We invite you to take a “Virtual Tour” of the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans, St. Michael the Archangel Chapel, our Prayer Garden, our Church Office and our School meeting spaces – click the location you would like to visit:
Our Cathedral Reliquary:
Children praying in front of the relic of the Heart of St. John Berchmans
The chapel was designed by Andrea Nagode, an architect who was residing in Houston, Texas at the time of its conception and completion. She is now a resident of New York. She designed two chapels in Houston at residences of Opus Dei and is now an interior design consultant on the United States headquarters of Opus Dei.
The contractor for the building was Robert Neff and the Shreveport architect was the firm of Slack, Miramont & Associates with Allan Kelly in charge of daily supervision during construction. The foreman for Neff Construction was Don Carson, Jr.
The St. Michael window was copied from a picture taken in Tuscany by The Honorable Thomas E. Stagg and was executed by the Lyn Hovey Studio in Boston, Massachusetts. St. Michael is the archangel who drove Lucifer from Heaven at the time of the revolt. He is also mentioned prominently in the Book of Revelation as being the one who, with the Blessed Mother, will defeat Lucifer for all time at the end of the world. He is revered both as the protector of the Eucharist and of Israel. The bread in his hand represents the Eucharist. The other stasined glass windows were completed in 1997 by the same studio and depict eight Biblical scenes of angels. The donors are listed on the brass plaques in the vestibule.
The two antique carved wooden panels which form the reredos were salvaged from an old church and were obtained from an antique dealer in Pennsylvania. The tabernacle was purchased from an antique dealer in St. Louis. The sculptured bas-relief of Pope John Paul II was purchased in Rome from a Vatican artist, Michael DeMeo, and carried by hand back to Shreveport. The original hangs in the Vatican. The hand-carved medallion of the Holy Family was imported from Ortisei, Italy and was carved from one single piece of linden wood. It was commissioned especially for the chapel.
The crucifix in the Chapel was a gift to the Church of St. John Berchmans in the 1920’s from the Haddad family. It hung below the choir loft in the church until the renovation when it became the focal point for the Chapel. The original paper which accompanied the gift stated that it was a Crusader cross. It was reappraised in 1996 by a representative from the Art Institute of Chicago. She was unable to state positively that it was of that period, but said that it was very old and very fine. Before it was rehung, it was skillfully restored by Francois Degueurce, a French furniture maker who had a studio in Shreveport.
The Sanctuary Lamp is a twin to the one hanging in the Cathedral and was originally commissioned by Mr. and Mrs. Camille Richardson, Sr. for the chapel at St. Vincent’s Academy. When the chapel was demolished, Bishop Friend gave it to Rev. Albert Richardson who had hung it in his living room. He had been looking for a “home” for the lamp and generously donated it to the Chapel. It was made in Paris and since it had hung at St. Vincent’s for so many years, it held many memories for the whole Catholic community.
The altar was designed by Andrea Nagode and built by Robert Neff. The Stations of the Cross, the gold candlesticks, the missal stand and ambo were all imported from Spain as well as the silver chalice and ciborium. The Holy Water fonts were imported from Italy.
The carpet was designed especially for the chapel and was dyed to match the tapestry which was used behind the wood panels in the reredos and also on the seat of the Gothic bench in the entrance. This sedalia was originally used in St. John Berchmans Church on the altar before the renovation as were the two carved servers’ chairs on either side of the presider chair.
The outside dedication plaques were designed by Andrea Nagode and executed by B & B Cut Stone with the lettering done by Shreveport Monument Co. One plaque lists the O’Brien family in whose memory the Chapel was built, with the date of the Chapel dedication, and the other is a quotation taken from a plaque outside of a church in Bermuda. The brass plaques in the vestibule list all the donors and memorials.