Friday, February 20, 2009
Eucharistic Congress 1926
The first Eucharistic Congress of the Catholic Church took place in Lille, France in 1881. The 28th Congress was held in Chicago, June 20-24, 1926, the first time it had been hosted in the United States. It was considered the greatest religious gathering in modern times.
A High Mass was given at Soldier Field with an estimated 400,000 in attendance. Shown here are the "Nuns and Women's Choir of 10,000 Voices" which sang at Soldier Field on June 22.
On June 24th, 750,000 people made a pilgrimage in a Eucharistic Procession from Chicago to St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein. The participants traveled on foot, by auto, bus, and by rail. Shown below is a view of St. Mary of the Lake with the procession being led by Cardinal Bonzano. The Chapel of the Immaculate Conception is at left.
The village's population swelled from 590 to 750,000, as the faithful and Church religious gathered from around the world at St. Mary of the Lake. Chicago's North Shore Line railroad made history when it transported 250,000 people to the event. Today, a trail on the south side of Route 176 is all that remains of the line that brought people to St. Mary's.
In 1920, Cardinal Mundelein had announced plans to build St. Mary of the Lake. At right is a postcard view of the dedication day, celebrating the opening of the seminary.
A colorized view (below) of the Eucharistic Procession at St. Mary of the Lake with prelates crossing one of the bridges on the property.
The village adopted George Cardinal Mundelein's name in 1924, in honor of his building the seminary and for what some called as a way to "cash in" on the free advertising the seminary and Eucharistic Congress would bring.