Bishop Malloy Blesses Renovated Downtown Church in St. Charles
By Margarita Mendoza, El Observador Editor
May 18, 2017

ST. CHARLES—After nearly 15 months of planning, and with engines at full speed since last December, St. Patrick downtown church here is now rededicated and blessed.

“Behind the scenes,” said Msgr. Stephen Knox, pastor,    people working on electrical and sound systems, pews and flooring, sanctuary, altar, ambo, tabernacle, and other projects have given the parish  “a new sanctuary.”

After 166 years and in a renewed building, Bishop David Malloy, seven priests, deacons, altar servers and Knights of Columbus processed from outside of the church, “reminiscent of Christ’s triumphant entrance into Jerusalem,” according to the program.

“I wonder if many of any of you have been present for a dedication or a ceremony like this before,” said Bishop Malloy during his homily.

“The whole ceremony … is going to be one that lifts up our hearts … . This is not just a building. It is a place that brings us closer to God,” he said.

He also spoke in Spanish to the Hispanic parishioners whose pledges were a part of the renovation project.

Spanish and English Masses, normally held in the downtown church, moved to the parish’s Crane Road church “from January to end of March” said Father Jorge Loaiza, parochial vicar.

During the Mass, the altar was dedicated, after Gary Bakkelund placed a relic into it.  (See photos of The Ceremony.)

Before Mass ended, Msgr.Knox thanked all the priests and everyone who worked on the project, and stressed, “There is a special connection here with Our Lady of Guadalupe. Our Blessed Mother comes to us in many different ways. I’m very thankful for her intercession.”

After Mass the bishop greeted parishioners on the front steps of the church.

“I feel there is such a connection between our bodies and the temple of the Holy Spirit, our temple, this temple,” said parishioner Mary Kindelin.  “There is a deep connection.”

The gathering presented an opportunity to walk down “Memory Lane” during a reception in the basement, also updated. It featured a display of photographs highlighting photographs highlighting parish history and parishioners.

“I was born in this parish and I have received all my sacraments here and got married here, as did my grandfather and grandmother and my parents,” said JoAnn Von Baguert, 85. “I was impressed. the whole thing was just great.”

St. Patrick parishioner Anthony Ramírez, 60, who graduated in 1971, said he was astonished when saw his third grade picture from Pat Brennan’s class among those displayed.

“She taught us,” he said. “I walked to school and she always gave me a hard time because I was always late for class. ‘You live three houses away and you are late for class every day,’ she used to say.”

During the months of hard work for the renovations, parishioner Bob Richardson coordinated “two general contractors — one for the church and one for downstairs, … so basically I’ve been here on the site, ever since we started.”

 Richardson is the father of Father David Richardson of the Joliet Diocese.