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CHICAG0 – The last Mass for the Catholic Church in Chicago Our Lady of Victory in Jefferson Park was held Sunday.
After more than 115 years in operation, parishioners said goodbye to a sacred diocese of Chicago.
“A lot of people have grown up here. Lots of fun, stories and memories,” said parishioner Michael Handrigan.
For the Handrigan family, their roots in Our Lady of Victory run deep.
“Just sad to see it go,” Handrigan said
Handrigan’s father was a deacon at Our Lady of Victory. Over the years, the family has celebrated baptisms, communions and weddings.
In September, Handrigans gathered for their mother’s funeral. Michael Handrigan said the last Mass at Our Lady of Victory is a gloomy occasion.
“It’s sad to see an icon of the neighborhood disappear,” he said.
“I do not know where to go to church. I’m so sorry, ”added parishioner Margaret Handrigan.
Jefferson Park parish dates back to 1906.
Last year, the Archdiocese of Chicago announced plans to close Our Lady of Victory by merging the parish with others as part of the Renew My Church restructuring plan. The community set about organizing a campaign and even appealed to the Vatican to try to save the century-old church without success.
Although the closure is difficult for many to accept, it is unclear what will happen to the historic building now.
“It’s a beautiful place,” said Michael Handrigan. “A lot of history.”
Lila Jahnke worked in the church and said that seeing its end felt like another funeral.
“We went through it with the school and now with the church,” Jahnke said. “We were a family here.”
Going forward, longtime church members say they will carry the spirit of the church family in their memories.
“It’s something that will always be remembered,” said Our Lady of Victory, director of religious education, Mary Beth Frystak. “But it’s very difficult to accept.”
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