Archiver > IRISH-IN-CHICAGO > 2008-01 > 1201571068

From: Nan Brennan <>
Subject: Re: [IRISH-IN-CHICAGO] Holy Family 150th
Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2008 19:44:28 -0600
References: <>
In-Reply-To: <>

Wonderful story, Judy.
Thank you.


P.S. Did they videotape any of the ceremony or any of the storytelling?
What an opportunity for oral histories.

On Jan 28, 2008, at 12:57 PM, Judith Mason wrote:

> Donna, Nan and all!
> So sorry for the delay in responding/reporting about my
> attendance at Holy Family's 150th. anniversary celebration.
> To begin, I happened upon a private tour of the church back in
> 1997/98 when only the main altar renovations had just been
> completed. I'd gone to visit and was disappointed to find the
> church doors locked. At the curb, a van parked, opened the back
> door and the driver proceeded to unload, with much difficulty,
> boxes of food for the food pantry. Of course, I held the basement
> door open and helped carry the remaining boxes. As my reward, this
> wonderful lady walked me up the back stairs, turned on the altar
> lights and told me the story of coming so close to loosing this
> most beautiful place and the mission to save and restore it. The
> altar was spectacular, the remaining part of the church was
> awesome, but the need for help was quite obvious.
> On December 30, 2007, I was thrilled to witness Holy Family's
> celebration. The church was packed with not even standing room
> available when I arrived just moments before Cardinal George began
> to process to the altar. I crept slowly to the front to stand
> along the wall on the right just in front of extra chairs that had
> been placed. Having a panoramic view, I could see the beauty that
> had been returned to the church. Within a few moments, an elderly
> lady sitting in the third row center waived for me to join her. A
> family member had not arrived and I was offered the empty
> space.......thrill number two!!
> The mass and the presentation of gifts to those persons so
> instrumental in saving and preserving Holy Family Church was
> moving, even tearful at times when I could see how important this
> holy place was to so many. I can't not give a report without
> telling you about the choir and it's director. These amazingly
> talented people put on a performance that I don't have the words to
> describe. I must tell you this, I did not see one sheet of
> music......thrill number three.
> After the ceremonial mass, the church remained packed with
> current and past parishioners reminiscing, looking in awe at the
> beautiful church, the display of altar angels and various
> antiquities that had been found in a basement and waiting in line
> (a very long line) to sign the guest book. Listening to many of
> the past parishioner stories made me feel like I was participating
> in a live fairytale.
> After signing the guest book, I walked over to the school
> cafeteria where all had been invited for a continental breakfast.
> That two was an "experience". I sat at a table with a few people.
> We listened intently to a very elderly Italian woman who lives just
> off Little Italy's Taylor Street in the home her grandfather.
> Among a number of stories, the one I enjoyed most was this lady's
> telling what it was like growing up and living through the many
> neighborhood changes within the Holy Family Church parish. I wish
> I could have listened to every story that was told on this
> exceptional day. I'm so glad I was able to attend this celebration.
> There's still work to be done and money to be raised to do this
> work. There is no doubt in my mind the current congregation
> consisting of such spiritual, positive, hard working people will
> make this happen. The candle, now electrified, fulfilling the
> promise to burn forever that was made when the church was saved
> from the Great Fire of 1871 still illuminates the side altar.
> Hope this gives you some idea of how spectacular the entire event
> was.
> Judie Mason
> Chicago
> Nan Brennan <> wrote:
> Donna wrote:
>> I'm also interested in how the 150th Anniversary Celebration went
>> at Holy
>> Family Church. Unless I missed something, all the Catholic New
>> Word had was a
>> captioned photo
> Others have asked about this, too, including Tom Cook out in Oregon.
> I don't know who all attended this besides Judie.
> It would be great if you could tell us a little about it.
> Thank you,
> Nan
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