St. John Cantius Church Solemnly Consecrated

125th Anniversary Logo of St. John CantiusOOn Saturday, October 20th, 2018, our parish church was solemnly consecrated, as part of our 125th anniversary celebration.

The cornerstone of our church was laid 125 years ago in 1893 by Archbishop Patrick Feehan. Although our parish was blessed in a ceremony at the completion of the building in 1898, it was never formally consecrated.

A Consecration or Solemn Dedication of a Church is where a bishop “who by the solemn anointing with holy chrism, and in the prescribed form, dedicates a building to the service of God, thereby raising it in perpetuum to a higher order, removing it from the malign influence of Satan, and rendering it a place in which favours are more graciously granted by God” (Pontificale Romanum).

Bishop Joseph N. Perry presided at Rite of Dedication of the Church and Altar, and celebrated the Mass of Dedication.

The Altar and the walls of the Church were anointed with chrism. The 12 places where the walls were annointed have a sconce affixed, and serve as a lasting reminder that this Church is a “House of God and Gate of Heaven.”



“Awesome is this place,
it is the House of God and the Gate of Heaven!”

Genesis 28:17. Cornerstone of our church



This church is a house of God, a gateway to heaven, a house in which our lives begin and end.

God opens the gates to a Christian life for us in this house. Here a child learns his prayers. Here too, everyone can find spiritual guidance and succor in misfortune.

It is a house of God, for God lives within it; it is a gateway to heaven, for it creates Christians according to the teachings of Christ.”

—Archbishop Patrick A. Feehan on the laying of the cornerstone in 1893



About the Rite of Consecration

From The Catholic Encylopedia

“Consecration is a rite reserved to a bishop, who by the solemn anointing with holy chrism, and in the prescribed form, dedicates a building to the service of God, thereby raising it in perpetuum to a higher order, removing it from the malign influence of Satan, and rendering it a place in which favours are more graciously granted by God” (Pontificale Romanum).

On the walls inside the church twelve crosses must be painted, or (if they are made of stone or metal) attached to the walls. These crosses are not to be of wood or of any fragile material. They must never be removed, and documents failing, they serve to prove that the church has been consecrated. Under each cross a bracket holding a candle is affixed.

The 12 candles stem from the symbolic use of this number in biblical tradition. The 12 stones used by Moses to build the altar of the covenant represented the 12 tribes of Israel. There are the 12 gates of the new Jerusalem mentioned in the Book of Revelation (21:12-14). Likewise, there are the 12 apostles. When we say the Creed we confess that “We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.” Our faith is “apostolic” because it is based on the teachings of Jesus, carried on by the apostles, the direct successors of whom are our bishops, guided by the Holy Spirit.

The rite of dedication of a church probably originates from the time of the Emperor Constantine (272-337) when Christians received freedom of worship. For many centuries it consisted of the first solemn celebration of the Eucharist. At a later stage a rite of placing relics was added. The nucleus of the present rite with the different anointings originated in the Middle Ages.


Saint John Cantius Church, Chicago