To those of you interested in the specific churches visited on the Chicago Bus Tour recently reported in Extraordinary Community News (Musings, January 11, 2014), as well as earlier, below is list of the churches and descriptions (Taken from Heavenly City by Denis R. McNamara):
HOLY NAME CATHEDRAL (Downtown: Near North Side/Gold Coast)
Designed by Patrick Charles Keely of Brooklyn, New York. Dedicated on November 21, 1875. Gothic in its outside design, built with local Lannon limestone, cruciform in plan with a 210-foot spire, the building inside was completely modernized in 1969 under Cardinal Cody with the strong influence of the late Expressionist movement, which sought to reveal the inner meaning of an image by distortion and rejection of idealized beauty. Worth noting are the unusual oak and walnut ceiling vaults, pink St. Baum marble columns, and the massive Flentrop pipe organ from Holland, installed in 1989.
HOLY TRINITY CHURCH (Northwest: Wicker Park/Ukrainian Village)
Designed by William G. Krieg of Chicago. Dedicated on October 7, 1906. It has and continues to minister almost exclusively to the needs of Polish-speaking Chicagoans. Like several other Polish Churches in the area the congregation grew out of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church. Holy Trinity Church was featured in the 1948 Jimmy Stewart film Call Northside 777. The Baroque exterior uses the architectural style associated with Poland's period of political autonomy in the eighteenth century. The exuberant interior scheme recalls the Polish Baroque tradition of elaborate, image-filled painting programs and unusual elevated devotional chapels. Drop pendants hang from the ceiling in place of columns, allowing for uninterrupted sight lines to the sanctuary.
OUR LADY OF SORROWS BASILICA (West: Near West Side)
Designed by Henry Englebert of Detroit, John Francis Pope of Chicago, and William J. Brinkmann of Chicago. Dedicated on January 5, 1902. Basilica Decree on May 4, 1956. It is one of Chicago's largest Churches, seating nearly two thousand people. It was founded by the Italian priests of the Servants of Mary, known as Servites. By the 1930's, it was necessary to hold thirty-eight services of the Novena of Our Sorrowful Mother so that some seventy thousand people might attend, with participants spilling out into the streets and lining up for blocks. In light of its cultural and devotional importance, Pope Pius XII named it the first formally designated basilica in Illinois. The central portion of the main facade, tightly wedged between two towers, reads clearly of the academic classicism of the type common to the period, with its arcade topped by a triangular pediment atop a high story. The verticality and massiveness of the two towers (one with spire removed after a fire in 1984) give the building something of a Romanesque solidity. The interior is one of Chicago's grand rooms, perhaps only equaled in singular grandeur by Chicago's Union Station waiting area. The nave, as high as a nine-story building and two hundred fifty feet long, is one of the largest Church interiors in the city, modeled on the architecture of the Roman High Renaissance and sports spectacular coffers and rosettes in the ceiling. Three large windows over the entrance flood the nave with light. One's eye leads to the sanctuary with its thirty-one foot high Carrara marble altar added in 1908 and three Eucharistic images. The rear walls are covered in murals dedicated to Christ and Saints of the Servite order, while the east transept includes an altar to the “Seven Holy Founders” of the Servite order backed by a large painting of Pope Pius XII “crowning” the Church as a Basilica completed in 1952. In the west transept, another marble altar honors Our Lady of Sorrows. Ten additional votive chapels line the nave, each with its own dedication and altarpiece. A bit off the beaten path for most tourists, this Church deserves to be better known so that the glory of its art and architecture can enrich the civic and religious spirit of those who live and visit Chicago.
QUEEN OF ALL SAINTS BASILICA (North: Sauganash)
Designed by Meyer & Cook of Chicago. Dedicated on October 20, 1960. Basilica Decree on March 26, 1962. The documents of Vatican II asked that sacred art reveal “heavenly realities” through sign and symbol, and St. John's vision of the heavenly Jerusalem described in the book of Revelation showed a radiant, light-filled city with walls of gold, glass, and gemstones, a throne with Christ seated on it, the Lamb standing as though it had been slain, and the river of the water of life. Around this throne were partakers in this service of praise to God: the Angels, all of creation, the servants of the Old and New Covenants, the new People of God, the martyrs, the all-holy Mother of God, and Bride of the Lamb, and a great multitude from all tribes and nations. Of fullblown Gothic design, high-quality architecture, beautiful materials, extraordinary artistic craftsmanship, and a vision of the very nature of liturgy made only more remarkable by its late date (at a time when most architectural and liturgical critics were least likely to appreciate its design), here this heavenly reality is made knowable to the eye. Under the art direction of Leo Cartwright, the image of the Trinity above the high altar presents God the Father above, Christ as the slain Lamb standing, and the Holy Spirit as a dove coming down to earth. The radiance of the Trinity's glory is represented in the light colored marble rays which emanate across the rear wall. Given great prominence in the altarpiece is the Mother of God, honored particularly here under the title “Queen of All Saints”. Fittingly, myriad faces of saints appear as clouds of witnesses beneath and behind her, and Angels hold the golden banner beneath her feet reading “Salve Regina”. The stained-glass windows image the saints radiant with the inner light of Christ. The rear wall is covered with an immense Florentine mosaic of the Trinity composed of large marble slabs. The richly decorated beams of the nave also represent the nature of the building as image of the heavenly Jerusalem, supported by Angelic hosts. The baptistry, located inside the church tower, contains Relics of hundreds of saints. Now after decades of bland church designs, the spiritual impact here has justifiably been rediscovered and become more and more valued, both in its liturgical and artistic dimensions.
ST. ALPHONSUS CHURCH (North: Lakeview)
Designed by Schrader and Conradi of St. Louis. Dedicated on October 3, 1897. One of the grandest Gothic Churches in the city, it was founded for the German-speaking parishioners who had been making the long trip to worship at St. Michael's in Old Town. The soaring tower is a striking landmark in the neighborhood. The rich interior is lined with unusual circular clerestory windows with major focus on the large marble altarpiece. Also visible are the alternating bays in which statues of the saints form segments of the columns supporting the ceiling vaulting sacramentally becoming “living stones” in the heavenly Jerusalem as “pillars of the Church”. A magnificent carved statue of St. Alphonsus Liguori signals the presence of the Redemptorist priests who founded and staffed the parish for decades.
ST. CLEMENT CHURCH (North: Lincoln Park)
Designed by Barnett, Haynes, and Barnett of St. Louis. Dedicated on September 8, 1918. Authored by the same firm that designed the St. Louis Cathedral, the Byzantine architecture of this edifice is recognized as the “most perfect of its kind in the city of Chicago” and the “jewel of Lincoln Park”. The exterior is relatively severe with two towers and a green tiled dome. The iconographic interior, executed by Ruthenian -rite priest Father Gleb E. Werchovsky, is literally covered with imagery that strongly makes present and active the very reality of the Heavenly Banquet of the Lamb, which is the Mass itself, where human worshipers enter sacramentally into Heaven, singing the praises of God with the Angels and Saints. Highlights that certainly reflect this include the glorious dome, nave ceiling, the arch over the apse, and seventy-three stained glass windows.
ST. HEDWIG CHURCH (Northwest: Logan Square/Bucktown)
Designed by Adolphus Druiding of Chicago. Dedicated on October 27, 1901. Polish Baroque in grand style, four massive granite columns support its porch, rusticated stone bases for the double towers, and elaborately ornamented window surrounds on each tower's second level. Inside, granite composite columns support the small pendentives and domes of the side aisles. In 1938 for the Parish's fiftieth anniversary, the entire interior was lavished with paintings created by John A. Mallin. As was Mallin's method, the architectural elements are accentuated with over-scaled ornamental patterns and heraldic emblems, while planar surfaces swim with images of Angels and Saints, making present sacramentally to the earthly congregation all the heavenly beings with whom they worship. From an inauspicious beginning filled with dissension, anger, and violence, its architecture rightly stands as evidence of a prayerful people working together to thrive as a Parish.
ST. HYACINTH BASILICA (Northwest: Avondale)
Designed by Worthmann and Steinbach of Chicago. Dedicated on October 16, 1921. Basilica Decree on June 21, 2003. Chicago's Polish Baroque finds another exuberant example here sometimes called the “Polish Cathedral”. Stylistically, very similar and designed by the same architects to St. Mary of the Angels Church. Built with stone, glazed terra-cotta, and brick, the three-towered facade gives the building one of the more recognizable profiles in the city. It is perhaps best known for its interior collection of paintings completed in 1930. In the manner of the Baroque Churches of eastern Europe, the interior architecture almost disappears behind the painting program which covers practically every foot of empty space. With the exception of the large painting of St. Hyacinth over the altar, the ambitious decorative program was executed by prolific Chicago artist John A. Mallin. The following quotes by him are well heeded here and hopefully can serve as a light and inspiration to many, both clergy and laity. “There is nothing too good for God so there is nothing too rich or precious for God's earthly homes.” “No one knows better than you, the Reverend Clergy, how important it is to have an attractive atmosphere in your Church and thus promote a larger attendance and foster a loyal pride and a generous spirit in the hearts of your parishioners.” Certainly giving ample witness to these words, currently more than eight thousand worshipers attend Mass here each weekend, giving it the highest attendance of any Parish in the Archdiocese of Chicago.
ST. ITA CHURCH (North: Edgewater)
Designed by Henry J. Schlacks of Chicago. Dedicated on October 9, 1927. Modeled after the sixteenth century Monastery of of St. Brou in Bresse, France. It is architecturally characterized by a combination of the very late French Gothic and the revived Roman classicism of the Renaissance, creating a style of singular originality. This is most evident in the light, delicate outside appearance manifested in the vertical lines of the building, the 120-foot stately, slender tower, and the many tapering stone finials. The interior reveals a clean, buoyant lightness with slender columns and high side aisles, allowing for large windows and the entry of an abundance of light; twelve internal piers supporting statues of the twelve apostles, gold-leafed ceiling, high altar flanked by several Angel statues, and the stained glass windows with figures created by the Barcelona firm of Mauméjean Frères, which need no light from the sun, “for the glory of God is light” (Rev. 21:23).
ST. JAMES CHAPEL (Downtown: Near North Side/Gold Coast)
Designed by Gustave Steinbeck of New York and Zachary Taylor Davis of Chicago. Dedicated on June 10, 1920. The 110-foot French Gothic Chapel, with its slender spire reaching to the sky is modeled on the thirteenth-century Sainte-Chapelle in Paris and was the culmination of many years of planning on the part of several Bishops. Launched by Archbishop Quigley in 1905 as the new building of the high school seminary, it would signal the beginning of a great era of sophisticated building in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Inside, the simple gray interior has a certain masculine severity. The altar's 50-foot pinnacled reredos, containing a statue of St. James and six Angels holding instruments of Christ's Passion, was carved in France of Caen stone, a light colored, fine-grained French limestone used by Church builders since the Middle Ages. The extraordinary windows are the true glory of this edifice. Designed by Robert Giles, they depict 245 scenes from both the Old and New Testaments as well as Christian history, requiring 650,000 individual pieces of glass. Also striking is the 28-foot rose window with its Art Nouveau-inspired golden yellows, oranges, and pinks.
ST. JOHN CANTIUS CHURCH (Northwest: Wicker Park/Ukrainian Village)
Designed by Adolphus Druiding of Chicago. Dedicated on December 11, 1898. It seats two thousand people and at its dedication was hailed as the largest church building in the city. The facade shows the architectural influence of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, embracing elements of Roman classicism in grand style. The large tower bears a distinct resemblance to the south tower of the famous St. Mary's Church in St. John Cantius' home city, Krakow, Poland. The interior reveals the same grand architecture. Slender Doric columns with unusual egg-and-dart patterns on their capitals support very light vaults, giving the Church a sense of open volume despite the earthy browns and greens which dominate the interior. Large stained-glass windows with Romanesque tracery derived from the German academies light the interior. The three high altars are derived directly from the Baroque church interiors of Poland, where natural-finish woods with gold leaf accents form large architectural altarpieces inset with statues. The double loft is a feature common to Chicago's Polish Parishes. The risen Christ fills the apse. A recent addition is a replica of the fifteenth-century Wit Stwosz altarpiece in Krakow's St. Mary's Church, considered one of the highlights of carving in Polish history. The one-third scale replica was completed in 2003 by Polish master carver Michal Batkiewicz. The heyday of this Parish lasted through the 1920's, but began to decline rapidly after city planners pushed the Kennedy Expressway through the area, demolishing homes and driving away parishioners. Eventually the Parish was scheduled to close. However, in recent years, a semblance of its former glory has indeed returned and it is now thriving once again. The Church has become a center for traditional Catholic Liturgy and life which draws worshipers from all around the greater Chicago area. The building has been repaired and beautified, courses are offered in Greek and Latin, seven choirs enhance the Liturgy, prayer groups abound, and pews are filled every Sunday. The Parish has been reborn, and is once again a thriving image of Catholicism in the city of Chicago.
ST. MARY OF THE ANGELS CHURCH (Northwest: Logan Square/Bucktown)
Designed by Worthmann and Steinbach of Chicago. Dedicated on May 30, 1920. Like so many of Chicago's Polish Churches, the Baroque architecture evokes a perceived golden age of Polish history during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It is widely known as one of the most lavishly decorated Churches in Chicago and is a standout both in sheer size, completeness, and blazing grand solemnity. Highlights outside include the large dome alluding to Michelangelo's famous dome at St. Peter's Basilica, twelve-foot Angels that surmount the perimeter of the roof line, and the front porch display of a glazed terra-cotta panel of Christ entering the city of Jerusalem. Highlights inside include a lavishly decorated barrel vault, where light colors and gold accents give the entire interior a vibrant, shimmering quality and stylized stars suggest the open sky of the Heavenly city. In 1948, the sanctuary received elaborate decoration by prolific Chicago ecclesiastical artist John A. Mallin. Above, a great mural of Heaven reveals the Virgin Mary looking up to the Trinity. The Virgin is attended by dozens of Angels, some playing music, some offering incense, some bringing white lilies, while others spill roses down to earth below as symbols of the graces given to humanity by Her intercession. Its closing and proposed demolition in 1988 sparked loud protests, and the subsequent battles, grass-roots movements, and the coming of the Priests of Opus Dei turned the story of the Church into one of Chicago's greatest preservation victories.
ST. MICHAEL CHURCH (North: Old Town)
Designed by Hermann J. Gaul of Chicago. Dedicated on September 29, 1869. Organized in 1852 for German-speaking Catholics, it is one of the oldest parishes in the city and has the distinction of being one of the few buildings in the path of the flames not completely destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Portions of the wall and tower were reused when the Church was rebuilt in 1873. The 280-foot tower was added in 1888. The rich Romanesque front facade was added in 1913. One of Chicago's most spectacular church interiors, it is unusually tall featuring soaring vaults, a five-story high altar containing an eight-foot carving of St. Michael by Andrew Gewont added in 1902, and the Sacred Heart altar giving expression to the exuberant nature of nineteenth-century immigrant Catholicism.
ST. PETER'S IN THE LOOP CHURCH (Downtown: Loop)
Designed by Vitzhum and Burns of Chicago. Dedicated on September 7, 1953 in the presence of nearly 35,000 people. Today, as the only Catholic Church in the Loop with its three-story crucifix looking down upon the passersby, St. Peter's stands as a reminder of Christ to the workers of Chicago's business center. It is a well-known downtown landmark, a parish without a permanent residential congregation but with several Masses and the Sacrament of Penance offered throughout the day, serving those who seek to integrate worship with their daily work lives. The parish's German roots go back to the 1840's with the commission of the first building in 1863. By the 1940's, the building was in great need of repair and was subsequently replaced with the starkly modern, planar design of the current edifice that also contains an auditorium, library, offices, friary, kitchen, and chapel. The exterior recalls Art Deco elements in its roof; with the facade containing Gothic decorative elements, pink Georgia marble, and enormity of the crucifix which achieves its purpose of drawing the attention of everyone who passes by. The interior again explicitly recalls the Gothic tradition in its ornamental motifs. The high altar forms the natural focal point and its large reredos combine both elements of Gothic and Art Deco design. Multiple side chapels filled with images of various saints, provided by the Lawrence Daleiden Company, line the lower level.
ST. STANISLAUS KOSTKA CHURCH (Northwest: Wicker Park/Ukrainian Village)
Designed by Patrick Charles Keely of Brooklyn, New York. Dedicated in 1881. Contains elements of both Romanesque and Polish Baroque architecture. Highlights outside include the two elaborate Baroque towers added in 1892, and the front facade covered in stucco and given its elaborate porch in 1925. Inside, a three-aisle basilican plan with columns almost Florentine in their slenderness support a blind clerestory and its colonnettes. Also visible are elaborate paintings from several artists. The first polish parish in the city of Chicago. By 1897, it was the largest parish in the United States with around 8,000 families and 40,000 parishioners. Its nearly 4,000-student parochial school system was called the largest school in the world. Located at that time in the heart of Chicago's American Polonia which had over 100,000 Catholics within a one-mile radius of the Church. As with many inner-city parishes, this extraordinary growth fueled by waves of immigrants could not be supported by succeeding generations. On top of this, in the early 1950's, it was slated to be razed to make room for the Kennedy Expressway, but due to protests and local government intervention, the expressway was altered and the church was saved. Today the parish continues to serve the spiritual needs of parishioners who come from a wide geographic area and include many different ethnic groups along with continuing to operate an elementary school. Starting around 2000 and as documented in the book he authored A Mother's Plea, current Pastor Father Anthony Buś received spiritual revelations to establish devotion to the Divine Mercy and the Blessed Virgin Mary. In 2007, Cardinal Francis George designated the parish as the Sanctuary of the Divine Mercy in Chicago and, in 2008, he blessed the iconic Monstrance, Our Lady of the Sign-Ark of Mercy , which draws many people to 24-hour Eucharistic Adoration there. In September 2011, the parish began a project of essential repair and restoration of the Church building.
[Hat tip to A.B.]