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people attending mass at the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas

“I just miss it.”

Wilhelm Gomes ’21 is referring to the incredible organ found behind the sanctuary in the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas. The beautiful instrument went silent in early May when the chapel closed for renovations.

Gomes proudly serves as a chapel music assistant at St. Thomas, a role that gives him a behind-the-scenes look at Mass preparation on campus. He loves his work, and he’s grateful and excited for the chapel improvements.

“When the chapel plans were announced, I was excited. I was optimistic. I knew that the walls were cracking and half the lights were burned out. I was really happy to know that this chapel was going to be restored to its former glory,” he said. “The only thing that I took with a little disappointment is the fact that we needed to leave for the renovations.”

Gomes first visited campus in his senior year of high school, and he remembers walking into the chapel.

“I came onto campus in December, during winter break. I was given a tour, and we went into the chapel and all the lights were off. Nobody was in there. It struck me how large it was and how reverent our tour guide was in the space. It was wonderful to be invited in that way,” he said.

He has since embraced his faith and plans to minor in Catholic studies, in addition to pursuing a degree in music composition. “My heart had come to a point where it was willing and open to faith at the time I was coming to school. It was the right time for it.”

The Iversen Center for Faith will open in the fall of 2020, and Gomes can’t wait. “I’m really happy that the office concerned with the chapel will now be attached to it!” In the meantime, he will be enjoying the chapel’s refreshed interior.

“I really like celebrating Mass in the space. The architecture is really cool, but the charism of the way we do liturgy in the chapel has a lot of eclecticism to it – a healthy combination of traditional and contemporary. One that doesn’t clash, it all melds very intricately and beautifully,” he said.

The chapel project will be fully funded through philanthropy, and Gomes is bursting with gratitude for our donors.

“Thank you. This chapel means the world to me, and I know it does to the rest of our staff and faculty as well. I may be from Bloomington, but the chapel will forever remain a home away from home for me.”


If you are moved to be part of the chapel’s renovation, consider making a gift today. Donors giving $1,000 or more by Dec. 31 will be recognized through a permanent display. Click here to learn more about the chapel renovation.