CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s second oldest Catholic church celebrated its 160th anniversary at a mass Sunday morning.
Holy Family was built before the Civil War, and has stood along Roosevelt road through the Great Chicago Fire, threats of demolition in 1990 and its own fire in 2003.
The Gothic-style church was one of only five public buildings to survive the Great Fire.
Coincidentally, Patrick and Catherine O’Leary — the fire started in their barn — were parishioners at Holy Family.
Emmett Nolan’s great grandfather also attended mass there when the church first opened its doors in 1857.
He says he almost broke down during Sunday morning’s service when he pondered what his father would have thought of how the church and its traditions have continued.
When the cornerstone of the church was laid, it was considered at the edge of the prairie, according to Ellen Skerrett, a historian.
Nolan laughs at the notion now that Roosevelt road was even thought of as practically the suburbs.
The oldest Catholic church in Chicago is Old St. Pat’s.