THREATENED: Last Mass for Bronzeville’s Corpus Christi Church Before Permanent Closure (Chicago 7 2021)

“Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Church was built for the ages. Built in 1916 on the southwest corner of 49th Street and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, the Italian Renaissance revival-styled limestone church is a study in permanence — a rock that has weathered the Great Depression and decades of economic and social changes in Bronzeville.

“Designed by architect Joseph W. McCarthy, Corpus Christi had 3,000 worshipers, a school and a convent during its heyday from the 1930s to the 1950s. But after services Sunday, Corpus Christi will lock its bronze doors and close the grounds’ ornate wrought-iron gates for the last time.

“That’s because the Chicago Roman Catholic Archdiocese is consolidating five predominantly Black churches on the South Side — Corpus Christi, St. Ambrose, St. Anselm, St. Elizabeth and Holy Angels — into a new single parish called Our Lady of Africa.

“Once the doors of Corpus Christi are shut, the city will lose an interior of uncommon beauty. The church features an eye-popping vault-like ceiling with nearly 600 detailed octagonal coffers.

“The treasure of stained-glass windows by the noted craftsman F.X. Zettler, depicting scenes such as the Eucharist, are bright and almost three-dimensional in depth and detail.

“A lovely and contemplative enclosed courtyard — it looks like a small slice of Italy brought to the South Side — will be closed off.

“It’s really costly to maintain this,” he said. “And with our congregation down to 100 to 150 members, we really couldn’t keep it up.”

There are no immediate plans for Corpus Christi, St. Ambrose and St. Anselm. Their statuary, murals and other religious finery will be stored until they find their way to other churches in the archdiocese. (Bey, Chicago Sun-Times, 6/26/21)

Read the full story at Chicago Sun-Times

Gazing upon the glory of an architectural gem, Bronzeville’s Corpus Christi Church, one last time before its final Sunday service; After services Sunday, the architecturally significant church will lock its bronze doors and close the grounds’ ornate wrought-iron gates for the last time, Lee Bey, Chicago Sun-Times, 6/26/21

Sense of loss on a familiar story as Corpus Christi, 4 other Black South Side parishes merge; Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Bronzeville is among five Black South Side parishes set to close at month’s end. It merges with four other churches into one new Our Lady of Africa parish, Maudlyne Ihejirika, Chicago Sun-Times, 6/10/21

Latest Parish Unifications Prompt Concerns Over Fate of Historic Catholic Churches
Quinn Myers, WTTW Chicago, 6/24/21

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