The Corpus Christi Catholic Church is approaching King Drive in Bronzeville. It has been standing here on 49th Avenue since 1914.
The church has been equipment for the Katie Williams Hall family for almost as long since it opened its doors to African Americans in the early 1930s.
“… Since my grandfather joined in the 1930s, there has been someone in the family or somebody in the family who is a member of the parish,” she said.
Williams Hall was baptized at Corpus Christi, married there, and raised children in the church.
And just a few weeks ago, her granddaughter and nephew were also baptized there.
“I know it doesn’t make much sense now, but in the future I hope to understand that they are the fifth generation of a family who belong to the church and have helped build it for many years. I hope it will be exciting and meaningful to them, “said Williams Hall.
For decades, Corpus Christi has been a bustling parish, once home to about 3,000 members. It even ran grammar schools and co-operatives that gave Black Chicago loans loans when most banks didn’t.
But on Sunday, Williams Hall and her family will attend their last mass at the church. Finally, they pray and sing under the ceiling of a towering vault designed by Daniel Burnham’s apprentice Joseph William McCarthy.
On July 1, Corpus Christi, along with St. Anselm, St. Ambrose, St. Elizabeth, and St. Angel, It will be integrated into one church.
According to the Archdiocese, the area no longer has enough Catholics to support its many parishes.
The five unified parishes will move to the current Holy Angels facility on Oakwood Boulevard. This facility will be renamed Our Lady of Africa.
For Corpus Christi members, the closure of their beloved church is bittersweet, but not surprising at all.
“This church is beautiful, but it costs money to maintain heating, water, and electricity,” said Larry Corp, another lifetime member of Corpus Christi. “There was a flood in this church, and when the congregation is declining, it costs money to repair and maintain what you have.”
As a parish historian, Corp understands that it is no longer realistic for the vast Corpus Christi to act as an independent parish.
But both he and Williams Hall are worried about what the building will look like after the final mass. The walls are lined with ornate stained glass windows and paintings of the Stations of the Cross, some of which have recently been restored.
“I’m very worried about this church,” said Williams Hall. “Also, other churches, especially St. Ambrosius and St. Anselm and Corpus Christi, are such larger and older churches, and it’s like what happens to them. These are the major institutions of the community. And are those institutions just vacant there? “
In response to a question from WTTW News, an archdiocese spokesperson wrote in an email after the church was closed: Within the Archdiocese of Chicago or another diocese. “
The Archdiocese states that there are no concrete plans for Corpus Christi, St. Anselm, or St. Ambrose at this time. Meanwhile, St. Elizabeth acts as a heritage center for Father Augustus Tolton, who escaped slavery and became the first recognized Black Catholic priest. United States of America.
Overall, Corp says he supports the successful merger of parishes. But he says black Catholics in Chicago need more help to grow and prosper.
“We need a way to express our opinion and have leadership who is willing to stand up and fight for the Black Catholic Church.” Hey, we are here. We need help. “He said. “Above all, we are black and in areas where all other Christian denominations exist, we are Catholics without apology. We are a small community among all other Christian brothers, but listen. I have a voice that I need. “
Williams Hall says she will be the first Mass to Our Lady of Africa next month, even if it isn’t exactly the same.
“We go to church as a family for the rest of our lives,” she said. “So, at least, I hope we can continue.”
Note: This story will be updated in the video.
The latest parish unification raises concerns about the fate of the historic Catholic Church | Chicago News
Source link The latest parish unification raises concerns about the fate of the historic Catholic Church | Chicago News