“Over two dozen parishioners called out the Archdiocese of Chicago on Wednesday for what they say is putting profit over the faithful by closing a number of churches over the last several years.
“Julie Sawicki, president of the Society of St. Adalbert, which looks to preserve St. Adalbert Church in Pilsen, said immigrants like her family came to Chicago to help build these churches that are now on the verge of being sold to developers.
“‘When our immigrant ancestors toiled and saved their pennies, nickels and dimes to build these magnificent houses of worship for our entire community, these churches were turned over to the Catholic church for stewardship’ Sawicki said. ‘I don’t think any of my Polish immigrant ancestors imagined a day would come where negotiations for this would be done with real estate developers.’
“Parishioners gathered in front of the defunct All Saints St. Anthony Church, 518 W. 28th Place, in protest of the archdiocese’s Renew my Church program, which they say has been used for closing churches in the Chicago area.
“The self-proclaimed “God Squad” represents 25 parishes and churches that have shuttered or are on the cusp of closure and have filed canonical appeals to save the buildings.
“‘It is especially disappointing and painful that the Archdiocese of Chicago embarked on a path of closure, liquidation and sale instead of one of renewal and revitalization,’ Sawicki said. ‘Cardinal [Blase] Cupich we ask you please follow canon law, guide the faithful, cater to the faithful, not to investors.’
“The news of church closures and subsequent sales of them has also gotten the attention of Preservation Chicago, a group working to protect historic buildings in Chicago. The organization recently listed all the city’s Roman Catholic churches on its annual ‘7 Most Endangered Buildings’ list.
“These are architecturally significant, as well as historically, culturally and all embracing of each of our communities,’ said Ward Miller, executive director of Preservation Chicago. ‘It is really tragic to see these being closed in such a wholesale way without the sensitivity that is really required.” (Ramos, Chicago Sun-Times, 3/3/21)
The self-proclaimed “God Squad” represents 25 parishes and churches that have shuttered or are on the cusp of closure and have filed canonical appeals to save the buildings, Manny Ramos, Chicago Sun-Times, 3/3/21