By Anne Marie Amacher
LONG GROVE – St. Ann parishioners celebrated a blessing of the columbarium, adoration chapel and reconciliation chapel Nov. 30 with Bishop Martin Amos. The blessings were part of a $1.5 million project at the parish.
Before Mass, Bishop Amos blessed the columbarium (a vault with niches for urns containing ashes of the dead) in St. Ann Cemetery on parish property. The columbarium holds 264 niches, said Msgr. Drake Shafer, the parish’s pastor.
“God of all consolation,” Bishop Amos said, “by your just decree our bodies return to the dust from which they were shaped, yet in your way of mercy you have turned this condition of darkness and death into proof of your loving care. In your providence you assured Abraham, our father in faith, of a burial place in the land of promise. You extolled your servant Tobit for his charity in burying the dead. You willed that your own Son be laid to rest in a new tomb, so that he might rise from it, the victor over death, and offer us the pledge of our own resurrection.
“Grant that this columbarium, placed under the sign of the cross, may, by the power of your blessing, be a place of rest and hope. May those whose remains are housed here sleep in your peace, to rise immortal at the coming of your Son. May this place be a comfort to the living, a sign of their hope for unending life. May prayers be offered here continually in supplication for those who sleep in Christ and in constant praise of your mercy.”
As the 4 p.m. Mass concluded, Bishop Amos led the congregation to the adoration chapel. There he blessed the newly renovated chapel. “Lord and Father of all holiness, from whom the true bread from heaven has come down to us, bless us and the chapel we have prepared for the sacrament of Christ’s body and blood. Through our adoration of your Son present in the Eucharist, lead us to a closer union with the mystery of redemption.”
He sprinkled the chapel with holy water.
Bishop Amos walked across the hall to the new reconciliation chapel where he prayed to God, “Whether out of justice you correct or out of compassion you forgive, your ways with us are always marked by mercy: your chastisement keeps us from perishing forever and your forbearance gives us time to correct our ways. Bless this new chapel of reconciliation. May all who come here find forgiveness, healing and grace.” He sprinkled the chapel with holy water.
The bishop concluded Mass in the gathering space.
Msgr. Shafer said the parish’s $1.5 million project covered other components as well as paying off debt for the great hall addition. A new concrete parking lot in front and back was laid and outdoor lighting for the parking lot and building’s exterior was installed. The lights are programmed, but can be overridden at the parish or by his cell phone.
The Fatima and St. Ann shrines were restored. An 1880s statue of Mary that a parishioner donated has been restored. Its previous home was the former Immaculate Conception Academy in Davenport. A statue of Our Lady, Queen of Angels, outside the great hall, will be restored. An 8-foot replica of the Christ the Redeemer statute that overlooks Rio de Janerio, Brazil, will be installed at the parish.
The sanctuary was made handicapped accessible with installation of a ramp and the removal of steps leading to the presider’s chair and to the ambo. “We use the ramp for everyone to process in,” Msgr. Shafer said.
The small reconciliation chapel was moved to a new area and enlarged, which allowed for expansion of the adoration chapel. A window from the original St. Ann Church has been installed behind the tabernacle. Other windows from the original church are inside the chapel. New stained glass windows were made for the chapel’s entrance doors. The last eight geothermal replacements were completed.
Fiber optic cable and wireless internet are being installed throughout the campus. LED lights are being installed as old bulbs need to be replaced.
With the larger adoration chapel, Msgr. Shafer said he hoped people would sign up for adoration and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament on Friday from 2-6 p.m. “There are now 16 chairs. There is plenty of room for many to come spend time with the Lord.”