For now, the chapel of perpetual adoration at Cathedral of Christ the King is a modest, small room with a sign-in roster and a wall of Post-It notes.
That will soon change. The church is opening a spacious cherry-paneled chapel with enough stained glass to light up the entire Chevy Chase neighborhood in which the church has sat since 1960.
The new perpetual adoration chapel is part of a $6.3 million project that also includes a rectory update and other upgrades.
The exterior walls of the new adoration chapel are Indiana limestone that matches the rest of the church, giving the feeling that the new chapel has always been a part of the structure.
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Old-fashioned stained glass panels line the rounded area near the ceiling, which includes newer saints and candidates for sainthood such as Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa, while more contemporary stained glass panels line the area around the entrance, which features older saints. The contrast is deliberate.
The idea behind the perpetual adoration chapel is to assure a continuous stream of prayer and quiet reflection, said Sal Nalli, who headed fund-raising efforts for the project.
"Jesus is present to all visitors who come," he said. "He's a real life presence to those who come here."
The St. Kevin's Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapel is named for Saint Cóemgen, anglicized to Kevin, an Irish saint who was known as the founder and first abbot of Glendalough in County Wicklow, Ireland.
Honoring Saint Kevin was the idea of Deirdre Lyons, who with her husband, Pearse Lyons, and Bob and Martha Trussell were among the donors for the project.
The new chapel lets church members experience their spirituality "in an intimate and special way," Trussell said.
Congregants will sign up for shifts to pray 24 hours a day, seven days a week, an idea that was encouraged in the 1980s by Pope John Paul II.
Rector Mark Dreves said that Deirdre Lyons "basically had a hand in everything" in the chapel design except for the windows around the entrance. She chose Saint Kevin to honor the memory of her brother-in-law Kevin Lyons, who died in 1978.
Zig Zeigler was commissioned to create eight windows for the chapel: five larger ones that include the Holy Family, Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II, Saint Gabriel and Saint Michael, and three smaller windows that depict Saint Kevin and Ireland.
Diane Cashen, who was spending time in the current adoration chapel on a recent Wednesday, said she believes in the special nature of spending contemplative prayer time there, because of its "tremendous amount or miracles and power to our family. ...
"This has been a little and intimate place that is an example of the idea of 'when two or three are gathered in His name.'"