The Student News Site of Cathedral High School | Indianapolis, Indiana

Irish Connection

The Student News Site of Cathedral High School | Indianapolis, Indiana

Irish Connection

The Student News Site of Cathedral High School | Indianapolis, Indiana

Irish Connection

Building Faith: Cathedral’s Upcoming Plans to Build a Grotto

The upcoming construction of a Grotto at Cathedral symbolizes its commitment to deepening the spiritual practices of its students and staff and also developing a spirit of respect and commitment in the school community.

As the end of the year approaches, Cathedral staff are beginning to plan out the 2024-2025 school year with new improvements and additions to its campus and also the school’s academic aspects.

As a Holy Cross School that dedicates itself to providing a welcoming school environment through its countless staff members, who pride themselves in supporting students through their academic and spiritual life, Cathedral hopes to continue to strive towards achieving its goals.

By providing a safe, supportive, and challenging learning environment that enables students to achieve their goals, all while embracing the teachings of Jesus, Cathedral continues to incorporate many new additions to its campus such as a grotto that is planned to be finished sometime this year. Mr. Neeson says, “I’ve been here full-time for 3 school years and it was one of the earlier projects I heard about us doing, and it’s excited me ever since.”

A representation of what the Grotto should look like after its construction. Mr. Landeros says, “The project will be constructed by Envoy, beginning after Memorial Day and completed by September 2024.” The Grotto will be located on the hill by the football field just past Circle Drive. (Photo provided by Mr. Landeros)

For those who might not know what a grotto is, it is, in simplest forms, a small cave that is dedicated to a specific saint or religious figure. It acts as a place for individuals who may be seeking comfort and peace to visit.

Cathedral hopes to use it as a way for students and staff to take time away from the harsh realities of the difficult academic, athletic, and social aspects they may be enduring. Serving as a symbol of spiritual retreat and reflection, grottos can be appreciated for their beauty of quiet contemplation.

One of the most significant grottos found in Indiana, is located in none other than Notre Dame which has had it since the late 1800s. Built as a replica of the Grotto at Lourdes, France where Mary appeared to St. Bernadette, the grotto has further influenced Cathedral into incorporating one of their own. Religion teacher Mrs. Kasberg says, “Since the Congregation of Holy Cross originated in France in 1837, the devotion to Mary at Lourdes was popular in Moreau’s time. So it made sense to build a grotto at Notre Dame both because of Holy Cross’ French roots, but also because Notre Dame is named after Mary.” 

The faith, a crucial component in the lives of many throughout the world, provides meaning, support, and guidance that Cathedral hopes can be strengthened through the Grotto. Mr. Neeson recalls the first time he felt a passion for the faith saying, “I fell in love with my faith at the grotto at Notre Dame. It was maybe the first time I saw the full beauty of the Catholic church coming to offer prayers to one location. I sat at Notre Dame’s grotto for an hour and saw every demographic (single, married, families, widowed, every age range and skin tone represented) as people came to light a candle. I think it would be cool to have the same impact on our campus for our community.” 

Cathedral breaking ground on the grotto on May 13. Mr. Nelson says, “Having the Grotto dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes only further connects our Holy Cross connectivity, as the University of Notre Dame has their grotto dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes as well.” The Grotto will have a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, and a fountain, and the grotto itself will contain candles to light. (Photo by Cathedral Instagram)

As a part of a larger effort to create a more welcoming campus environment that supports the religious and cultural values of Cathedral’s school community, the Grotto serves as a way for students and staff to pray, meditate, and reflect.

The grotto hopes to become a true part of Cathedral and to make Cathedral a more welcoming place for students. Campus Ministry Director, Mr. Neeson says, “Having a beautiful area that is easy to access allows for students, parents, or community members to sit and relax, or sit and pray is a welcome addition at any time here at Cathedral.”

The grotto groundbreaking plans took place on May 13th and will be located near the Circle Drive by the entrance to the football/lacrosse fields. Father Geoff Mooney took part in the consecration and blessing of the grounds prior to the official construction which will begin after the school year finishes.

Construction will begin after Memorial Day and should be completed as early as September 2024. It will include the grotto itself, a small fountain, and a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Mr. Neeson says, “I’d like to see more people just be present to the beauty of our campus.  We’re so blessed at what we have each day we show up to the Hill.  Having a grotto at the entrance should allow for more people to know of a space to pray, or a space to reflect that is open to all.” The Grotto is made possible by the generosity of Ryan Hasbrook, a Cathedral alumni, who graduated from the Cathedral in 1992 and donated the funds to make the grotto come to life. 

Rolly Landeros, Cathedral’s Chief Operating Officer, who is in charge of the Grotto establishment, says, “The Grotto has been in the Cathedral Master plan since 2022 and the intent was to have a place on campus other than our chapel for reflection and reverence for our blessed Mary, mother of Jesus”. 

Father Geoff Mooney blessing the location where the Grotto is going to be located. Mr. Neeson says, “Cathedral was dedicated to Our Lady (Mary, the mother of Jesus) from the beginning. Having a space that helps bring people closer to her son is so important. Mary always points people back to her son.” Candles will be found in the Grotto as a visual representation of one’s prayers and also a way to remind others of Jesus who is the light of the world. (Photo by Cathedral Instagram)

The religion department and other staff members at Cathedral are very excited for the Grotto as well. Religion teacher, Mrs. Kasberg, says, “I am most excited about adding another spiritual place on campus. Other than the chapel, we don’t have another place dedicated solely to prayer and reflection. That’s not to say we don’t have many sacred spaces on campus – we do! Any place that reminds you of God here on the Hill is sacred.”

Mrs. Lewis, another Cathedral Religion teacher says, “I am so excited to take my students to the Grotto for prayer and reflection. I pray it serves as a place of peace on campus for our students.”

Though the Grotto itself won’t be finished anytime soon, it is still causing some much-needed excitement to the Cathedral family. As students now have something else to look forward to as they return to the 2024-2025 school year, the Grotto hopes to provide a welcoming and spiritually moving environment for everyone visiting The Hill. 

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About the Contributor
Camila Jackson
Camila Jackson, Reporter
Camila has been a photographer for the Irish Connection and Irish Megaphone since her freshman year. She is a sophomore and graduates in 2026. Camila lives in Carmel with her 3 brothers and dog. She is a triplet and enjoys reading in her free time and is also a part of the Cathedral Girls Tennis team.

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