Chicago, IL 60632
Immaculate Conception Parish in Brighton Park Celebrates Its One Hundred Year Anniversary
When Immaculate Conception Parish was founded in 1914, the Brighton Park area was still a prairie, and the parish community was a small group of mainly Lithuanian families. Today, its pastor, Father Robert Coleman, characterizes Immaculate Conception as “a busy, active city parish with 2,500 registered families—most of them, Hispanic--and twenty-six groups and organizations.” This coming September, Francis Cardinal George will be the main celebrant at a Mass honoring Immaculate Conception’s centennial anniversary. That Mass will be the culmination of a year-long celebration which began last September, and which includes events for current and former parishioners alike.
Soon after the parish was founded, Immaculate Conception School was established. “Catholic education and formation of our children has always been an important component of the parish,” said Father Coleman. “While Immaculate Conception School is now closed and we rent the building to a charter school, quality Catholic education still continues here. Our students attend the area Catholic school, John Paul II, and our parish Religious Education program.”
The present church wasn’t built until 1963. “Before that, Masses were being said in the basement of the school,” Father Coleman noted. Immaculate Conception’s parish community maintained its original ethnic identity until the late 1980s. At that time, a marked shift towards a mainly Mexican demographic took place not only in the parish, but also in the surrounding community. The first Mass in Spanish at Immaculate Conception was offered in 1995. The celebrant was a visiting priest from neighboring Immaculate Heart of Mary-Holy Cross Parish--Father Jose Marino Novoa, C.M.F.
During approximately the same time frame, Father Edward Maxa, an American fluent in Spanish, began serving the parish as well.“Father Ed was in his sixties at the time,” Father Coleman noted. “He was very grandfatherly, and very loved.” Father Coleman himself has been involved in Hispanic ministry all throughout his priestly life, including a missionary stint of twelve years in the state of Guerrero, Mexico.
Although Immaculate Conception is now mainly a Mexican parish, it retains ties to its Lithuanian origin. “Last September—on the 8th, in fact—we kicked off the centennial celebration with a Mass in English, Spanish, and Lithuanian,” Father Coleman stated.
On Saturday, April 5, 2014, at 2:00 p.m., there will be a special Mass for former members of the parish and for alumni of Immaculate Conception School. A reception will follow, to be held in the school gym. “The school will also be open for tours, so that people can take a look at their old classrooms,” Father Coleman said.“We would love to see former parishioners and alumni of our school at the Mass.”
The closingMass of the jubilee year will be celebrated by Cardinal Georgeon Sunday, September 21, 2014, at 2:00 p.m. The reception will take place on the following Sunday-- September 28,2014--at the Mayfield Banquet Facility. “It’s important to affirm our Catholic roots, and to remember God’s abundant blessings poured out over the last one hundred years,” Father Coleman said.
For more information, visit Immaculate Conception’s parish website at www.imcc-chicago.org; go to the Facebook page facebook.com/centennialimmaculateconception or call Immaculate Conception Parish at (773) 523-1402.
Helen M. Weir, MI
Centennial Immaculate Conception:
Welcome to Immaculate Conception Parish at 2745 W. 44th St. Chicago, II. We are celebrating our centennial anniversary of the parish. God has blessed this parish in Brighton Park for 100 years and many of you have been part of it. I would like to make you aware of some of the upcoming events that will be happening during this jubilee year.
Saturday April 5th 2014 at 2:00 pm (CST).
There will be a Mass followed by a reception in school gym for alumni of the I.C. grade school, former parishioners, and priests and Sisters who have served here. For more information, please call the Rectory.
Other events: End of April or beginning of May, 2014 there will be a pilgrimage to the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C.
August 2014 - Centennial picnic at a forest preserve
Sunday, September 21st, 2014 at 2:00 pm (CST) –
Mass with Cardinal Francis George at I.C. Church
Centennial Banquet Sunday, September 28th, 2014 from 1:00 to 6:00 pm (CST) – at The Mayfield Banquet Facility at 6027 South Archer Ave.
If you are or have been a part of Immaculate Conception Parish we would like for you to be a part of these events. For more information, please give me a call at 773-523-1402Hope to see you at one of these events.
R. Robert P Coleman, Pastor