Comiskey Family's Deep Roots at Chicago’s Holy Family Parish To Be Marked During Special Mass, Sunday December 28
CHICAGO—December 18, 2008—As the city’s second oldest church, Holy Family, 1080 West Roosevelt Road, readies for the Christmas season, Rev. Jeremiah Boland, administrator, inspects an important icon in the historic church—the John Comiskey window (scroll below for photo). Installed in 1860, the church’s 12 clerestory windows, five stories above the street, are the oldest stained glass in Chicago.
Comiskey, who immigrated from Crosserlough, County Cavan, Ireland in 1848, was a founding member and strong advocate of the parish. In 1859, according to published reports, Comiskey went door to door through the near west side neighborhood collecting funds to build Chicago’s second oldest church which opened in 1860.
Members of the Comiskey family will be remembered at the Feast of the Holy Family Mass, Sunday, December 28, 2008 at 9:45 a.m. when the parish observes the 151st anniversary of its founding.
Known as “Honest John,” Comiskey arrived in Chicago in 1853 and had a number of employers before he entered government service. First, he worked for the Rock Island Railroad where he was responsible for all incoming freight traffic and then joined the Fort Wayne Cattle Yards. For a time he served on the Internal Revenue Service staff and then entered the banking business. Later, he owned a book store at Roosevelt Road and May Streets, adjacent to Holy Family.
Comiskey served eleven years in the City Council. He was elected alderman of 10th ward in 1859 and due to redistricting served in similar posts in the 7th ward (1861-63); 8th ward (1867-69); and, in 1870, the 9th ward when he was president of the City Council. In 1875, he served as Clerk of the Cook County Commissioners.
An active Holy Family parishioner serving on numerous parish committees, John Comiskey worked closely with Rev. Arnold Damen, S.J., founder of Holy Family and St. Ignatius College (now Loyola University Chicago).
John and his wife, Annie Kearns, were the parents of eight children. Their oldest son, Charles, developed his love of baseball at Holy Family School and St. Ignatius College, where he was a member of the first class when Father Damen’s new school opened in September, 1870.
In 1883, Charles became captain of the St. Louis Brown Stockings and later served as the team’s manager. In 1900, Charles Comiskey earned a place in baseball history when he became the owner and manager of the Chicago White Sox. A founder of American Baseball League, under his leadership the White Sox won five League championships. In 1911, he built Comiskey Park, the nation’s first symmetrical ball field, which would serve the team and the city until its demolition in 1991.
click on image to view high-resolution, print-quality version
Rev. Jeremiah Boland, administrator, Holy Family Parish, 1080 W. Roosevelt Rd. Chicago, points out John Comiskey's name in one of the church's stained glass clerestory windows to Mícheál Sheridan, age 10. Mícheál's great-great-great grandfather, John Collins, immigrated to Chicago from Dublin and was a founding member of Holy Family who lived in the parish during the same decades as John Comiskey. Mícheál’s parents, John Sheridan of County Mayo, Ireland and Susan Barry of the Beverly community in Chicago, were married in Holy Family church in 1995 and Mícheál was baptized there in 1998.
Holy Family Parish, 1080 West Roosevelt Road, Chicago Sesquicentennial
Holy Family Parish continues to observe the Sesquicentennial of its founding (1857-1860) with a series of special events. The parish will observe the 151st year of its founding with a liturgy on the Feast of the Holy Family, Sunday, December 28 at 9:45 a.m. An open house will follow when the parish’s “Hidden Treasures,” a collection of rare artifacts, relics, sacred vessels and vestments from the early years of the parish, will be on display.
Wednesday, December 24th - Christmas Eve
5:00 p.m. - Mass for the Vigil of Christmas
Christmas Music featuring the Rice-Frobenius Pipe Organ
9:30 p.m. - Christmas Carols featuring the Holy Family Gospel Choir
10:00 p.m. - Solemn Liturgy of the Vigil of Christmas
Thursday, Dec. 25th - Christmas Day
9:45 a.m. - Celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord
Sunday, Dec. 28th - The Feast of the Holy Family
9:45 a.m. Mass and Reception
Special exhibition "The Hidden Treasures Of Holy Family" Open House
# # #