Bucktown Church Needs Millions in Repair

Past repairs have fixed the leaks, but the dome of St. Mary of the Angels Roman Catholic Church in Chicago's Bucktown neighborhood is crumbling

By Sharon Wright
|  Thursday, Oct 6, 2011  |  Updated 7:27 AM CDT
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Parishioners at Bucktown's St. Mary of the Angels have erected billboards along the Kennedy Expressway pleading for help to save their historic church.

Parishioners at Bucktown's St. Mary of the Angels have erected billboards along the Kennedy Expressway pleading for help to save their historic church.

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"Save the Dome" shouts the billboard overlooking Chicago's Kennedy Expressway.

It's the latest medium parishioners and officials at St. Mary of the Angels Roman Catholic Church, in the Bucktown neighborhood, have used to call attention to a structure that needs millions of dollars in care.

"God answers prayers and will enlighten people's minds and hearts so that they'll be more generous, and hopefully there's someone out there who's got a million who could just drop it off," Rev. Hilary Mahaney said with a chuckle.

Past repairs have addressed the leaking that used to cause problems, but scaffolding still wraps the 19-story dome. Inside, netting hung underneath the dome protects parishioners below.

"It is dangerous, and I know some pieces fell on Father while giving a sermon," said parishioner Kasia Sonska.

St. Mary of the Angels was founded and expanded with the huge influx of immigrants at the turn of the century. More recently, parishioners include a wave of Hispanics. 

"You have to preserve it. It's one of the oldest buildings in the city," said Sonska.

Parishioners said they know it'll take more than pennies and prayers to Heaven to fund the reconstruction, so despite tough economic times, they continue to pass the donation plate and plan to launch sales of pierogi's and tacos at church socials.

sma-church.org: Dome Campaign

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