Tag Archives: St. John Cantius

The Dedication of “Tina Mae”

tina maeI first went into St. John Cantius Church almost 20 years ago when the church was in dire need of renovation. Seeing these old, beautiful churches in decay is heartbreaking but in the case of St. John Cantius, the story has a happy ending.

Founded by Polish immigrants and dedicated in 1898, St. John Cantius had at its peak about 23,000 parishioners, but as is so common with many inner city parishes, it went into decline. After Father Frank Phillips C.R. became pastor, he went about the task of renovating and preserving its architectural splendor. Equally important, he introduced reverent liturgies and sacred music as part of parish life. As young men became interested in this revival of traditional Catholic culture, he received approval in 1998 to found the Society of St. John Cantius, a community of religious brothers and priests who strive to restore the sacred in parochial life.

The interior restoration work in the Church was completed in 2012 but an important piece was yet to come – a top quality organ. It so happened that a Church on the south side of Chicago was closing and their organ needed a home. This wasn’t just any organ. It was built by the Casavant Freres Organ Company of Quebec, Canada, for St. James Methodist-Episcopal in 1926 under the guidance of Miss Tina Mae Haines, a concert organist. Dedicated to the memory of Gustavus F. Swift, founder of the Swift Meat-Processing Company, it was used not only for Church music but also became a premier concert organ for recitals in the city.

cantius picIn 2011, St. James was closing and the organ, perilously housed under a leaky roof, needed a home in a hurry. Stephen Schnurr of the Organ Historical Society and Jeff Weiler, of J.L. Weiler, Inc., a Chicago based Organ Restorer and Conservator, asked Saint John Cantius Church if they were interested in acquiring it. Thanks to the Patrons of Sacred Music who raised the funds and relying on the assistance of the Blessed Virgin Mary to see to the details, the organ restoration project was completed.

The organ, now named “Tina Mae” (Christina Mary), will be blessed and dedicated on October 20, 2013, the Solemn Feast of St. John Cantius (1962 Missale Romanum) by Cardinal Francis George, OMI. A Pontifical High Mass (Extraordinary Form) will be celebrated by Bishop Joseph Perry (All are welcome). There will also be a dinner at 6:00 p.m. and an organ recital at 7:00 p.m. in the Church (Tickets required).

To see some fascinating videos about the organ project and the history of the organ, click here. To order tickets for the dinner or recital, visit the St. John Cantius website.


Doctor’s Conversion Story

A story in the Chicago Tribune on July 30th noted that a prominent reproductive endocrinologist, Dr. Anthony Caruso, has given up his lucrative practice, saying reproductive technology has gone too far. He is proposing opening the St. Anne Center for Reproductive Health, a facility that would adhere to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services. He is currently a doctor at Alexian Brothers Hospital in Elk Grove Village, IL.

In 2002, Dr. Caruso related in a newspaper story how he helped a lesbian couple conceive a baby through IVF. Later, his courageous parish priest asked him to resign from the parish council saying his words and actions had violated Church teaching. This did not make the doctor angry, rather it caused him to think. His wife meanwhile was growing in her faith and attending as a family St. John Cantius Church which offers the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Mass daily. He also read the Church’s document Dignitas Personae, or “The Dignity of a Person,” which explained the Church’s teachings on reproductive health. According the the reporter, Dr. Caruso “walked away from his practice and into a confessional at St. John Cantius Roman Catholic Church to repent.”

The priests and brothers of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius are an IRL Affiliate Community who serve in parishes and help Catholics to rediscover a profound sense of the Sacred through solemn liturgies, devotions, sacred art and music, as well as instruction in the heritage of the Church, catechetics and Catholic culture.

What a testimony to the power of Truth, the heroism of a man truly seeking Truth and how the Truth sets you free.