small miracles

The Tribune reports that Holy Cross church in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood was facing closure when parts of its ornamental plaster began to fall from the ceiling – which is, indeed, spectacular.

We were passing by two summers ago and a church worker let us in and showed us the amazing interior. The church was originally built by Baltic immigrants (and there’s a Black Madonna from that era, but unfortunately none of my photos of her came out). The organ is a spectacular instrument, recently restored by a Jewish family that runs a flea market int he neighborhood. And there’s a Virgin of Guadalupe made fairly recently by a Mexican artist, because the Back of the Yards neighborhood, made famous by Upton Sinclair’s rabblerousing book The Jungle, is now largely Latino.  It was clear that the church was in need of repair, but also clear that it was and remains a monument to immigrants and their dreams. So I’m happy to read that somehow the community was able to raise enough money to restore the church just in time for the feast day of the Virgin of Guadaloupe, which will be celebrated on Dec. 12th.

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