested in praying in this space may obtain a security access card by contacting Fr. Ross Chamberland.

Link to history of St. Joseph’s Oratory

Links to high-resolution Photos of Oratory to download:

Oratory building with library in background

Horizontal shot with lilies surrounding foundation and campus buildings in background

Horizontal shot of Oratory in the fall

Vertical shot of Oratory in the fall

Glass tabernacle with monstrance inside Oratory

New Monstrance (which holds the Holy Eucharist and is placed in the tabernacle).

New chandelier in Oratory

Original solid oak front doors now have a new security access system in place

Fr. Ross opening front doors




New perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapel to Open May 4 at SBU: Public Invited

St. Bonaventure University is opening up a perpetual Eucharistic adoration chapel on May 4  in the historic, round brick St. Joseph’s oratory located in the center of campus. The public is invited to attend the special 4:00 Mass in the main university chapel, and then join the solemn procession of the Eucharist after Mass to the Oratory where it will be placed in a custom glass tabernacle for perpetual adoration. The new Eucharistic Adoration chapel is the first initiative of the university’s Lateran Center for Catholic Identity directed by Fr. Ross Chamberland O.F.M. Fr. Ross invites the public to apply to the Lateran Center to obtain security access cards to enter the chapel at any time following the May 4 opening. Email: For more information on the chapel, visit

To download high-resolution pictures of the historic building for use in your publication, visit


 Back to SBU Oratory page