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updated: 9/25/2012 10:37 AM

Naperville church's special Mass shines light on those who help

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  • As many as 2,000 luminarias will light the road at Ss. Peter and Paul Cemetery for a special outdoor Mass.

    As many as 2,000 luminarias will light the road at Ss. Peter and Paul Cemetery for a special outdoor Mass.
    Courtesy Nicole Waite Photography


For one night in October, a Naperville mother-daughter team will lead an effort that puts a visual symbol on something not so tangible.

Rita Schmidt and her daughter, Cheryl Kinley, want locals to pay tribute to people who have impacted their lives. Maybe a friend. A neighbor. A teacher.

The pair is encouraging community members to dedicate luminarias in such a person's name for an outdoor Mass Sunday, Oct. 7, at Ss. Peter and Paul Cemetery in Naperville. As many as 2,000 luminarias will light a cemetery roadway and the grotto for the Mass, creating what Kinley says will be a "breathtaking" display.

"This is for a particular person or people in your life who are the light of your life," Kinley said.

Schmidt decided to organize the inaugural Luminary Mass 18 years ago after attending a similar event by another parish in Aurora.

"I was just taken up by the beauty of the evening," Schmidt said.

A group of volunteers will prepare the cemetery for the Mass, arriving Sunday morning. Volunteers still are needed to serve as parking attendants and to clean up Monday morning. The luminarias will stay lit until 11 p.m.

More than 500 people are expected to attend.

"When you come one time and you experience that event and you see the crowd of people that come out to attend, you can't possibly think of just giving it up," Kinley said.

There is a $2 fee to dedicate a luminaria to someone. Order forms are available at and should be completed by Wednesday, Oct. 3. Luminarias also are available for purchase the evening of the Mass from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Proceeds support improvements to the cemetery, including the addition of benches and statues, Kinley said.

The Mass is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. For details and volunteer opportunities, call (630) 355-2740 or (630) 505-0276.

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