CRYSTAL LAKE – Monsignor Daniel Hermes is turning St. Thomas the Apostle Church into a 24/7 house of prayer.
A longtime dream of the Catholic priest will become a reality Sunday when the church officially dedicates Holy Hearts Chapel – a new perpetual adoration chapel connected to the Oak Street Church. The chapel will be open to the public from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day while members who request and receive security cards can access the chapel at any time.
A dedication ceremony led by Bishop David Malloy of the Rockford Diocese will be at the chapel following the 5:30 p.m. Sunday Mass at the Oak Street Church on 451 W. Terra Cotta Ave. in Crystal Lake. Before then, Hermes said finishing touches including a stained glass window and pew installation need to take place.
“Pope John Paul II encouraged every parish to have a perpetual adoration chapel and more and more people are responding to that around the world,” Hermes said. “We’ve talked about it here for years so we are very, very excited and very grateful it is finally here.”
Once the congregation decided to pursue the chapel, it did not take long to raise the money. Hermes said within six weeks, enough parishioners made three-year financial pledges to fully fund the roughly $700,000 addition.
Hermes said it would be an important supplement to the church, offering a silent haven in the often fast-paced environment of the church that hosts weddings, musical performances and large masses. By accommodating no more than 30 people at one time, the Holy Hearts Chapel will maintain an intimate atmosphere.
“I think the church and the chapel really enrich each other,” he said. “This is a place where we want everyone to feel welcomed. You don’t have to be Catholic. People can come in to pray, reflect or think.”
He said he has heard “phenomenal” stories about personal conversions and powerful prayer from other parishes with perpetual adoration chapels.
“It’s like planting a tree,” Hermes said. “You hope to plant it and see it flourish for generations of people.”