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Grand Teton National Park: The Chapel in the Woods

 

About the Chapel in the Woods:

In 1937, a donation of $1500.00 was offered by the Catholic Church Extension Society, in the name of Mr. and Mrs. James Hudson for the erection of a Chapel in the Moran, Wyoming area. Accordingly, the Chapel, built entirely of logs, was erected on the shores of Jackson Lake. The Chapel, in accord with the instructions of the Catholic Church Extension Society, was named The Chapel of the Sacred Heart.

Until 1955, the Mission Church in Jackson and the Chapel of the Sacred Heart were served by the priests of St. Patrick’s Parish in Kemmerer, Wyoming.

By the late 1960’s, the Chapel of the Sacred Heart was in dire need of repair. With the approval of the National Park Service and under the supervision of Reverend Joseph Moroney, the plans were prepared for the complete renovation of the historical Chapel and to add a small addition on the south side of the building. The construction would cost $25,000.00. Once again the Catholic Church Extension Society came to the aid of the Chapel with a grant of $10,000.00. The work was completed in the summer of 1969 and the Chapel was rededicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus by His Excellency, Bishop Hubert Newell on the evening of August the 13th in the presence of a host of people from Jackson, National Park officials, summer employees in Grand Teton National Park and priests of the diocese.

After over 30 years, the severe winters had taken their toll on the 1969 frame addition. The original log beams of the Chapel began to sag causing the roof which they supported to deflect. The frame addition, the log beams, and the roof all needed to be replaced. Under the direction of Reverend Carl Beavers and with the permission of the National Park Service a second renovation was undertaken in 2002. It called for new log beams throughout, a log structure to replace the failing frame addition, a new sanctuary, the installation of a rose window of the Sacred Heart behind the altar, and a new entrance. The total cost was about $450,000.00

That 2002 renovation was made possible by a generous gift from a New York and Wyoming family in memory of the victims of the September 11 tragedy. In addition, the Catholic Church Extension Society made a donation to the renovation in honor of the years of service of Mr. Brian Shanon, a board member of the Society, and in memory of the Chapel’s first benefactors, Mr. and Mrs. James Hudson.

Today, the Chapel of the Sacred Heart provides a quiet respite for prayer and meditation for the thousands of visitors from all over the world who enter her doors every summer.  It is part of the parish of Our Lady of the Mountains in nearby Jackson, Wyoming.

There is no website for the Chapel, but click here for the website of Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church, which has Mass year-round.

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