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St Odilo Church

2244 East Ave, Berwyn, IL 60402
http://www.odilo.com
(708) 484-2161 Additional Contacts
 
In April 1927, George Cardinal Mundelein commissioned Fr. William J. Roberts to form a new parish in order to meet the needs of the fast growing city of Berwyn, Illinois. Father Roberts was granted the unique privilege of selecting the name for this n...read more
In April 1927, George Cardinal Mundelein commissioned Fr. William J. Roberts to form a new parish in order to meet the needs of the fast growing city of Berwyn, Illinois. Father Roberts was granted the unique privilege of selecting the name for this new parish. At his request, the parish was dedicated to St. Odilo, the Abbot of Cluny, France who began the great feast known as All Souls Day. The chancery office purchased a site on the corner of Clarence Avenue and 23rd Street in a district of homes that had grown rapidly due to the recent extension of the Douglas Park elevated train. The purchase price was $48,000 and included 300 feet of frontage on Clarence Avenue. In the meantime, Father Roberts quickly gathered a small but energetic group of volunteers to help him establish a temporary site for St. Odilo Church at a vacant storefront that still exists on the corner of 22nd Street (now Cermak Ave.) and Clarence Avenue. The church, a chapel in appearance, had a capacity of about 200 people. The first Mass was celebrated at 8 obclock on the morning of June 12, 1927 by Father Roberts, assisted by altar boys James Mueller and Edward McGovern and with the help of Mr. & Mrs. Frank Kiedrowski and Mr. & Mrs. Lysle Goyette. Professor George Hrusa directed the choir, and making her debut as the St. Odilo organist was Genevieve Doyle McNichols, who would continue as the churchbs only organist until 1983. The next week, the St. Odilo Building Fund Committee was formed for the sole purpose of raising money to build a permanent church building. This committee initiated all of the activities of the various societies, and all of the funds generated were tabulated and coordinated by them. Fundraisers included card parties held in parish homes and in the bparish hall,b as well as carnivals and picnics. Through these activities the parish was able to raise a total of $22,000 in just seven months. The cornerstone for the first church building was laid in May, 1928, and following the breakneck pace of events under Father Roberts, the new church was completed 6 months later at a cost of $150,000 and dedicated by Cardinal Mundelein with a Mass on November 4, 1928. A shrine for the poor souls was built in the church, and weekly devotions were held in their honor. At that first Mass, Cardinal Mundelein granted special privileges to St. Odilo Parish to give a 200 day indulgence applicable to the souls in purgatory for each visit to the new church. The building (the present school building) followed the Northern Italian style of architecture, and contained a church on the first floor, a school on the second floor and a parish hall in the basement. The original plans called for a third floor, but it was not built at that time. Two additional pieces of property were purchased on the southwest corner of East Ave. and 23rd St. for the original rectory and convent. The Sisters of Charity, B.V.M. came to St. Odilo in September 1928 to take on the task of running the school at the invitation of Father Roberts who had been taught by B.V.M nuns. Sister Mary Celerina was the first principal with a teaching staff of six other nuns. The school used temporary quarters in the basement of the storefront church for teaching classes until the new building was completed. When classes were resumed in the new building, there was an enrollment of 250 students. St. Odilo chapters of the Holy Name Society for men and the Altar and Rosary Society for women as well as a Young Peoplebs Club were formed in that first year. These groups organized countless social and spiritual activities for the parish for many years. Many of the early parishioners, including Gen McNichols, Prof. Hrusa, and many B.V.M. sisters had previously attended Blessed Sacrament Church in Chicago but moved out to the then new community of Berwyn when St. Odilo Church was founded. Today, Blessed Sacrament is St. Odilobs sharing parish. Several times a year, parishioners of St. Odilo donate gifts
 
 

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In April 1927, George Cardinal Mundelein commissioned Fr. William J. Roberts to form a new parish in order to meet the needs of the fast growing city of Berwyn, Illinois. Father Roberts was granted the unique privilege of selecting the name for this new parish. At his request, the parish was dedicated to St. Odilo, the Abbot of Cluny, France who began the great feast known as All Souls Day. The chancery office purchased a site on the corner of Clarence Avenue and 23rd Street in a district of homes that had grown rapidly due to the recent extension of the Douglas Park elevated train. The purchase price was $48,000 and included 300 feet of frontage on Clarence Avenue. In the meantime, Father Roberts quickly gathered a small but energetic group of volunteers to help him establish a temporary site for St. Odilo Church at a vacant storefront that still exists on the corner of 22nd Street (now Cermak Ave.) and Clarence Avenue. The church, a chapel in appearance, had a capacity of about 200 people. The first Mass was celebrated at 8 obclock on the morning of June 12, 1927 by Father Roberts, assisted by altar boys James Mueller and Edward McGovern and with the help of Mr. & Mrs. Frank Kiedrowski and Mr. & Mrs. Lysle Goyette. Professor George Hrusa directed the choir, and making her debut as the St. Odilo organist was Genevieve Doyle McNichols, who would continue as the churchbs only organist until 1983. The next week, the St. Odilo Building Fund Committee was formed for the sole purpose of raising money to build a permanent church building. This committee initiated all of the activities of the various societies, and all of the funds generated were tabulated and coordinated by them. Fundraisers included card parties held in parish homes and in the bparish hall,b as well as carnivals and picnics. Through these activities the parish was able to raise a total of $22,000 in just seven months. The cornerstone for the first church building was laid in May, 1928, and following the breakneck pace of events under Father Roberts, the new church was completed 6 months later at a cost of $150,000 and dedicated by Cardinal Mundelein with a Mass on November 4, 1928. A shrine for the poor souls was built in the church, and weekly devotions were held in their honor. At that first Mass, Cardinal Mundelein granted special privileges to St. Odilo Parish to give a 200 day indulgence applicable to the souls in purgatory for each visit to the new church. The building (the present school building) followed the Northern Italian style of architecture, and contained a church on the first floor, a school on the second floor and a parish hall in the basement. The original plans called for a third floor, but it was not built at that time. Two additional pieces of property were purchased on the southwest corner of East Ave. and 23rd St. for the original rectory and convent. The Sisters of Charity, B.V.M. came to St. Odilo in September 1928 to take on the task of running the school at the invitation of Father Roberts who had been taught by B.V.M nuns. Sister Mary Celerina was the first principal with a teaching staff of six other nuns. The school used temporary quarters in the basement of the storefront church for teaching classes until the new building was completed. When classes were resumed in the new building, there was an enrollment of 250 students. St. Odilo chapters of the Holy Name Society for men and the Altar and Rosary Society for women as well as a Young Peoplebs Club were formed in that first year. These groups organized countless social and spiritual activities for the parish for many years. Many of the early parishioners, including Gen McNichols, Prof. Hrusa, and many B.V.M. sisters had previously attended Blessed Sacrament Church in Chicago but moved out to the then new community of Berwyn when St. Odilo Church was founded. Today, Blessed Sacrament is St. Odilobs sharing parish. Several times a year, parishioners of St. Odilo donate gifts