CHICAG0 – the last liturgy of the Chicago Catholic church Our Lady of Victory It was held on Sunday at Jefferson Park.
In operation for more than 115 years, parishioners bid farewell to a sacred Chicago staple.
“A lot of people grew up here. Lots of fun, stories and memories,” said fellow parishioner Michael Handrigan.
For the Handrigan family, their roots in Our Lady of Victory run deep.
“It’s sad to see you go,” Handrigan said.
Handrigan’s father was deacon at Our Lady of Victory. Over the years, the family has celebrated baptisms, communions, and weddings.
In September, the Handrigans gathered for their mother’s funeral. Michael Handrigan said that the last service in Our Lady of Victory was a somber event.
“It’s sad to see an icon of the neighborhood disappear,” he said.
“I don’t know where to go to church. I’m so sorry,” added parishioner Margaret Handrigan.
The Jefferson Park congregation dates back to 1906.
Last year, the Archdiocese of Chicago announced plans to shut down Our Lady of Victory, which unites the church with others as part of its Renew My Church restructuring plan. The congregation took action by organizing a campaign, even calling on the Vatican to try to save the century-old church.
While accepting the closure may be difficult for many, it is unclear what will happen next for the historic building.
“This is a beautiful space,” Michael Handrigan said. “Lots of history.”
Lila Jahnke worked at the church and said seeing the end felt like a second funeral.
“We went through this with the school and now the church,” Jahnke said. “We were a family here”
Going forward, longtime parishioners say that they will carry the spirit of the church family in their memories.
“This is something to always remember,” said Mary Beth Frystak, Director of Religious Education at Our Lady of Victory. “But it’s very hard to accept.”
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