Holy Family Church needs $25K to replace broken stained-glass window

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The “Prodigal Son” stained-glass window has been boarded up for Christmas, after burglars shattered it to break into Holy Family Catholic Church, 1080 W. Roosevelt Rd. The parish has started a YouCaring.com page to raise the $25,000 needed to repair it. | Photo courtesy of Raul Montes

Damage by burglars who smashed a stained-glass window to break into one of the city’s oldest churches will cost about $25,000 to repair, the church said Sunday.

The bad news was shared on Christmas Eve, along with an announcement of a youcaring.com page set up by Holy Family Catholic Church to try to raise the funds, and a $500 reward offered for tips leading police to the perpetrators.

“It’s pretty reprehensible and beyond comprehension for somebody to have done this. The window is 160 years old, and has a lot of sentimental value for a church that’s been through a lot and survived,” community activist Raul Montes Jr. said at a news conference outside the church.

Montes, who attends the church and is running for the 7th District Cook County Board of Commissioners seat being vacated by Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who is a candidate for U.S. Rep. in the 4th District, put up the $500 award.

The historic church at 1080 W. Roosevelt is one of five public buildings to have survived the Chicago Fire of 1871, and the second oldest church in Chicago. Slated for demolition by the Jesuits of Chicago in the late ’80s, the community rallied to save the church, raising $1 million in what seemed a Christmas season miracle in 1990.

On Dec. 12, burglars threw a brick through the stained-glass window on the west wall of the church, depicting the biblical story of the “Prodigal Son,” then climbed the roof to drop into the church through the hole, police said. The burglars ransacked the church, but found nothing of value, church officials said.

The window, which was boarded up by a specialty restoration company, will cost in excess of $20,000 to repair. Thus far, $2,105 has been raised.

“We’re feeling very bad about it, but we also have to put it into perspective that it’s a window, and we’re just grateful that no one lost their lives,” the church’s pastor, the Rev. Michael Gabriel, said Sunday evening as he opened the doors for Christmas Eve mass.

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