What’s The History Behind Columbus Day Mass In Boalsburg?

Local News

Boalsburg, Pa- Monday is the eighty-first official celebration of the Columbus Day holiday. Boalsburg’s roots to the holiday go deeper than most places in the country.

Everything inside of the Columbus Chapel, besides the floors, is exactly the same as it would be if the chapel was still attached to the Columbus’ Castle in Spain. And every Columbus Day, a special mass is held inside the chapel to honor the explorer.

Stepping Inside the Columbus Chapel you see the layout of where Christopher Columbus worshipped in the fifteenth century.

“It’s a special place, and it only gets used for mass one time a year,” said Ruth Brigandi, a tour guide at the chapel.

Only on Columbus Day locals, including the State College Knights of Columbus, meet in the chapel consecrated by the Roman Catholic Church for a dedication mass to the devout Catholic explorer.

“This is a positive thing, mainly because of what he did in bringing Christianity to the America’s and people don’t realize that along with many other things that he’s responsible for…at least getting it started if nothing else. Without him, we’d never have been here,” said Ned Rhine, the Faithful Navigator of the State College Knights of Columbus.

And to Brigandi, the feeling of the service carries historical weight. “It’s special to think that you are having mass in the same kind of a place that people celebrated mass four-to-five- hundred years ago,” she said.

And if you’re wondering why the Knights are dressed in a specific manner for the mass…. the answer goes back one of Columbus’ main occupations…

“Sailing, the admiral as far as the chapeau, the sword, the whole outfit is a representation of Columbus,” Rhine said.

“He opened the doors to the western hemisphere… he was the one who did it. It was called the new world for a long time…. about 100 years… he opened the doors to a new world and that stands the test of time,” Brigandi said.

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