Historic church’s date with wrecking ball may be delayed

May 1, 2013

Adriana Cardona/WBEZ
St. James Catholic Church being dismantled from the inside.

The Archdiocese of Chicago is now saying it doesn’t have a set date to demolish a historic church.

The 133-year old St James Catholic Church was slated for demolition Wednesday. But in a statement, the archdiocese said there are “many ongoing conversations” about preserving the building.

Eileen Quigley, who’s with the group of parishioners fighting to keep the church open called the Friends of St. James, said she was surprised to hear that. She said her group has repeatedly asked the archdiocese for more dialogue, but hasn’t heard back.

“We are hoping that maybe this is a sign that they heard at least part of our call. One part is to stop the demolition, but is not really finished until we can get back in there, we can get them to agree to let us go back in there and pray,” Quigley said.

The parishioners appealed the archdiocese’s decision to tear down the building to the Vatican and are waiting to hear back.

The Archdiocese said the parish remains subject to a court order which prohibits use and occupancy of the structure.

In a recent letter to Peter Borre, a canon law consultant based in Boston who has been working with the Friends of St James, Ald. Robert Fioretti said the city has not asked the archdiocese to demolish the building or to pay fines.

The court case filed by the city was based on an inspection that found several safety issues in the church, which has been closed to worship.