Saint Kevin's Parish
St. Kevin's Church, School, and Rectory
St. Kevin's Church
is located at 105th and Torrence Avenue. It was founded in 1884 for
the Irish people of the community in South Deering. St. Kevin's Church
under the direction of former pastor of St. Patrick Church in Maytown Illinois,
Father Timothy D. O'Sullivan, was established to keep separate
records for the congregration of South Deering.
Early land history about
the premises of St. Kevin's Church indicate that the University of
Notre Dame owned the six lots where the church was constructed.
Notre Dame intended to build a boy's school but since the area of South
Deering becoming more industrially properous the plan was cancelled.
Father O'Sullivan made many
contributions to Irondale and other surrounding neighborhoods. The influence
of Father O' Sullivan was a factor in developing the character of children
and adults of the area. He ministered to the needs of the Catholics
in Glenwood, Illinois and had a major role in the construction of St. Columba
parish in Hegewisch. Father O'Sullivan performed charity to the Catholic
congregation especially in the Cheltenham section of South Shore where
he directed the construction of St. Bride Church.
All of the wonderful contributions
Father O' Sullivan made to South Deering were missed when he left to become
the first resident pastor of St. Bride Parish. Before he left the congregation
of South Deering he had served the community for sixteen years. With
the departure of Pastor O'Sullivan came Reverend Richard H. McGuire from
St. Elizabeth Church. Father McGuire was very sick and served the
community only twenty months before his death on May 16, 1902. The new
pastor was Reverend David Crimmins of St. Ann's Church.
Reverend David Crimmins
bought many changes to the community. Both he and his assistant, Father
Matthew Hanley organized many societies, including Father Matthews Temperance
Society, the Mandolin Club, Holy Name Society, and the Marrieds Ladies
Society. Father Crimmins honored the International Harvester Company in
appreciation to their donations to the church by naming the area offically
known as Cummings, in honor of the president of the New York Central Railroad
and Irondale, due to the community's steel mills.
A new building was
constructed in 1925 to house the church, school, and hall.
The school consisted of first grade to fourth grade. The new church was
dedicated on Christmas Day,1925. The building was completed and opened
on September 19, 1926 by Cardinal Mundelein. An arsonist fire occurred
on January 31,1945 inside the church that drenched some of the school
rooms. Damages to the parish were estimated to be $25,000.
The parish began to increase
in membership as Catholic families began to purchase new homes in Jeffery
Manor and Merrionette Manor. The Chicago Housing Authority integrated the
Trumbull Park Homes at 106th and Bensley Avenue in 1953.
St. Kevin's Church originally
was predominantly Irish. More recently, the 300 families that belong
to the parish are 40% Mexican, 20% Irish and 20% Polish. The rest of the
congregation (20%) includes Italian, German, and Black families who live
in the area bounded by 103rd St. on the north, 109th on the south, Lake
Calumet on the west, and the Calumet river on the east.
Click on the links at the left to tour
Chicago's South Deering Churches.