The idea behind this is that when one approaches the centre from the entrance, the scene becomes brighter. This is also in keeping with the design of the building itself which goes below ground level, with only a single shaft of light coming down through the high roof in the center so the lighting is naturally dark making the Reredos a central focus of light, brightness and hope.
The black cross outside the Chapel is made of carbonised oak, which came from a three hundred year old Irish oak tree. The surface treatment is the application of used engine oil to the surface of the wood which is then burned off using a gas flame. This leaves the black carbonised effect. The cross was made by Irish sculptor, Michael Warren. It is a representation of Christ’s passion and death.
The Chapel was officially opened by Most Reverend Dr. Joseph Cassidy, Archbishop of Tuam on the 15 July 1990 accompanied by His Excellency Archbishop Emmanuele Gerada, Papal Nuncio.
In his opening address, Archbishop Cassidy said “This is a most unusual chapel. It doesn’t stand up in the air as chapels usually do. It bows its head a bit, hunches its shoulders. It goes down on its knees, snuggles into the earth, prostrates itself before God in humility and self effacement. It puts the emphasis on depth and interiority. It suggests that there’s more to the spiritual life than meets the eye. It indicates that what goes on underneath, in the depths of one’s being is of supreme importance. In its design and construction it makes a powerful statement about the importance of our inner life.”
Monsignor Dominick Grealy (P.P. of Knock at that time) in his welcome address said “May this building be a source of healing of the countless wounds which inflict us all – physical, mental and spiritual. May it be a haven of peace, a rest for souls, a Chapel of Reconciliation with God and neighbour.”
The Chapel of Reconciliation was designed by Architects Shane De Blacam and John Maher, Dublin and it was chosen from among hundreds of entries to an Irish architectural competition. The building contractor was J.J. Rhatigan & Co., Milltown, Co. Galway.