Shrine about to open along I-80 in Nebraska

Posted: Friday, June 14, 2002

GRETNA, Neb. (AP) -- Interstate 80 travelers soon will be offered a spiritual rest stop between Omaha and Lincoln.

The Holy Family Shrine, a 48-foot glass Roman Catholic chapel open to people of all faiths, opens in a few weeks atop a hill overlooking the highway.

''This is a place to get away,'' said Omaha architect Jim Dennell, a parishioner at Omaha's Christ the King Church, who designed the $2.2 million chapel and worked with other Catholics for almost a decade to build it.

The chapel, with views of surrounding hills and fields, has limestone paths and gardens. Inside, a spiraling water sculpture symbolizing the shroud of Jesus drips into a circular pool and an 18-by-8-foot pane of glass etched with images of the Holy Family is placed above a 1,400-pound limestone altar.

The Omaha Archdiocese is not involved but has given the shrine its blessing, Dennell said.

Future plans call for building a retreat shelter and a residential village on the surrounding 23 acres.

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