Video and Photos from the Blessing of the Cross

Sunday May 3rd, marked the Anniversary of the Finding of the True Cross by St. Helen in 326 A.D.  On this day the newly gilded Cross was solemnly blessed after conclusion of the 12:30 pm Solemn High Mass.


The restored and regilded cross gleams in the sunlight in the Chicago skyline, over 100 feet above the street.

On the façade of our own church, the symbol of the Cross is prominent. The center pediment is crowned by a gilded cross that towers over 100 feet above the street. The cross stands 6 feet high and has endured decades of our harsh Chicago climate with its extreme temperatures and high winds.

“We gilded the cross as a sign of hope. The instrument of Our Lord’s passion and death, rough hewn and once covered with the Precious Blood, is now radiant with the glory of the Resurrection.”

In just a few days, artists and engineers worked to remove the cross and restored it to its former beauty and luster.  New layers of gold leaf were added and the cross now shines forth in brightness and splendor over Chicago’s River West neighborhood, even being visible from the nearby Kennedy Expressway.

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Letter from the Pastor

May 1st, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

The Cross is one of the most identifiable symbols of our Faith, a visible sign of our Redemption. With its noble beauty and simplicity, crosses adorn chapels and cathedrals on every continent announcing Christ’s victory.

This Sunday, May 3rd, marks the Anniversary of the Finding of the True Cross by St. Helen in 326 A.D. The day was observed as a feast-day for centuries.

The story of the finding of the Cross is itself a miracle. St. Helen undertook the task of locating it, and on May 3rd, three crosses were found in a roadside ravine buried beneath layers of dirt. A woman, dying from a terminal disease, was brought to the spot and touched the crosses, one by one.  After she touched the third cross, she was immediately cured, thereby identifying the True Cross. 

On the façade of our own church, the symbol of the Cross is prominent. The center pediment is crowned by a gilded cross that towers over 100 feet above the street. Crafted out of copper and wood, the cross stands 6 feet high and has endured decades of our harsh Chicago climate with its extreme temperatures and high winds.

This week, artists and engineers worked to remove the cross and restore it to its former beauty and luster.  New layers of gold leaf will be added and the cross will once again shine forth in brightness and splendor over Chicago’s River West neighborhood, even being visible from the nearby Kennedy Expressway.

We are gilding the cross as a sign of hope. The instrument of Our Lord’s passion and death, rough hewn and once covered with the Precious Blood, is now radiant with the glory of the Resurrection.

This is a time for the Cross to stand tall and bright. I think of the Carthusian motto: stat Crux dum orbis volvitur—the Cross stands while the world turns. More than ever, the world needs the message of the Cross’ victory, and the love of the One who obtained it.

During this Easter season, we see the Cross in that new splendor as this ancient text from the liturgy reminds us:

The Cross hast wrought the salvation of the race of man; that whence death arose, thence also Life might rise again; and that he who by a tree was once the vanquisher, might also by a Tree be vanquished.

It is through the Cross that death and sin were conquered and the evil one is vanquished. We thank our many supporters for their acts of charity, giving us the financial means to raise up the cross!

This Sunday at 12:30 pm, we will have a special Solemn Choral Mass followed by the Blessing of the restored Cross. We encourage all who can to join us via our live-stream.

Blessings,

Father Joshua Caswell, SJC
Pastor & Superior



Workers remove the cross for restoration from the roof of St. John Cantius Church

 


Workers remove the lightning rod on the cross before removing it from the pediment.

 


Artists from Daprato Rigali apply gold leaf to the cross.

 

Artists from Daprato Rigali Studios working around the clock to gild the cross, so it is ready for Sunday’s blessing.