The Rockford Register Star
For Steven Sabo, an all-access church is all-access to spiritual health
A decision to leave St. Peter Catholic Church open to the public 24/7 may be questionable to many, but the Rev. Steven Sabo is confident that it is the right thing to do.
The building, 620 Blackhawk Blvd. in South Beloit, will serve as a "spiritual ER clinic."
"I want people to get to Jesus when they need him the most. When you have a crisis, you go straight to the King."
As for the potential of theft and vandalism, "we trust in the holy angels to protect us, and we have exterior cameras on the church. We'll know who is entering and leaving."
Other changes include making the church handicapped-accessible in hopes of drawing senior citizens back to the church.
"I want them know St. Peter is their home, and I want them to feel comfortable here."
Sabo, pastor of St. Peter and of Church of the Holy Spirit in Roscoe, is a former Rockford police and fire chaplain, a job he reluctantly gave up because of time constraints. The chaplain's primary function is to provide support and assistance to police officers, firefighters, other city employees and their families during a crisis.
They also assist first responders in helping victims and the victims' families during calls for service involving a death or serious injury.
"I love chaplain work. It's near and dear to my heart. It's a civic duty to assist police officers and firefighters. I have a brother in law enforcement and an uncle who is a Canadian Mountie.
Sabo said chaplain work is a reminder to pray daily for those who put themselves in harm's way and who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to protect others.
-- Chris Green