The Divine Mercy Adoration Chapel was formally dedicated on Dec. 4, on the grounds of St. Ignatius Catholic Church, with hundreds of parishioners present to observe and celebrate.
“The chapel is a place where people find peace,” said Father Devon Nash, a former pastor now stationed in Kingston, Jamaica. “It’s a place of prayer and silence and everyone can come.”
In fact, people do come, even if they are not Catholic, said Angela Miller, one of the chapel coordinators, adding that they appreciate the quiet atmosphere and the opportunity to sit and reflect.
As a coordinator, Mrs. Miller helps schedule a roster of “watchers” – people who volunteer for a specific hour each week in response to the question Christ asked his apostles in the Garden of Olives: “Could you not watch one hour with me?”
As a result, the chapel is kept open until midnight every night so that people can stop in when their work and family duties allow them a few minutes. The chapel is open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m.; from 7 a.m. Saturday; and from 10 a.m. Sunday.
The dedication ceremony began with prayers led by the Archbishop of Kingston, Most Rev. Kenneth Richards. He then walked around and through the building, sprinkling it with holy water and burning incense. Sunday Mass was then offered inside the larger church building. Afterward, the archbishop carried the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance from the church to the chapel in a solemn procession. With the monstrance installed on the chapel altar, parishioners filed through to view what their hard work had achieved.
Earlier, their pastor, Father Suresh Rajaian, reminded them that the building project started in January with a $200,000 fundraising goal, and ground was broken in April. He thanked them for coming together as a community.
“Whenever I approached people, nobody said no,” he told the congregation.
He saluted the care and concern invested by workers who built the chapel and landscaped the grounds.
Costs of the project were met by donation pledges, and fundraisers that included a Mother’s Day tea, a multicultural dinner and a garage sale. One especially meaningful project was the Remembrance Tree, for which people could purchase leaves on which were engraved the names of family members, living or deceased. The metal art hangs on the back wall of the chapel.
St. Ignatius has had a chapel for the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament since Father Nash began the devotion in 1998, but the chapel was in the back of the church sacristy, behind an area that also contained storage cabinets, a water cooler, toilet facilities and a small library. Everyone agreed that the chapel needed to be some place special and Father Suresh took up the challenge.
Elie Kozaily of Kozaily Design was the architect who made the new building distinctive while blending with the structure of the church. He also served as project manager. Joseph Out Of Let’s Go Building and Maintenance organized a work crew that was meticulous in attention to detail. Parishioners voted on the name for their chapel and
Divine Mercy Adoration Chapel was the overwhelming choice.
After viewing the interior of the chapel, guests adjourned to the school courtyard for a celebratory lunch and fellowship. Meanwhile, the first watchers were in their place.