By MRINALINI PANDEY
A year of celebration is drawing to a close at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, commemorating its 150th anniversary.
On June 23, to mark the end of the parish’s sesquicentennial, the church, located at 5472 S. Kimbark Ave., will hold a special Sunday Mass at 11 a.m.
Bishop Joseph Perry of the Archdiocese of Chicago will preside at the Mass, which also will celebrate Corpus Christi, “the feast of the body of Christ.” Bishop Perry also will lead a solemn Benediction, honoring the body of Christ. Following the Mass, parishioners will gather for a festive, family-focused Ice Cream Social on the parish grounds. This event is free and open to the public though parishioners are encouraged to wear parish anniversary t-shirts, pins, and buttons.
“It’s just the final way to say, you know, we are celebrating what we have done, how we have done for the whole year, and it’s just one last event for everything that we have done over the year,” said Paula Jones, director of Parish Operations at St. Thomas.
The year-long celebrations began in September 2018 with a Mass and a Parish Picnic, continued with special events and programs every month like the Mass with Cardinal Blase Cupich in April 2019.
The church holds regular Mass Service at 8:30 am and 11:00 am on Sundays. When asked how this Sunday Mass is different from the parish’s regular Masses, Jones said, “This Mass Service is special because it is the feast of corpus Christi which means in Catholic church we celebrate the body of Christ. This is the feast of the body of Christ which is corpus Christi, and this is why it’s a special mass.”
St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church is a Roman Catholic community founded in Hyde Park in 1869, when Bishop James Duggan appointed Rev Patrick T. Butler to minister the pastoral needs of the practicing Catholics in the neighborhood. The church predates the founding of the University of Chicago in 1890 and is on the National Register of historic sites.
Over the last one and half centuries, the parish members at St. Thomas the Apostle have been actively involved in social action and community good whether it is in in the field of arts and education or politics and civic engagement. The parish also opened St. Thomas the Apostle Elementary School in 1884 and has a current enrollment of more than 300 students.