Thursday, October 21, 2010

Little Poland in Chicago

I did not continue with the retreat at the Buddhist Temple. While I loved the Vietnamese temple and the Tibetan practices there simply was not enough time to accomplish all I wanted to d. first, I was late. I meet students from Indiana Eslyian at church. By the time I said good bye to them I was late for the retreat. So instead I headed out for a day of travel that would take me to Polish, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian, Chinese, Catholic and Orthodox churches.

I got off the bus at Division and Noble and walked one block south. There was this tall church with imposing bell towers. The parking lot was full and on the steps were men in traditional Polish customs. I had arrived at Holy Trinity Polish Catholic Church. It is huge, well attended and has a long proud history. Robert Kennedy attended mass here during a Polish Day Celebration.

The church is a Romanesque-Gothic style of architecture. The walls and ceilings are painted with numerous murals. The north and side walls have two large shrines. Each is so large it requires a double staircase up to the shrine.

Outside of Holy Trinity Polish Church

The church is also famous for its catacombs. I have been here four times and I have yet to visit the catacombs.

Inside Holy Trinity Polish Church

There was a wedding going on when I visited. I simply asked if I could observe and explained I would be taking video of the building. I was warmly greeted. The sound of Polish with first generation accents could be heard everywhere.

Afterwards I walked north a couple of blocks. There I entered Saint Stanislaus Kosta Parish. This was the first Polish church in Chicago. It is currently predominately Hispanic. Its unique bell tower can been seen from the expressway. The church is also the home to the Sanctuary of the Divine Mercy.
The sanctuary was designated a shrine by Cardinal George. The Iconic Monstrance was unveiled May 2008. The doors of the church have remained open since then welcoming vistors and pilgrims from around the world.

Sanctuary of Divine Mercy, Saint Stanislaus Kosta Church

Mary is represented in red garb as opposed to the traditional blue. This is in compliance with Byzantine icon tradition. The shrine aims to integrate Latin and Byzantine traditions in the design of the shrine and in drawing spiritual nourishment. In the byzantine tradition the outer red robe symbolizes Mary’s humanity. The shrine also highlights Mary’s position as Co-Redemptrix. This is emphasized with the union of the heart of Jesus and Mary.

Sanctuary of Divine Mercy, Saint Stanislaus Kosta Church: Praying

While I was visiting there was a constant stream of people coming to pray in silence and to attend mass. It was clear I was at a very special place. Now it was time to move on to Ukrainian Village.

No comments: