A recent memorial Mass to celebrate the life and accomplishments of the Rev. George A. Lane, S.J., who in the 1990s helped save from demolition and restored to service Chicago’s second oldest Catholic church, known at the time as Holy Family Church, brought together hundreds of former parishioners, friends, family members, and preservationists in the Church of the Holy Family. The structure was founded by the Rev. Arnold Damen, SJ, in 1857.
The memorial Mass also drew Saint Ignatius College Prep alumni and delegations from the Chicago History Museum and Loyola Press, where Fr. Lane served as president and publisher.
The Rev. Jeremiah (Jerry) Boland, former parish administrator, now pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Glenview, IL, preached a homily about Fr. Lane, quoting the Rev. Brian Paulson, S.J., a former Jesuit provincial, who said, “Father Lane’s holy disobedience paid off, and the world is a better place,” referring to Fr. Lane’s fight to save the church.
The Rev. Lukas M. Laniauskas, S.J., president of Church of the Holy Family, was the principal celebrant at the Mass, which drew worshipers from the Near West Side and a wide swath of the Chicago metro area. After Mass, before inviting the congregation to a reception at Saint Ignatius College Prep hosted by John Chandler, president, Fr. Laniauskas urged the congregation “to take time to walk around this beautiful sacred space and touch the stones where generations have worshipped.”
No longer a parish as a result of its merger with Notre Dame de Chicago, Holy Family is the site of scores of baptisms, weddings, funerals, concerts, architectural tours, liturgies, convocations and special events under the aegis of its adjacent neighbor, Saint Ignatius College Prep, founded in 1869.