Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Mini Tour of Some Chicago Catholic Churches

Do y'all know Giedre? If you live anywhere near Chicago and have any sort of upcoming life event that needs documenting, you should. She takes stunning photographs (case in point seen below) and I'm so happy to have her as a guest here at Bluebird Songs today. When she agreed to share about a few of her favorite Catholic Churches in Chicago I could not have been more ecstatic - because I spent a lot of time during my volunteer year in Chicago attending Mass at and soaking in the beauty of these exact same churches. Without further ado, here is Giedre to take you all on a little tour!

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I'm the kind of person who loves walking into churches - especially Catholic churches. I love the hushed sacredness of the space, the vibrant patterns of the stained glass windows, the lingering scent of incense, and how the flickering light of the candle next to the tabernacle acknowledge Christ's presence in the Eucharist. I grew up in a pretty small town with only a few Catholic parishes in the region, so now that I live in a city as big as Chicago, it still blows my mind how many churches, shrines, and cathedrals are scattered all over the place: sometimes within just a block of each other. Every single one is beautiful - many of them tremendously so - but a few in particular are my favorites.

St Mary of the Angels

This was one of the first churches I ever visited in Chicago, so it still gives me happy feelings of come-home-ness, despite it not being our parish.

  Chicago Catholic Church

Located in Bucktown, this is one of the historic and monumental Polish parishes that can be seen from the Kennedy Expressway (I love to point it out to guests when driving by!). Opus Dei now runs this parish with smoooth efficiency and welcome. I love all the light colors of the walls in this church, the towering domes, and especially all the Marian imagery. There's at least half a dozen statues and pictures of Mary scattered throughout the church, not even counting the painting of Mary surrounded by angels within the main dome of the sanctuary.

  Chicago Catholic ChurchSt Mary of the Angels 2Chicago Catholic ChurchChicago Catholic Church

Holy Name Cathedral

This Cathedral is the seat of the Archdiocese of Chicago and located in downtown, at State Street and Superior. My Sister-in-law and her husband live close to this church, so I always associate going to mass here with being in downtown for a fun event. My husband and I will pop over to the Cathedral for Mass if we're heading to the beach on a hot summer day, or having brunch with family on a holiday weekend.

  Catholic Church

Outside, the church is planted directly near a main road, making it a little difficult to appreciate the beautiful exterior architecture - especially on the rainy and gloomy day I came by to take photographs for this post. Inside, however, you're immediately swept away by all the details. The ceilings are incredibly intense, but I love the complexity of all the paneling and the huge organ dominating the back of the church.

Chicago Catholic ChurchesCatholic ChurchCatholic Church

Notre Dame de Chicago

And finally, no church tour is complete without mentioning our own little parish.

  Notre Dame de Chicago

Grand and awe-inspiring churches are wonderful, but I do love the intimacy of attending mass at a smaller parish, where everyone is standing close together and worshiping very near to the altar. Being able to walk to Mass on Sunday mornings while holding hands and seeing our Little Italy neighborhood come to life also makes my parish all the more special to me. Best of all, I find that the music ministry in small churches wins hands down: while I can certainly appreciate a stunning, solo rendition of Ave Maria, I'll always much rather hear an entire church full of parishioners enthusiastically singing their hearts out. The individual singers might sometimes be a bit off tune, but each participates with such spirited joy!

  Catholic ChurchCatholic Church

Giedre is a family portrait photographer & blogger based out of Chicago, Illinois. She carries a canon, shoots obsessively, and always writes about it afterwards. Visit her at www.walkingdotphotography.com


  1. Beautiful churches.. i'm a big fan of Giedre's and these pics show some of the reasons why.. This just inspired me to talk about the Catholic churches in SLC now :)!

    1. You should! I love seeing photos of Catholic Churches in different areas. So much beauty across the globe!

  2. This is truly awe-inspiring. What a grand tour of an even more grand subject. I have read this post more than once and become even more envious each time. I know, I know, envy is one of the Seven Deadly Sins but still, I think the man upstairs would forgive me for wanting to be there so badly.

    Carson Coronado @ Old St Marys Detroit