Sunday, January 11, 2015

St. John Cantius, Chicago, Illinois - Christmas in Chicago (Kind of Late for) Advent Series, Part 4

Here is the last stop for the 2014 Christmas season Chicago Church Chase.  Here we have a parish like Sts. Hyacinth, Mary of the Angels, and Stanislaus Kostka, originally Polish.  Like St. Mary of the Angels especially, this church came dangerously close to being shuttered in the late 20th Century and has survived.  The biggest thing that makes this parish unique is that it has transformed into possibly Chicago's best known home for the Latin Mass.  Take a close look up the aisle and you'll see that there is only a high altar here.

Gothic temporary Nativity scene.  The poinsettias complement the generally dark complexion of the church wonderfully. 

"Jezusowi dopomaga szymon cyrenejczyk."  (Polish)
"Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus." (English)
Even with the presence of the Latin Mass, signs of the original Polish presence still abound.

A stunning display of the Pietà

Side altar devoted to Our Lady of Częstochowa and Child.

St. Mary.

St. Clare of Assisi.

If I had more photos in focus from these confessionals, I would have made a post featuring them alone.  Here we see a pair of ornate confessionals with a statue of Jesus consoling a sinner in the middle.  A closer look at this statue allows for deep looks at the sorrow of the sinner and the merciful response in Jesus' face and posture.  I don't compare a lot of reconciliation stations, but this one is impressive in display and I think it gives the visitor a chance to take stock in the importance of the Sacrament (or even the concept) of Reconciliation for many.

St. Lawrence, with a gridiron representing his death as a martyr.

Another, perhaps hidden gem at St. John Cantius:  Tucked away from the church proper is an incredible 1/3 scale replica of the Gothic altar at St. Mary's Church in Krakow, Poland.  This replica of the 15th Cenutry Wit Stwosz was completed by Michal Batkiewicz in 2003 [1].

Not even the floors escape the artistic influence.

St. Cecilia.

While the Polish residential districts were of incredible scale around the church in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, much of the area around St, John Cantius is now industrial or grounded under the Kennedy Expressway (Interstates 90 and 94).  It is the Latin Mass that makes this parish thrive today, and folks come from all over Chicagoland to attend Mass here.

It is clearly late for wishing a Merry Christmas, but I hope you and yours have had a joyous and safe Holiday Season and that your 2015 is full of blessings and enough exploration to keep things interesting.  Thanks for reading this and my other posts!

St. John Cantius Parish

Additional Sources
[1] McNamara, Denis R.,. Heavenly City: The Architectural Tradition of Catholic Chicago, Chicago, IL: Archdiocese of Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 2005, 52.

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