St. Mary of Perpetual Help Church (Chicago)

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St. Mary of Perpetual Help
St. Mary of Perpetual HelpChurch is located in USA
St. Mary of Perpetual HelpChurch
St. Mary of Perpetual Help
Coordinates: 41°50′9.4″N 87°39′9.1″W / 41.835944°N 87.652528°W / 41.835944; -87.652528
Location Chicago
Country USA
Denomination Roman Catholic
Website St. Mary of Perpetual Help Parish
Founded 1882 (1882)
Founder(s) Polish immigrants
Dedication Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Dedicated August 16, 1885 (1885-08-16)
Consecrated  ()
Functional status Active
Heritage designation For Polish immigrants
Architect(s) Henry Engelbert
Architectural type Church
Style Romanesque Revival
Groundbreaking 1883 (1883)
Completed  ()
Materials Brick

St. Mary of Perpetual Help (Polish: Kościół Matki Bożej Nieustającej Pomocy) - historic church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago located in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois.

It is a prime example of the so-called Polish Cathedral style of churches in both its opulence and grand scale. Along with St. Barbara's in Chicago, it is one of two monumental religious edifices found in this near South Side neighborhood.


Founded in 1882 as a Polish parish. It remained a parish for Polish workers in the Union Stockyards until the yards closed in the early 1970s. In recent years the neighborhood has seen a growth in new housing and has seen an influx of new residents of many backgrounds and cultures.

St. Mary of Perpetual Help was built off the same plans as St. Casimir in Detroit in 1889, which was eventually razed.


The church designed by Henry Engelbert in a Romanesque-Byzantine style, was completed in 1889. Another Polish church was erected using the same architectural plans under the name of St. Casimir in Detroit, but was torn down in 1967. The brick exterior hides a lavishly shaped and opulently decorated interior enriched with stations of the cross and stained glass windows with Polish inscriptions. Three domes sail above, the central dome lit by a ring of lantern windows and towering 137 feet over the neighborhood. Since 1999, the church has undergone extensive restoration of the original structure, the interior decoration by John A. Mallin in 1961 and the 1928 Austin organ. The historic paintings in the Shrine Altars which date back to 1890, were recently restored by the Art Institute of Chicago. The Joyful Mysteries are depicted in the "Shrine of our Blessed Mother", while the "Shrine of St. Joseph" holds paintings of the Holy Family, the Flight into Egypt and the Marriage of Joseph and Mary. The nave is decorated with fine scaliogla work and a suspended pulpit is topped by a wedding cake cupola. A new mosaic of Our Lady of Perpetual Help by the Soprani Studios of Rome was recently installed, as well as the contents of a time capsule of precious historical documents.

Church in architecture books[edit]

  • Sinkevitch, Alice (2004). The AIA Guide to Chicago. Harvest Books. 
  • Schulze, Franz; Harrington, Kevin (2003). Chicago's Famous Buildings. University Of Chicago Press. 
  • McNamara, Denis R. (2005). Heavenly City: The Architectural Tradition of Catholic Chicago. Liturgy Training Publications. 
  • Chiat, Marylin (2004). The Spiritual Traveler: Chicago and Illinois: A Guide to Sacred Sites and Peaceful Places. HiddenSpring. 
  • Chiat, Marylin; Peterson, Eric (2004). North American Churches: From Chapels To Cathedrals. Publications International. 
  • Lane, George A. (1982). Chicago Churches and Synagogues: An Architectural Pilgrimage. Loyola Press. 
  • Kantowicz, Edward R. (2007). The Archdiocese of Chicago: A Journey of Faith. Booklink. 
  • Johnson, Elizabeth (1999). Chicago Churches: A Photographic Essay. Uppercase Books Inc. 

External links[edit]

See also[edit]