Father Kevin O’Brien blesses new crosses atop Healy Hall

As tourists flock to the District this summer to see the repaired Washington Monument after the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that rattled the east coast in 2011, the landmark is not the only part of the capital’s skyline that has been revamped 3 years later.

Five new crosses were blessed last Wednesday by Father Kevin O’Brien S.J., vice president of Mission and Ministry, who ascended to the top of Healy Hall with a lift. The new crosses replaced the old, damaged crosses that had remained atop Healy for over 100 years before the earthquake of 2011.

“The crosses tie us to Georgetown’s storied history as told by its architecture,”  O’Brien wrote in an email to Vox. “The crosses also remind us of Georgetown’s religious foundation and our centuries’ old commitment to the integration of learning, service, and faith.”

The crosses were removed prior to Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The new crosses were designed to look as similar as possible to the old ones, with a more durable stone to withstand DC’s unpredictable weather. However, their newer appearance stands out from the aged Healy Hall.

“The stone does not show the aging of history and the elements [of Healy Hall]- yet,” O’Brien wrote.

John Carroll‘s statue stood small in the eyes of Father O’Brien as he rose over Georgetown’s campus (with no fear) to bless each cross.

“I was too in awe of the view to be nervous! Plus, I was in the very good hands of Juan from our Facilities staff who assured me all along,” O’Brien wrote.

The old crosses will still remain tied to the Hilltop. One has already been placed at the Calcagnini Contemplative Center, Georgetown’s new retreat center in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Three of the other crosses will be placed under the main window of Dahlgren Chapel, and the exact location on campus of the fifth cross has not yet been determined. 

While every freshman this year will flock to take their picture on John Carroll’s lap, Vox thinks that O’Brien may have started a new trend for more daring Hoyas: a selfie on top of Healy with the new crosses.

Photo: Georgetown University 

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