Friday, June 28, 2013

This Wednesday, two days ago, the demolition of the historic Chicago church has begun.
St. James Catholic Church in Bronzeville, Chicago, was designed by Patrick C. Keely, and constructed in 1875-80. More information on the church is available through the Friends of History St. James Parish that pleaded with Cardinal George of Chicago not to demolish the church that was in bad need of structural repairs (the costs for the project were projected to be big - according to the Archdiocese, or not so - according to the arcchitects/engineers involved in assessment).
The Archdiocese decided to destroy a historic South Side structure (2942 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL ) and erect ($4 million price tag) a bland replacement for the parish a block away.
Archdiocese's decision to erase the past rather than to preserve it is mindboggling but it was to be expected. Was smart it to do so while Card. George's tenure in Chicago is coming to an end?
Yet another ecclesiastical landmark will be missing from the architectural landscape of Chicago - an empty lot, a testament to our cultural impovershment in the hands of an organization that for previous two milennia stood as a generator of culture and a beacon of tradition.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Former Tenth Church of Christ, Scientist, aka St. Stephen’s Church needs to be saved

Built in 1915 by designed by architectural firm Coolidge and Hodgdon as the Tenth Church of Christ, Scientist, and later known as St. Stephen’s, it closed in the late 1960s.
It's located on East 57th Street and South Blackstone Avenue (5640 S. Blackstone), and has been an unoccupied half-ruin without any prospects for restoration. While there has been several attempts at finding resolution (demolition, usually), the stunningly beautiful church needs to be saved. It will require major structural revamping and a bus-load of money - not something someone with means would do for an ecclesiastical building.
It is imperative that the place not be demolished. We cannot afford destroying our architectural heritage just because we have no money while the government wastes billions of dollars as if it was its full-time job. 
The Tenth Church of Christ, Scientist, and later known as St. Stephen’s (Copyright Jim Watkins, 2010)

more pics here.
Now, I think an example of SCAD, in Savannah, Georgia, can be taken up by the University of Chicago - buy up architecturally-significant real estate, renovate, turn it into a space university might need and use regularly.
Personally, I would prefer to see religious buildings to continue as such, but if the adaptive reuse means it becoming a secular space - be it.

Tridentine Mass at Saint Xavier University, 2013 (belatedly)

There has been a series of the Traditional Latin Masses celebrated at the universities in Illinois: at UIUC (Urbana-Champagn), at Loyola University Chicago, and at SXU.
New Liturgical Movement was a good place to find these news, and it made sense to alert them to SXU event - an occasion that cannot be underestimated, considering the liturgical preferences prevailing at that university. I am glad that the Campus Ministry felt confident enough to allow that event to proceed. It would also be great if Saint Xavier University students organized themselves in the similar fashion as did the Una Voce Illini at Urbana.
I would also urge students at other local universities: Benedictine University, University of Illinois at Chicago,  UChicago, Loyola, and others to follow the example of Una Voce Illini.
Sooner the bette. (Visit Una Voce America website for the info on how to start your own chapter).

TLM celebrated in the McDonough Chapel of Saint Xavier University (located in Oak Lawn neighborhood of Chicago), on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at noon. The celebrant was Fr. Anthony Brankin, Pastor of St. Odilo in Berwyn, IL, and formerly of St. Thomas More in Chicago. The Mass was part of the SXU's, Vatican II: Legacy Unfolding conference that ended that Friday with an OF Mass in English and Benediction in Latin.