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President's Blog: The stories behind the St. Thomas Chapel
Posted 02/05/2018 01:58PM

President's Blog: The stories behind the St. Thomas Chapel

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

--Thomas Merton

As a lifelong student of history—especially art history—I love to learn about the stories behind the rich tapestry of our world. I was blessed to experience three trips across Europe over a period of seven years, during which time I visited countless museums, cathedrals, and historical sites. There is so much to see, and never enough time to see everything—in my three separate visits to the Louvre Museum in Paris I can honestly say I have only viewed a fraction of the artwork and exhibits.

One of my favorite places to visit was the Vatican, home of St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museum, and the Sistine Chapel. Inside St. Peter’s, one can stand on the spot (marked with a red porphyry disc called the Rota Porphyretica) where Charlemagne was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Leo III on Christmas Day, 800. The disc was preserved from the original St. Peter’s Basilica, and was installed in the current Basilica, rebuilt during the Renaissance. The spot is not visibly labeled or identified—the story is told by tour guides or guide books—and is a great example of the hundreds of unmarked historical sites throughout Rome. St. Peter’s contains an endless array of artwork and detail, from the altar designed by Bernini, to perhaps the greatest achievement in sculpture by Michelangelo, the Pieta. The Pieta was tragically damaged by a deranged visitor to the Basilica in May 1972 (the man leapt over a railing and smashed the face of Mary with a hammer). Artists restored the sculpture to its original brilliance and beauty and the Pieta now resides behind a panel of bullet proof glass in the North Aisle of the Basilica.

During the Faith and Future campaign, numerous donors and supporters of the chapel project sponsored artwork, furnishings, and spaces within the St. Thomas Chapel. Along the way, we captured the stories of the people and the spaces. Please enjoy these “chapel stories” and as you visit the St. Thomas Chapel, we hope you experience a connection to the families who helped make this amazing addition to AMHS become a reality.



These stories have been written in sequence of how one would experience the St. Thomas Chapel and Belltower starting outside, going in the Narthex, then the Nave, seeing the Stations of the Cross, Marian Shrine and Choir Alcove, and ending at the Altar area.



Fr. Armando Guzman renewed the wedding vows of the parents of Ken Millner on what was their 68th anniversary in 2005 on the AMHS campus. Following the renewal Ray and Tina Millner talked with Fr. Armando about future plans for a chapel on campus. The nickel plated solid brass bell was left to their son Ken, father of Joseph ‘06.  As Ken heard of the construction of the St. Thomas Chapel he contacted the school and delivered the bell on what would have been his parents 80th wedding anniversary, June 7. The bell once resided on the front of a Northern Pacific locomotive in the late 1800s or early 1900s. The original red color of the inside of the bell has been preserved.

Shannon and Tyra O’Kelley (parents of Brenna ‘16) supported the sound system of the bell tower in honor of his parents. Shannon served on the board of trustees and on various board committees. He helped the school develop a comprehensive athletic training and conditioning program, and brought tremendous energy and support for the St. Thomas Chapel as a member of the Faith and Future campaign committee.


Marshall and Katherine Cymbaluk and Jeff and Jodie Cymbaluk made transformative gifts to the Faith and Future campaign towards the St. Thomas Chapel. A sign honoring the family, along with the cornerstone, are displayed in the walk through of the bell tower. The parents of Jaime ‘17 and Hannah ‘20, Jeff and Jodie led the glassybaby votive project in the Marian Shrine. Marshall challenged the AMHS community, during the 2016 DREAM auction, to raise the remaining funds to finish the construction of the chapel. His 90-Day Challenge inspired those in attendance that evening and over the course of the next three months to finish the chapel campaign.


Lon and Joan Carlson sponsored the Marian Grotto and the entrance doors to the St. Thomas Chapel. The parents of Megan ‘10, and Beth ‘13, Lon and Joan both volunteered during the girls athletic seasons in basketball and volleyball--Joan often served as a volleyball line judge, and Lon helped with the scorers table. Joan also served as a  LINK cookie lunch room volunteer, and she attended countless parent association meetings and events, providing seasonal lunches for the faculty and staff, and speaking with prospective families at Open Houses.

Lon was a member of the board of trustees. Lon and Joan were members of the Faith and Future campaign, and supported an endowment to provide tuition assistance for young women who are interested in the fields of math and science.



The Archive Wall was a special project of Mike Patterson, a close friend of Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy. Mike travelled to Rome with Archbishop Murphy when he received his pallium from Pope John Paul II. The pallium is a reminder of the ministry of the Good Shepherd who carries the sheep over his shoulder. Symbolically, it is made of white wool. All archbishops wear a pallium along with their other traditional vestments. Pope John Paul II conferred the pallium on Archbishop Murphy in St. Peter’s Basilica on June 29, 1992.

Gary and Sandra Mitchell provided their support to the chapel towards the narthex section where the archive wall is located. Gary was a close friend of Brian Murphy, who served as a member of the board of trustees and is the nephew of Archbishop Murphy. Gary is a strong advocate for higher education and serves on the board of regents of the University of Pacific.

The archive wall includes a relief of Archbishop Murphy which was donated by another close friend, Ray Aspiri. The episcopal coat of arms was designed by Archbishop Murphy to represent his personal life and ministry. As the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Seattle, Archbishop Murphy helped Holy Cross High School navigate challenging financial times. His commitment to the school kept it from losing acreage on the current property. For his dedication and service to the school, the board of trustees voted to rename the school in his honor in 1999.


The St. Thomas statue was donated by Pat and Nicole Mulvaney, parents of three AMHS graduates (Kyle ‘12, Connor ‘15, and Keara ‘17).  As the patron saint of architects, St. Thomas the Apostle was known as Thomas the Builder. According to legend, in his later years, he preached the Gospel in India and was asked to build a church. He is often depicted holding an L square as a testament to his skill as a builder. Thomas was the apostle who had a hard time initially believing Jesus rose from the dead, thus earning the nickname “doubting” Thomas. Upon seeing the risen Jesus, and placing his hand in the wound in Jesus’ side and touching the wounds on his hands, Thomas believed. In some respects, he's the perfect intercessor for teenagers who often struggle with their own beliefs and need to "see to believe."


Early designs for stained glass in the chapel called for colored glass on the windows behind the altar platform. However the community responded positively to the clear view of the trees behind the chapel. Another project involved the reclamation of stained glass panels from the Providence Heights Church in Issaquah. The current project calls for Catholic symbols of the Holy Trinity on the windows of the entry-wall of the chapel, from the narthex. This project was generously sponsored by the following families:

Monti and Maryanne Ackermann, parents of Patrick ‘05 and Tony ‘07. Maryanne worked at AMHS for many years in the student services office and volunteered countless hours at athletic events for her two sons.

Michael and Julia McDonnell, parents of John ‘04, Peter ‘08, and Liam ‘16. Julia brought her experience as a physician into the classroom when she taught in the AMHS science department.

Billy and Kelly King honored the memory of their son Daryl with their support of the stained glass window project.

Bill and Leya Brooking, parents of Dominque ‘20, honored the memory of Bill’s mother with their support of the chapel window project. Bill served as a member of the finance committee of the board of trustees.



Don and Anne Schmutz donated the icon of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus--the Jesuit Order. The Schmutz family valued the gift of Catholic education they provided to their children and loved seeing their grandchildren (Houston ‘16 and Sydney ‘19 Schmutz) attend AMHS. The values of education, service, and leadership connect the Jesuit charism to the mission of Archbishop Murphy High School.

Artist information:

Pamela M. Mauseth is a local mosaic artist and was commissioned to create the mosaics of the Madonna with Child, St. Jude, and St. Ignatius of Loyola. Using broken pieces of glass and porcelain, her genre encompasses religion to nature; realism to abstract. A native of Seattle, now residing in Carnation, Washington, Ms. Mauseth has work featured at Auburn City Hall, Seattle Mosaic Arts Gallery, Timber Creek Gallery, and Camp Solomon Schechter. Her first mosaic, depicting St. Francis of Assisi and the Wolf of Gubbio, resides at the Monks of New Skete Monastery in Cambridge, New York.


Mo and Cary Halpin were part of the founding families of Holy Cross High School. The “kitchen table” families actually gathered at the Halpin kitchen table when they planned the opening of the first Catholic high school in Snohomish County.  Along with Dick and Mary Henderson, Mo and Cary were not able to send their own children to Holy Cross or AMHS, but were blessed to send their grandchildren--Jalen ‘13, Cali ‘14, and Jensen ‘17 Crisler. Mo and Cary donated the icon of St. Jude, patron saint of hope and impossible causes. They, like so many other families connected to the Holy Cross and AMHS community, weren’t sure they would see the completion of a chapel. This icon represents the power of prayer and of hope. The Halpin family also sponsored the fifth Station of the Cross.


Sam Newland donated the portrait of St. Cecilia and the portrait of Our Lady of Guadalupe in honor of his daughters Alayna ‘17 and Samantha and his appreciation for the Catholic education they received at AMHS and Bishop Blanchet High School.  Alayna was a member of the AMHS choir and also attended a service trip to Guatemala through a group organized by Deacon Dennis Kelly and Immaculate Conception Parish.

St. Cecilia is the patroness of musicians and is often displayed with a musical instrument--St. Augustine said that "to sing is to pray twice."

The Blessed Mother appeared to a Native American and reassured him God had blessed the Americas. She appears neither as purely Spanish nor purely Native American but a mixture of both, representing the Mother of All.


The St. Thomas Chapel will be the first location for the Stations of the Cross on campus. AMHS students depict a re-enactment of the Stations on Good Friday each year. Individual stations were named by the following families:

  1. Jesus is condemned to death The Rauvola Family

  2. Jesus carries His cross The Bowman Family

  3. Jesus falls the first time

  4. Jesus meets his mother, Mary The Haynes Family

  5. Simon helps Jesus carry His cross The Halpin Family

  6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

  7. Jesus falls the second time

  8. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem The Bartz Family

  9. Jesus falls the third time

  10. Jesus is stripped of his clothes

  11. Jesus is nailed to the cross

  12. Jesus dies on the cross

  13. Jesus is taken down from the cross

  14. Jesus is placed in the tomb The Henderson Family

John and Bridget Rauvola moved to Snohomish County from Colorado in 2013, and were looking for the right school for their two children, Alexa ‘15 and Josh ‘18. They found a home at AMHS, and their children shared their abundance of gifts and talents with their classmates. John and Bridget were active supporters of the chapel project, as well as generous volunteers at numerous community events.

Jen (Richardson) Bowman ‘00 and her husband Andrew have been tremendous advocates for AMHS. Jen started at Holy Cross High School and graduated from AMHS as a member of the first graduating class from the current campus. Jen served the school as the first alum on the board of trustees, and later served as the director of alumni relations. Jen was the recipient of the alumni of the year award from AMHS in 2015.

Manfred and Karen Bartz blessed the AMHS community with their three amazing daughters Stefani ‘10, Michaela ‘12, and Kristi ‘15. Manfred and Karen were always present at the athletic events of their children, as well as countless performances and celebrations involving all AMHS students. Karen volunteered her time as a tutor for students in the academic support program--her kind and gentle manner helped dozens of students realize their true potential. They selected Station 8: Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem in honor of their three daughters.

Dick and Mary Henderson were members of the “kitchen table” families who founded Holy Cross High School in the 1980’s. Although their own children did not attend Holy Cross or AMHS, their grandchildren (Brady ‘16, Ryan ‘17, and Max ‘19) were blessed to receive a Catholic education at Archbishop Murphy High School. Dick served as a member of the board of trustees, was the varsity boys and girls soccer coach, and served as a financial advisor for the school for many years. In honor of his tremendous service to Holy Cross and AMHS, the Dick Henderson Service Award is presented at graduation each year to a graduating senior. Dick and Mary led the call for all grandparents to support the chapel during the Faith and Future campaign challenge.



The portrait of the Madonna with Child was donated by John and Maria Horning, parents of Ian ‘15 and Rachel ‘17. Maria worked in the Campus Ministry office at AMHS and helped lead the annual KAIROS retreats for junior and senior students. A local artist crafted the three mosaic icons for the chapel. The Marian Shrine contains named glassybaby votives in three colors: white with gold, red, and white. The red and white colors represent Joy and Hope.


Ade Eitner sponsored the processional crucifix in memory of his wife, Irma C. Eitner. While his children did not attend AMHS, Ade is the proud grandfather of Meagan ‘07, Sarah ‘09, Mark ‘12, Paul ‘17, and Jiena ‘20 Schireman.


Bob and Tracy Myers donated the statue of St. Peregrine, patron saint of cancer patients, in honor of their son Sam ‘16. Sam was diagnosed with leukemia in the fall of his junior year at AMHS. His teachers and classmates supported his courageous battle and Sam returned to school for his senior year, graduating as a National Merit Finalist and class valedictorian.


Bob and Tracy Myers donated the statue of St. Benedict, father of Western Monasticism and patron saint of monks and schoolchildren. St. Benedict founded the Benedictine order and who are credited with preserving the religious traditions of the early church.  The Benedictines became the model for all European monastic orders. In the era before formal education at universities, they offered education to those who came to their monasteries.



In 2002, Patti Means joined the AMHS community as the assistant to Terry Ennis in the athletic office. Within a few years, Patti took on additional duties which included serving as the communications and website director, leading all of the school's marketing projects and even serving as the interim athletic director on two separate occasions. In addition to her contributions to the administrative team, Patti was dedicated to the AMHS performing arts program. As an accomplished pianist, she served as the musical accompanist for Carrie Wright in our school productions. Her generous nature and huge heart led her to  share her gifts and talents with St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish where she served as the accompanist for their choir. She was the proud parent of her daughter Katie ‘10.  Following a courageous battle against cancer, Patti passed away in October 2016. Her husband, Bruce Means, donated the piano for the St. Thomas Chapel to honor Patti's service, dedication, and lasting contributions to AMHS.


Jeff and Tracy Green sponsored the choir alcove in the St. Thomas Chapel. The parents of Joey ‘10 and Megan ‘13, Jeff and Tracy served AMHS in a multitude of ways. Jeff was a longtime member of the finance committee of the board of trustees. Tracy taught in the AMHS science department and was the moderator of the Recycling Club. Megan was a member of the AMHS choir and performed at school liturgies during her time as a student. Always committed to the students of AMHS,  Jeff and Tracy attended countless events at AMHS including performing arts concerts, musicals, and athletic contests.



Ed and Stephanie Haynes and Rita Dy Oh sponsored the ambry for the St. Thomas Chapel. The parents of Christopher ‘20, Ed and Stephanie served as active volunteers in the AMHS Development office as well as support of the AMHS community. Stephanie was a regular contributor to the school First Friday lunches for the faculty and staff as well as the annual Christmas luncheon. The holy water tank was donated in memory of Stephanie’s father, Steve K. Oh. The Haynes family also sponsored one of the Stations of the Cross.


Richard and Roberta League sponsored the bible stand and processional candlesticks in memory of June Scott, beloved mother of Roberta (Bobbie) League. June was actively involved in her parishes as she moved from Texas to California to Washington State. June’s great-grandchildren (Houston ‘16 and Sydney ‘19 Schmutz) were blessed to receive the gift of a Catholic education at AMHS. Richard and Bobbie sent all four of their children to Gonzaga Prep in Spokane, Wa as well as Catholic universities for their college degrees.



Tom and Margaret Hoban and Shawn and Kathie Hoban led the Faith and Future capital campaign. The dream of a chapel was the cornerstone of the campaign and the Hoban’s spoke passionately for this project for several years, highlighted by their community asks at the DREAM auctions in 2015 and 2016. Between both families, they sent seven children to AMHS (Kaitlin ‘07, Shannon ‘08, Thomas ‘11, Ellie ‘12, Phil ‘13, Caroline ‘15, and Maddy ‘15). Shawn served on the board of trustees for both Holy Cross and AMHS and Tom served on the board of trustees at AMHS. Margaret and Kathie were active leaders of the AMHS Parent Association and volunteered for countless events. Their passion and inspirational leadership made the Faith and Future campaign a moment that will forever be etched in the history of the school. The corpus on the crucifix of the St. Thomas Chapel is named in appreciation for their tremendous service to Archbishop Murphy High School.


Richard Wemhoff and his wife Fran Regdos sponsored the deacon chairs in memory of their parents, Agnes and Clem Wemhoff and Irene and John Regdos. The parents of Christine ‘06 Wemhoff Wollin, Richard and Fran served the AMHS in a variety of ways. Richard was on the board of trustees and both were actively involved with the AMHS golf tournament.


Deacon Craig Lundberg--father of John ‘03 and Katie ‘05--built the St. Thomas Chapel altar, ambo, tabernacle table, and font. As Deacon of the AMHS sister parish--St. Elizabeth Ann Seton--Deacon Craig also helped acquire the relics of two saints for the altar from the Archdiocese of Seattle. St. Lawrence was a 3th century martyr, sentenced to death by Emperor Valerian in Rome. His feast day is August 10. St. Severus of Alexandria was a 4th century martyr, sentenced to death by Emperor Diocletian in Alexandria. His feast day is January 11. AMHS extends our gratitude and appreciation to Deacon Craig for his gift of carpentry and support of the St. Thomas Chapel.

The altar was a named item donated by Jeanne Marie Lee, widow of Rhoady Lee. While the Lee family did not have any family members attend AMHS, they are longtime supporters of Catholic education throughout Seattle and were friends of Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy. The Lee family travelled with Archbishop Murphy when he received his pallium in Rome from Pope John Paul II in 1992.

The ambo was a named item donated by Deacon Dennis and Mary Kelly, parents of Sean ’09 and Connor ‘12. Deacon Dennis served as Campus Minister at AMHS and along with Deacon Craig, he served as Relic Bearer for the Dedication of the St. Thomas Chapel in October 2017. Mary served on the board of trustees at AMHS and board committees. Their support of the chapel was made in memory of Mary’s younger sister (and beloved aunt to Sean and Connor), Elizabeth Ann Gillespie, who passed away in 2011.

The baptismal font was donated by Dan and T.C. Thacker, parents of Shannon ‘12 and Ben ‘15. Longtime supporters of Catholic schools, Dan and T.C. were active volunteers in the Holy Rosary (Edmonds) and AMHS communities. T.C. served on the AMHS board of trustees, and various board committees, as well as the Faith and Future campaign. Dan and T.C. supported numerous activities involving AMHS students, including the KAIROS retreat program, the boys basketball program, and the boys and girls golf programs.


The statue of St. Joseph was donated by Fr. Joseph Marquart, past trustee and supporter of Holy Cross High School and AMHS. St. Joseph was the foster father of Jesus. Joseph was a  good and upright man who followed his heart and his faith even if he did not quite fully understand God's will. He is the patron saint of all fathers and all workers and is usually shown with some sort of tool in his hand.


The Sanctuary Candle was sponsored by the Knights of Columbus Council 763. AMHS received tremendous support from the Knights of Columbus, including gifts to the Faith and Future campaign and the Heath Hall building campaign. Alum Morgan ‘01 Wolff served as the president of the Knights of Columbus as they pledged their gift to the St. Thomas Chapel.


Duane and Mary Schireman (parents of Meagan ‘07, Sarah ‘09, Mark ‘12, Paul ‘17, and Jiena ‘20) sponsored the restoration and preservation of the tabernacle for the St. Thomas Chapel. They wanted to preserve one of the few historical pieces that AMHS had as a nod to all of the celebrations with the Eucharist AMHS had in whatever space was  available, to now its permanent place in the chapel. Duane and Mary served as members of the Faith and Future campaign, and their commitment to the chapel was an inspiration to the AMHS community.

Fr. Armando Guzman obtained the tabernacle from Fr. Oliver Duggan, pastor of Assumption Parish in Seattle. The pelican featured on the front of the tabernacle is a symbol of the sacrifice of Christ and is often depicted in Christian art. The pelican is believed to pierce its own breast to feed its young of its blood.

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