Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

January 9, 2003

Angelic reward awaits those who contribute to Heinz Chapel fund

Be an angel — and help one of Pitt’s landmarks.

Heinz Memorial Chapel recently inaugurated the Heinz Memorial Chapel Angel Program, part of an effort to support a building fund for several short- and long-term maintenance projects.

A $150 donation, $100 of which is tax deductible, to the Heinz Chapel Building Fund makes the donor a honorary Heinz Chapel angel and nets a limited edition stained-glass angel ornament. The 6-inch high angels are the work of stained glass artist Marian Fieldson, a native of western Pennsylvania who now lives in Hale’iwa, Hawaii.

“Discovering these angels in Hawaii was serendipitous,” said chapel docent Pat Gibbons. “I was visiting Hawaii and saw some of them on display in a gallery. I wanted one for myself. I got talking to the gallery owner, and learned the artist was from Meadville. She was willing to work with us on this project, and things just clicked.”

Because the angels are handmade, each is unique, Gibbons added.

Angels are Fieldson’s signature design, inspired by holidays spent in Hawaii. She creates them by melting glass at temperatures of more than 2,000 degrees before shaping them into angel form.

“The angels are great window sun-catchers for home display, and they make great gifts for weddings, or for a new baby, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, really, any special occasion,” Gibbons said.

The color of the angels is reminiscent of the chapel’s famous stained-glass windows. And the angels represent a symbol of renewal for the chapel, including preservation and maintenance of the steeple, pews, roof, pipe organ and the famous Charles J. Connick stained-glass windows, Gibbons said.

Although the chapel undergoes routine maintenance, some of its priceless features require more specialized care. “Our most pressing need right now is the steeple,” she said. “One of the gargoyles has fallen and needs to be returned to its original place, for example. We would like to restore the entire steeple over the next three years,” Gibbons said, which is estimated to cost more than $500,000. “These projects are expensive. But the push now, throughout the University, is for units to be self-sufficient. We’re hoping this helps us in that direction.”

Dedicated in 1938 as a gift to the University from Henry John Heinz and his children, the interdenominational chapel stands as one of the foremost examples of French Gothic architecture in the United States.

The Heinz Chapel angel will be issued annually to donors to the building fund. Angels are available for viewing at Heinz Chapel and at the chapel office, 1212 Cathedral of Learning. For more information, call 412/624-4157 or visit the web site:

—Peter Hart

Filed under: Feature,Volume 35 Issue 9

Leave a Reply