Our Lady of the Woods Chapel Use Policy

Our Lady of the Woods Chapel is the principal Roman Catholic chapel of Bellarmine University but was not consecrated to serve as a parish church. Rather, the Chapel falls under the canonical jurisdiction of Saint Agnes Parish Church (1920 Newburg Rd). The permission of the local ordinary (Archbishop of Louisville) is required for Mass or other sacred celebrations to take place in any private chapel (Code of Canon Law, Can. 1228).

Upon its completion in 2001, Our Lady of the Woods Chapel was dedicated to serve as the gathering space for Catholic liturgies (e.g., Mass) celebrated on Sundays, weekdays, and Holy Days during the regular academic year (mid-August though early-May). The Chapel also serves as a place for individual or small group prayer and meditation, retreats, musical performances, lectures, and presentations for all faiths as University-sponsored events.

The seven Sacraments of the Church contain rich symbols and meaning that can guide believers into deeper relationship with God. In order to receive any of these Sacraments it is ordinarily required that a person go through some period of preparation in order to insure the person understands the meaning of the Sacrament, and to help them make a sound decision whether or not to receive the Sacrament(s). Then-Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly clarified in April 2001 that “…baptisms and funerals are not to be celebrated on the Bellarmine campus…Because this is a Catholic chapel, this policy would extend to the same services for non-Catholics…While this policy may seem restrictive, long experience leads to the conclusion that this is the best way to guarantee the faithful celebration of the Church’s sacraments with the solemnity and reverence due to them.”


A limited number of weddings are permitted in Our Lady of the Woods Chapel each year in coordination with St. Agnes parish staff for Sacramental preparations. The following provisions may establish eligibility: either the bride or groom must be directly affiliated with the University, one or both of the couple must be fully initiated Roman Catholics and agree to a Catholic wedding, and the couple must sign a contract with the Bellarmine Office of Special Events.

Click for additional details and our application

Funeral/Memorial Services

Throughout Church history, the local believing community has held the responsibility to console those who mourn and to celebrate the life and faith of the deceased. In most instances, the proper setting for this ministry is within the local parish. The Office of Campus Ministry directs Bellarmine students, employees, alumni, and benefactors to contact their local parish for all Funeral Mass celebrations.

Memorial services or liturgies may be requested by and/or held in honor of current or former faculty, staff, students, or benefactors in coordination with Campus Ministry and the Office of Special Events.

To initiate the process to plan a memorial service in the Our Lady of the Woods Chapel and for additional details please complete this application.


In the Catholic Church, Baptism is an initiation into a community of faith. Baptism is a ritual act that affirms that it is not just an act of/for an individual, but an act of/for a faith community.

That is why the Church directs that baptism be celebrated in the specific church community to which a family belongs: the local parish. “Infant baptisms and preparation for baptism should be celebrated in the parish of the parents” (Code of Canon Law, Can. 857.2).

Other Use

The Chapel is occasionally available for external use for other purposes not expressly addressed above. Arrangements for the use of the Chapel are scheduled by the Director of Campus Ministry and coordinated through the Office of Special Events. Please contact the Director of Campus Ministry at 502.272.8051.