Monday, December 15, 2014

St. Mary of the Angels, Chicago, Illinois - Christmas in Chicago Advent Series, Part 2

St. Mary of the Angels is certainly one of the most iconic of Chicago's Catholic Churches.  Most people see its proud dome and twin towers while speeding by (or while being caught in traffic) on the nearby Kennedy Expressway (I-94) northwest of the Loop in Downtown Chicago.  At a closer level, finer details emerge, like these angels lining the main roof of the church.

Side note (a proper post will describe this later): Roamin' Catholic Churches is on Instagram!  I started taking photos while on a trip last month.  I bring it up here because my first Instagram post came from this church!

The layout inside the church, with the large done and barrel vaulting, along with the largely light-toned interior give St. Mary of the Angels a very elegant look.  A seminarian from a neighboring parish described the interior as being like "Angel Food Cake."  I think it's easy to see why.

"Gloria in excelsis deo..."  (Latin)
"Glory to God in the highest," for those you you who just sing the line at Christmastime (like me).

Fairly dramatic (and pretty) window display.  There is a dedication near the bottom of the middle window, "Parafia Sw. Stanisława Kostki," or the Parish of St. Stanislaus Kostka, the mother church of all Chicago's Polish parishes.  With that is seems safe to assume we have the Virgin and Child facing St. Stanislaus Kostka, who is in the left window.

St. Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei.  Opus Dei (Latin for "God's work") priests have administered the parish since 1991, as St. Mary of the Angels was on the brink of meeting the wrecking ball [1][2][3].  Restorations in the years since have helped pull the church from the cliff of destruction and are helping cement the church as an icon of the Bucktown neighborhood.


Left: St. Mary as Mother of the Fairest Love and Child.
Right: Depiction of the Pietà.

"Jezus upada po raz pierwszy.  Oddz Sw. Barbary."  (Polish)
"Jesus falls the first time.  Branch of St. Barbara/" (English)

"Congregatio a  resurrectione domini nostri jesu christi"  (Latin)
"Congregation of  the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ" (English)

Jesus & the Sacred Heart, with more Latin to translate above if you are a little ambitious.

'Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus." (Latin)
"Holy, holy, holy." (English)
The Assumption of St. Mary is the focal point of the dome above the altar.

Look closely above the columns (or click on the image to see a larger version), you can see a papal tiara in the terra cotta among other religious insigniia. 

It is safe to say the exterior of St. Mary of the Angels deserves it's own blog post.  Angel statues, the towers, the dome, the significance of this building to the gentrifying Bucktown neighborhood...there are lots of ways to talk about this church.

St. Mary of the Angels Parish

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