“On February 6, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt withdrew an initial 126,720 acres of Utah land from the public domain for use by the War Department. Six days later Dugway Proving Ground was established... Testing was under way by that summer. Dugway Proving Ground was authorized to fill the need for testing weapons and defenses against chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction. Over the years, the proving ground underwent various name changes and periods of deactivation and reactivation. In 1943, the Army established biological warfare and testing facilities at Dugway… In 1950, the center resumed active status, and acquired an additional 279,000 acres of land for exclusive use… In 1968, the Fort Douglas-based Deseret Test Center and Dugway Proving Ground combined and became known as the Deseret Test Center. This alliance lasted until 1973, when the present Dugway Proving Ground became
Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel, also known on the base as Dugway Hope or Post Chapel, is located within the U.S. Army’s Dugway Proving Grounds. The chapel has served the families spiritual needs for many years. Fr. Ken Vialpando reverently travels from St. Marguerite Catholic Church in Tooele to celebrate Mass each Thursday at 6PM. Location: Post Chapel ∙ 5100 Valdez Circle ∙ Dugway, UT 84022 & Mail: Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel ∙ c/o St. Marguerite Catholic Church ∙ 15 S. 7TH Street ∙ Tooele, UT 84074 ∙ Phone: (435) 882-3860 ∙ Website: www.stmarguerites.org/
You can find plenty of parking near the “Post Chapel” sign located near the walkway that leads to the tall salmon colored chapel. Before arriving to the double glass doors, there is a Religious Services Schedule on the right side that includes services for the many denominations. Military Chapels are built for multi-denominational worship because there would not be enough room to build each religion their own worship space. A tall lightning rod is on top of a very tall steeple to divert lightning away from the church, because churches require special consideration due to their height, roof style and construction type.
The entrance is through double glass doors that are framed by two other glass panels and many more panels above. The glass looks to be tinted for sun protection. A clock hangs above the entrance on the inside. A sleek and contemporary Baptismal Font is directly across from the entry doors and takes center stage before proceeding down the main aisle. A little to the left and after the font is a U.S. Army Unit Ministry Team standing banner. There is a lounging or meeting area complete with comfy seating on the right side along with AV equipment and a white board. The left side is partitioned off. Seven rows of blue cushioned chairs with attached kneelers are just beyond the meeting area. There is a center aisle and two side aisles. A rolling book rack is near the front that holds misselettes and music books ready for parishioners.
The creamy white walls inside are tall enough to have a second story. Antique bronze Stations of the Cross, mounted on Red Adler wood panels, are almost halfway up and evenly divided along the side walls. Large glass panels are along the top of the side walls and have sunscreen roller blinds to help keep the glare and heat at bay. There are many silk flower plants and dwarf trees inside that add wonderful color. Lovely paintings along the side walls and below the Stations of the Cross also add to the ambiance. But no flower is as beautiful as the ones depicted in the very large stained glass window to the left of the altar area and next to the music area. The blue, gold and red colors of the glass bring in a warm glow to the altar area.
The altar area is framed with the U.S.A. flag on one side and U.S. Army flag on the other. Two carved chairs are to the right of the Army flag and just behind the elegant grand piano. Three black cushioned chairs are situated on the side of the piano and facing the parishioners. There is a large podium in front of the altar that features an embroidered green banner, since it is Ordinary Time. The altar table is draped in a lovely embroidered olive colored cloth with a white lace cloth below. A large detailed crucifix is just behind the altar table and below a very large white screen.
During Fr. Ken’s homily, I heard something that resonated through my soul because of my personal situation. He said, “Our first thought for prayer is to ask the Lord to deliver me from this cross. Take it away from me so I don’t have this cross and I can live in peace. But, there was a saint that said that we should not be praying that He take the cross from us, but He gives us the strength and the courage to carry the cross that we have. For it is through the cross that we can experience not only the power of the Lord’s death, but the power of His resurrection as well.” I happen to have an obvious cross, for it is my health and I will be praying a different way from now on. Thank you Fr. Ken for your kindness, timing, wisdom and guidance.
There are not enough words to express my sincere gratitude for being able to attend mass at this Army Base. I have been blessed with an evening of wonderful spirituality and fellowship among extreme hospitable people. I can’t thank them enough for being so very kind and welcoming to this church hopper as I start to wind down my pilgrimage. Thanks to the men and women that serve our country in the armed forces to protect us. Thank you all for your bravery and service to us all! Lord, I pray that you will be there with them to guide them through whatever challenges and trials they face. Please protect them and watch over their families. Amen