Church is what you make of it. As a strong believer in God and a proud constituent of the Catholic faith, I can tell you firsthand that God can be found where you need him most, even in the unholiest places and times. However, there’s nothing quite like the gift of worship in a church, a true sanctuary designed to lift the spirits of the weary in celebration of the word of God. While church is so much more than a building (it’s community, service, devotion, and culture, too!), some pretty spectacular churches right here in Chicago are well worth seeing for yourself in person. Whether you’re looking for a new congregation for your family or simply need a fresh perspective, check out one of these amazing, famous churches in Chicago!
730 N Wabash Ave Chicago, IL 60611
Holy Name Cathedral is one of the largest Roman dioceses in the United States. While it seats 1,200 people, over 6,000 Chicago households worship here, earning it the moniker “where Chicago goes to pray.” Holy Name Cathedral was rebuilt after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. While its history dates back over 150 years, its architectural design integrates a much older Gothic Revival style that feels ancient and holy. Visit the church to attend a service, light a prayer candle, or simply take in its divine beauty.
1850 N. Hermitage Ave., Chicago, IL 60622
St. Mary of the Angels has a beautiful story of salvation and refuge. The church lies in the heart of Bucktown, an area that saw a huge influx of immigrants, namely Polish, in the 1830s. In the nearly two centuries since, the church saw challenges from WWII and the opening of the Kennedy Expressway. The church closed in 1988 and was slated for demolition until Cardinal Bernardin, then Archbishop of Chicago, saved and restored it. Today, the exquisite church’s doors are open to any who seek guidance, help, sanctuary, and peace.
642 W. Deming Place Chicago, IL 60614
Founded in 1887, Saint Clement Parish is a true work of art. Its walls have spectacularly detailed paintings, murals, and breathtaking stained glass windows. This Romanesque church has been a draw for worshippers and art and architecture enthusiasts for nearly 150 years. A stunning dome draws the eye from the church’s interior and exterior, symbolizing heaven in all its glory. Saint Clement Parish is a church where it’s difficult not to feel the presence of God all around you in such an honored, holy space.
825 N Carpenter St., Chicago, IL 60642
St. John Cantius Church is another place of worship that Polish immigrants originally founded at the end of the nineteenth century. Like the city of Chicago, it also has seen its fair share of trials and tribulations, surviving times of war, the Great Depression, and other challenges. Today, however, the church is as lively as ever, representing a broad cross-section of every ethnic, socio-economic, and age group. They try to continuously honor Polish cultural traditions, though everyone is welcome in their community. St. John Cantius has also taken pride in the traditional music of the church and has become a place of musical worship, craftsmanship, and appreciation.
These famous churches in Chicago all have beautiful histories that celebrate God, the Catholic faith, and the amazing city in which we live. Visit to marvel at the extraordinary architecture or to take in a service – either way, I have a hunch you’ll find peace, inspiration, and grace within the walls of these beautiful places of worship.
Wondering what to do after church? Have a family session! Check out more of my portfolio and let’s chat about capturing that sweet family of yours.