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Statewide Endangered

2011 Ten Most Endangered Historic Places 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Streator Catholic Churches
Immaculate Conception, 404 N. Park St.
St. Anthony’s Church, 407 S. Park St.
St. Stephen’s Church, 711 Lundy St.
Streator (LaSalle County)

 

Citing shrinking congregations and costly building repairs, the Catholic Diocese of Peoria approved a consolidation plan that resulted in the September 2010 closure of three late-19th and early-20th century churches in this north-central Illinois community. Land was purchased—outside the city limits—to construct a new church serving a single consolidated parish. While congregants from each closed parish are currently challenging the consolidation under a Canon Law process with the Vatican, services are being held at St. Stephen’s Church. However, many fear this is temporary until funds can be raised to build a new church. St. Anthony’s Church and Immaculate Conception Church have been vacated and are planned for demolition.

Immaculate Conception Church, built in 1884, is Italian Renaissance-inspired with an attached tower. While the outside is relatively unornamented with white and brown trim, the inside is elaborately decorated with a three-aisled basilica and a blue and gold star, coffered ceiling. Most of the distinctive stained glass windows are thought to be by the noted Munich Studio of Chicago and date from about 1910.

St. Anthony’s Church is the largest of Streator's Catholic churches, completed in 1897. It is a three-aisled, twin towered, neo-Romanesque brick church coated to look of ashlar. Its interior cluster columns are each composed of four iron tubes with elaborate plaster capitals and pedestals on which stand painted plaster saints fabricated by the Daprato Statuary Company of Chicago. Several studios provided the fine stained glass windows. The altar is a superb example of late-19th century woodworking.

St. Stephen’s Church, built in 1908, is the oldest Canonically-established Slovak Catholic church in the United States. It was built of local brick in a neo-Medieval style. The modesty of the interior reflects its Slovak heritage. Each window is stained glass, possibly also by the Munich Studio of Chicago.

In early 2010, a grassroots organization, “Save our Catholic Churches,” submitted nearly 900 petition signatures to the Peoria Diocese in opposition to the consolidation plan, noting that the Diocese’s own engineering study of the historic churches demonstrated that the cost of construction of a single new church would nearly equal renovation costs for all three of the historic churches. Despite this protest, on September 29th, Immaculate Conception Church and St. Anthony’s were officially closed and St. Stephen’s Roman Catholic Church was renamed St. Michael the Archangel as an interim place of worship for the consolidated parishes.

Congregants from the three closed parishes filed appeals to the Peoria Diocese to delay any demolition plans to the buildings and to request reinstatement of their parishes. The request was denied. They have since forwarded their appeals to the “Congregation of the Clergy” at the Vatican in Rome, under a Canon Law procedure. If again denied, the parishes are able to file a third and last appeal to the Vatican “Apostolic Signatura.” The local pastor of the consolidated parishes has stated that these appeals are delaying his plans to demolish the closed churches, but it is also unlikely that the Vatican will overturn the decisions. The pastor also stated that, based on the results of a November survey of Streator’s Catholic households, which showed parishioners would prefer to remain at St. Stephen’s than worship in a new church, he would consider a renovation plan. However, he has not ruled out the option of constructing a new church. To date, Streator city officials have remained neutral on the future of these historic and irreplaceable buildings.
 

What You Can Do

 

On Facebook, join “Save the Catholic Parishes of Streator”

Write to Streator’s mayor to urge city officials to work with the Peoria Diocese to identify adaptive uses, or to initiate a planning effort, for the two vacated churches rather than demolition. There are dozens of examples of historic Catholic churches nationwide that have been sensitively adapted so that they may remain community assets. See link on a current effort in Johnstown, Pennsylvania:.

Encourage the Peoria Diocese to renovate and retain all of the historic churches rather than build a new church.

 

Mayor James Lansford
City of Streator
204 South Bloomington St.
Streator, IL 61364
email@ci.streator.il.us


Most Reverend Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, C.S.C.
The Catholic Diocese of Peoria
Spalding Pastoral Center
419 N.E. Madison Ave.
Peoria, IL 61603-3719

 

Additional Links

 

mywebtimes.com/news/search/index.php

(Enter “Derek Barichello Streator Catholic churches” in the search bar)

cardcow.com/68018/st-anthonys-german-catholic-church-streator-illinois/

cardcow.com/65789/st-stephen-catholic-church-streator-illinois/

frbkirk.wordpress.com

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

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