Thursday, October 3, 2013

Chicago church tour ... on a trolley!

On Sunday, Frank's and my new parish hosted a trolley tour of three Chicago churches.

We are so excited about our parish, by the way. We really loved going to St. John Cantius when we first moved here—what an incredible parish it is!—but it was a 20–25 minute drive from our house.

So we began exploring churches close to us, and it didn't take long before we fell in love with St. Mary of Perpetual Help. From beautiful liturgies to inspired preaching to a vibrant community, this church has it all. The church building is spectacular—Frank thinks it's the most beautiful church in Chicago—and it's only a 5 minute drive from our house! We were quickly convinced.

Anyway, so the church tour. Our friends Tommy and Catherine and Frank's co-worker/friend Steve joined us for the outing.

First we went to St. Michael's in Old Town, a historic church that survived the Chicago fire just two years after it was built.

Check out that altar. Isn't it dreamy?

The next stop was St. Mary of the Angels ... which you may remember as the church where my sister got married.

Even though I've been to that church many times, it was amazing seeing it on a tour. As the tour guide explained the significance of the carved stone reliefs in the front porch, I muttered to Frank, "I never even noticed those were there before." So I learned a lot at St. Mary's too.

Our final stop was St. Alphonsus. They conveniently had their Oktoberfest the same day, so after the last tour we hung out at the festival for a while. My dear friend Theresa joined us there, since she lives just a few blocks from "St. Al's."

I couldn't get enough of the ceiling at St. Alphonsus.

It actually reminds me a lot of the Sacred Heart Basilica at Notre Dame (if you've seen that church, do you see what I mean?).

This altar has an incredible back-story. Construction on it began in Germany, and it was half-finished when World War II broke out. The sculptors feared for its safety so they lowered the altar into the ocean, where it remained unharmed since it's made of marble. After the war, they pulled it out again, finished it, and sent it to the United States.

St. Al's had so many beautiful little details—this baptismal font is one example. The stained glass there was my favorite of all the churches we saw.

The tour was so much fun. It was coordinated through Catholic Church Tours—I would highly recommend them if you're looking for a fun excursion. 

Frank is a bit of a church architecture buff, and he took many more pictures than I did. I'm trying to convince him to start a blog with photo tours of different Chicago churches. There are so many beautiful ones here. I'll let you know how that goes.

p.s. Sorry if the watermarks are a little annoying. I normally never use them, figuring nobody would want to steal my photos, but these pictures turned out pretty enough that I decided to play it safe. If you're a blogger, do you use watermarks?


  1. I loved all 3 of those churches when I lived in Chicago! :)

    1. Lucky you that you got to visit them all! I'd never been to St. Michael's or St. Alphonsus before. They really are all so beautiful!

  2. Those churches are amazing! They are so vibrant and beautiful. Living in the Bible Belt, we don't have the abundance of historically beautiful churches.
    Big Family Small Farm

  3. The art and murals of these churches are quite divine. This tour seems to be a fun, memorable, and a very uplifting activity. Thanks for sharing your experience! Good day!

    Carson Coronado @ Old St. Mary's Detroit