The latest renovation to the San Quentin chapel known as Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church was made to the century-old floor.
The renovation was made possible by Salvatore Caruso’s donation of thousands of vinyl wood-like planks; the planks were installed by the San Quentin vocational maintenance program.
“The Children of Abraham Peace Project,” Caruso said, “…was our way to give thanks and gratitude to the God of Abraham for the peaceful fraternity amongst the Christian, Jewish and Muslim people of San Quentin.”
The inmate installation crew, which was assembled by Dante Callegari, consisted of the following: leadsmen Bruce M. Fowler and Scott Mckinstry; assistants Marco Villa, Tare Beltranchuc, Joe Hancock, and Nicola Bucci; and students Brandon Rogers, Jesus Perez, Serio P. Carrillo and Eusebio Gonzalez.
Carl Canses supervised the crew that provided 462 man-hours to lay about 5,000 square feet of the chapel.
“Working on the chapel floor gives me experience I need,” said Bucci, holding on to one of the arm’s-length planks.
For several decades, the chapel floor has been the site for countless inmates and volunteers to gather for learning and celebrating the Christian faith as well as other programs.
ICE reported “24,476 of the 185,507 inmates in the federal Bureau of Prisons system were not citizens…” THE NEW YORK TIMES Dec. 22, 2017
The chapel accommodates various programs and events, such as Restorative Justice Roundtables, which meet weekly to explore restorative practices, and Patten University’s annual open-mic sessions for students to share their artistic expressions.
Moreover, the old chapel floor has served musicians such as Bread & Roses’ Kurt Huget and Tony Saunders, Linda Rice and Giorgi Khokhobashvili, who performed messages of peace and love to the incarcerated population.
Previous upgrades include the installation of remote-control blinds that cover the statue of Mary and Jesus during nonreligious events, as well as three flat-screen televisions, of which two hang high in the front corners and one in the back.
The next upgrade occurred in 2017 with the addition of a carved-wood mural that stretches atop the chapel entrance, depicting the victory of good over evil.
The new floor’s lifespan will be about 50 years. In turn, the chapel will continue to host events and programs, making San Quentin the hub of rehabilitation, unlike any other prison within California.
The once lifeless and grayish tile floor of the chapel is now a vibrant “wood” red.