From Sacred to Profane: On the plight of St. Adalbert’s Church in Chicago

From Sacred to Profane: On the plight of St. Adalbert’s Church in Chicago

by Christine Niles, M.St. (Oxon.), J.D. • ChurchMilitant • February 23, 2017

Why is Chicago’s Cdl. Blase Cupich refusing to meet with parishioners on the proposed sale of this Traditional Latin Mass parish? And why is he willing to sell the historic landmark to the Chicago Academy of Music, a secular group with a questionable financial track record, who may put the church to profane use?

Saint Adalbert, in Chicago’s trendy Pilsen neighborhood, was completed in 1914, built by Polish immigrants and maintained by the largely Hispanic community. It was designed by noted architect Henry J. Schlacks, who designed a number of Chicago’s historic churches and went on to found the School of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame. If Cdl. Blase Cupich gets his way, the 102-year-old landmark will be sold to the Chicago Academy of Music, its convent converted into dormitories, its rectory turned into a living space for musicians, and its Italian marble sanctuary renovated into a stage — although critics doubt the Academy has the funds to perform a fraction of these renovations.

The archdiocese announced the cardinal’s decision last year to shutter St. Adalbert as part of a restructuring of six Pilsen parishes. In July, parishioners formed the nonprofit St. Adalbert Preservation Society, and filed appeals to the archdiocese against selling off the church. A canon lawyer also filed an appeal to Rome asking that Cupich’s decision be reversed.

Multiple requests by the group to meet with Cdl. Cupich have gone unanswered.

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