UD announces plan to construct grotto


Evan Hierholzer, Managing Editor


The new grotto project will be devoted to Our Lady of Guadalupe. –Copyright iStock.com/David Lovinck
The new grotto project will be devoted to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
–Copyright iStock.com/David Lovinck

President Keefe announced on Monday in an interview that he is launching an initiative to construct a grotto on campus, which is to be dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

As of now, the location of the grotto has not been decided, nor has a design been accepted. The initiative has met with board approval, however, and the president is now seeking ideas and suggestions regarding the site and design of the grotto from students, faculty and alumni.

“I am looking for pictures of shrines and grottos that [students] have seen that we might emulate. I’m looking for designs they might submit,” said Keefe. Ideas and pictures of prospective grotto designs may be emailed to president@udallas.edu.

According to Keefe, Our Lady of Guadalupe, who appeared to Juan Diego in 1531, embodies the growing diversity of the University of Dallas, which has attracted students from all over the continent as well as outside of it.

“She is the empress of the Americas. She appeared to Juan Diego as an indigenous American. She is the most holy symbol of the beautiful amalgamation of all the peoples who have made up the greatness of the Americas,” said Keefe.

Grotto projects have previously been initiated in the university’s history, but none of them have fully come to fruition. In the construction of the new grotto, one of the older projects, the statue of Mary outside of the Church of the Incarnation, will not be supplanted, but supplemented, according to Keefe.

“I have a desire to keep the promises that were made in the past. We promised 20 years ago that we would create a grotto on campus. Now is the right time. The university is moving forward. The university is adding a new academic building, the university is raising more money and has never been healthier. It is important as we succeed that we remember our central mission and we manifest that every single day,” said Keefe.

Regarding the location of the grotto, both Keefe and Robert Galecke, executive vice president, emphasized the need for a balance between contemplative seclusion and enough visibility for the safety of all visitors.

“There is a real-world concern that the shrine … or grotto would be in a location that is reverent but is visible enough so … anyone can visit it at any time of day and be secure and safe in their contemplation,” said Keefe.

Though a location and a design have yet to be determined, Keefe expressed confidence in the realization of the grotto initiative.

“[I] believe that if you will build it, the money will come. The money will follow the right idea. This is the right idea at the right time. I promise that we will build it and that we will find the revenue necessary in order to do this from charitable, donated sources,” he said.

While Keefe did not provide an exact date or timetable, he hopes that the university will have the grotto by next year.

In addition to his announcement to The University News of the new grotto project, Keefe also hopes to publicize a new confession schedule (see below). Keefe emphasized that the university is extraordinarily privileged to be able to offer such a regular sacramental schedule, given the growing population in a diocese that has around 5,000 Catholics per priest. With the campus seminary filled almost to capacity and a growing number of Cistercians joining the abbey, UD and its future grotto represent a growing spiritual presence, according to Keefe.




The following are the times available for confession:


Walk-in or by appointment with the Chaplain, Fr. Dovorak: He can be contacted at ddvorak@udallas.edu or 972-721-5118 throughout the week, except for Tuesday, his day off.


In the Church of the Incarnation:

Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 11a.m.

Monday and Tuesday after the 5 p.m. Mass

Saturday at 4 p.m.


At Cistercian Abbey:

Wednesday at 4 p.m.


The Dominicans at the Priory will also take walk-ins during the day.




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