Media Contacts

Richard Barry
Holy Family Parish
Media Relations Volunteer
(312) 558-1770 ext. 121
Cell: (312) 607-5888

Rev. Jeremiah J. Boland
Holy Family Parish
(312) 492-8442

Holy Family Church – Chicago’s Second Oldest – to Celebrate its 150th Anniversary Sunday December 30, 2007, with “Feast of the Holy Family” Liturgy Presided by Cardinal George, Dedication of New Pastoral Center, Day-Long Open House, Pre-Chicago Fire Souvenirs

CHICAGO—December 18, 2007—Historic Holy Family Church, 1080 West Roosevelt Rd., Chicago, that escaped the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, threatened demolition in 1990 and a near disastrous fire in 2003 , will mark its 150th anniversary with a day-long celebration  and open house Sunday, December 30, 2007, the Feast of the Holy Family.

Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., archbishop of Chicago, whose paternal grandmother, Mary Connelly George, was baptized in 1870 at Holy Family and was a member of the parish for nearly three decades, will preside at a Solemn liturgy at 9:45 a.m. to mark the Sesquicentennial of the Holy Family parish, according to Rev. Jeremiah J. Boland, parish administrator.

“We invite all Chicago to join with Holy Family’s active parish community on this special day in its long history of serving the people of the city.

“We urge anyone who has a link with Chicago’s first Jesuit church—through baptisms, marriages, education in its network of schools, or a relative’s funeral-- to return on this special Feast of the Holy Family to receive a family blessing,” said Father Boland. He invited all who come to bring photographs, school records, diplomas, Mass cards, calendars or other mementos of their family’s days in the parish to share with others and then retain for themselves.

During the day-long celebration, visitors will have an opportunity to place their name and the names of their relatives in a Historic Parish Register that will be retained for future special occasions.

Visitors and parishioners are invited to nominate items symbolic of the parish’s 150 years of service to the people of Chicago to be placed in a time capsule that will be installed later in the Sesquicentennial period of 2007-2010 and opened when Holy Family celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2057-2060.   Holy Family’s spirited Gospel Choir under the direction of professor Sam Parker will participate in the Anniversary Mass.

Following the 9:45 a.m. liturgy there will be an Open House with tours of the church led by volunteer docents and a brunch will be served in the Chicago Room of the adjacent historic St. Ignatius College Prep, 1076 West Roosevelt Rd., one of the original schools founded by Father Damen. A heroic-size statue of the Jesuit priest, pastor and college president, stands in the school’s front yard overlooking Roosevelt Road.

Parking lots will be open at Roosevelt Road west of May Street and on May Street north of Roosevelt Road.  

Other highlights of the 150th anniversary event will be:

Holy Family Today—Serving a Growing, Diverse Community’s Needs

“Holy Family reflects the rebirth of the near west side of the city. Our congregation represents a wide range of ethnic, racial and economic groups—whites, blacks, Latinos and Asians--  drawn from the near west side community and the entire Chicago metropolitan area,” Father Boland said.

The parish continues to expand its community outreach with a food pantry, links to the West Side job training and skills center and youth and parish ministry programs, he explained.

“Symbolic of the parish’s rebirth, we’re delighted that Cardinal George will dedicate Holy Family’s new Parish Center, a beautiful structure designed and constructed with the assistance of St. Ignatius College Prep and the Archdiocese of Chicago to compliment the 1857 design of the historic church,” he said. 

The new Parish Center adjoins the west wall of Holy Family Church and provides handicap access to the first floor and Damen Hall in the church basement. The new facility has conference rooms for parish meetings, a bride’s room and offices for the pastor and staff.

A rotating gallery of historic photos of generations of Chicagoans who participated in the life of Holy Family over 15 decades is a principal feature of the new Parish Center.

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