Archiver > IRISH-IN-CHICAGO > 2008-01 > 1201574376

Subject: Re: [IRISH-IN-CHICAGO] Holy Family 150th
Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2008 21:39:36 EST

Thanks so much. Wish I could have been there. You also tell the story very

In a message dated 1/28/2008 12:58:35 P.M. Central Standard Time,

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

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,


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