Parish prepares for Pentecost with candlelight prayer vigil

By on June 13, 2014

Photo: Members of St. Gall Catholic Church recently held a vigil in celebration of Pentecost. Courtesy photo by Donna Doherty submitted to

ELBURN—With new ministry comes new ideas, and St. Gall Catholic Church bore witness to a new idea on Friday.

During a discussion about Pentecost and its importance to the church as a whole, Rev. Tim Siegel envisioned a prayer service—a vigil—just prior to the celebration of Pentecost.

“I thought it would be neat to do something unique and different during the celebration of the birth of the church,” Siegel said. “The idea of a vigil came to my mind. A vigil is usually at night, with lots of candles.”

Parishioner Heather Sidman was among the group that helped to plan the special service.

“Something like this helps us to come together as a community, to pray together, rather than just attending Mass,” Sidman said.

“It gives us some enthusiasm and energy, and I think everyone got something out of it,” she added.

Siegel has been the spiritual leader at St. Gall for just a few days shy of two years.

“This parish is a wonderful community,” he said. “But we belong to the larger church in the world. We’re celebrating our little place in the big picture.”

Siegel said the service is significant because of the spirituality of the people, adding it’s a very generous spirituality.

“People really care about St. Gall, their great memories of the past and real hope for the future,” Siegel said.

Among the prayers were some relating to a tangible and important goal, according to Siegel.

“We need the faithfulness of the entire church community, because we’re hoping to build a new facility in the next few years, maybe three or four,” Siegel said.

Built in the mid-1920s, Siegel said the building was erected at time when churches had a lot of steps. “They were built higher to be more prominent in the community and to look like a more worthy place to worship God. That was the architecture of the day,” he said.

Not only is the building showing signs of age, Siegel said handicapped accessibility is the larger issue.

“It’s more than a medical issue; it’s very much a civil rights issue,” Siegel said. “The church is supposed to be available for all people at all times, but because we have so many steps, we lack ease of access.”

Siegel said the lift, installed many years after the church was built, is not the answer to accessibility issues.

“It’s not reliable, it breaks down and with a lack of access, we’re excluding some very important people from worship,” Siegel said. “A church looks more like a place to worship if everybody can be there.”