St. James Church demolition goes forward
July 4, 2013

The Archdiocese of Chicago, after postponing its planned demolition of St. James Catholic Church at 2942 S. Wabash Ave. in May, citing ongoing conversations with parties interested in saving the church, sent a letter read to parishioners June 23, saying the church would be torn down.

Demolition began on June 26. Scheduled demolition of the historic Bronzeville church, which had been unused for more than two years, had been halted twice: first, following a request for a reprieve from 2nd Ward Alderman Robert Fioretti earlier this year, and then because of schedule delays in April.

Real estate developer Joseph Cacciatore had approached the Archdiocese about investing millions in the church’s repairs, while the Friends of Historic St. James Church (FHSJC) organization also led efforts to save the 130-year-old church, which ultimately proved unsuccessful.

Eileen Quigley of FHSJC had hoped that ongoing communication with the Archdiocese was a positive sign. Quigley said that, although its initial petition to the Vatican to save the church was rejected, officials accepted FHSJC’s appeal. In a letter to the group, the Vatican said it would follow up with members after communicating with Cardinal Francis George. But in the end, the Archdiocese decided to demolish the building.

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