A historic Pilsen church will cease to serve its parishioners next month, the Archdiocese of Chicago announced to worshipers on Sunday.
The last Mass at St. Adalbert Parish, 1650 W. 17th St., will be held on July 14, with the church no longer being a “sacred space” starting the following day, the archdiocese said.
The announcement won’t come as a surprise to the church’s devoted parishioners, since the planned closing was first announced in 2016.
The loss, however, will be still be deeply felt.
“Hearing this just breaks my heart,” Beatriz Medina, 18, told a Sun-Times reporter through tears when the closing was first publicized.
Parishioners spent years fighting to save the century-old church, which needed significant and costly repairs that were cited as factors in the archdiocese’s decision to close its doors. The church’s twin iconic towers have been covered in scaffolding for years because they are crumbling. Fixing them would cost $3 million, the archdiocese said.
“St. Adalbert has been an anchor in the Pilsen community for more than 100 years, and the Archdiocese recognizes its prominent role in Chicago history,” the archdiocese said in a statement Saturday. “However, we must be mindful of parish resources and the significant investment required to repair and stabilize the church building.”
In 2016, parishioners told the Sun-Times they feared their beloved sanctuary would be turned into condos as part of the neighborhood’s continued gentrification.
Those fears were not misplaced — the neighborhood’s St. Ann Church was sold earlier this year and is slated to be developed into residential housing.
St. Adalbert Chuch and several associated buildings are listed for sale by SVN Commerical Chicago. A request for information about the listing wasn’t immediately returned Sunday.
The archdiocese said Sunday they’ve spoken with “many groups” interested in the property and promised that “future plans for the St. Adalbert property will be sensitive to the desires of the community and other constituent groups.”
The announcement comes as the archdiocese continues a process to consolidate parishes across the city, citing low Mass attendance, changing demographics and a decline in the number of priests.
After St. Adalbert’s closing was announced, church officials said its parishioners and those from St. Ann would be merged with St. Paul Parish, 2127 W. 21nd Place. St. Procopius and St. Pius V Providence of God Church also remain open in the neighborhood.