Chicago/ Community & Society
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Published on May 20, 2024
Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Chicago Holds Final Mass Amidst MergerSource: Google Street View

Chicago's faithful gathered for a somber occasion at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, holding what was billed as the final mass after a presence spanning more than a century in the Uptown neighborhood, ABC7 Chicago reports. The church's closure follows the merger with nearby Saint Mary of the Lake in Buena Park, in an effort to consolidate dwindling resources and rationalize the archdiocese's spread-thin operations. Post-mass, a procession led the parish to their new ecclesiastical home on North Sheridan.

Not everyone is ready to turn the page, as some parishioners hold to the glimmer of hope that Our Lady of Lourdes can be saved—their attachment to the building forged not just in liturgy but in the very storyline of their lives, with its walls echoing the reverberations of baptisms and weddings stretching back to its founding in 1916, NBC Chicago conveyed. "It’s… a true loss. I'm grieving," shared lifelong parishioner Bridget O'Shea, encapsulating a sentiment echoed by many who have called the church a second home.

The church is not only a place of worship but has also functioned as a community keystone, housing a school and a food pantry and catering to an eclectic mix of ethnicities and languages. Kathy Mallin, another community member, has become a guardian of her grandfather's legacy, the artist behind the murals adorning the interiors, which, like the church itself, are now under the specter of obsolescence.

Despite the conclusion of the final mass, some parishioners interviewed by NBC Chicago remain hopeful, clinging to the possibility that the church could be spared from the wrecking ball of progress, "I just hope that it is saved, they don’t demolish it, they don’t make it something else," said Maria Teresa Sosa, resisting the inevitable metamorphosis into yet more urban apartments. Efforts to confer historic landmark status on the building are underway, and discussions will be had with the Archdiocese of Chicago regarding the fate of the church.