St. Anthony’s is as diverse as . . .

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As I’ve sat with a number of people over the years, discussions have often turned to who the people of Kensington, Pullman and Roseland are. As a child in St. Anthony’s Parish, the answer was clear: We’re all Italian. Of course, then I became more aware of the world around me. I came to realize that some of the last names called for attendance at school weren’t Italian: Knudson, Ramirez, Mrozowski, Clark, Timmerman, Vanderwahl, and a few more. Hitting the playground gave further proof of how diverse the entire community of Roseland was.

The playgrounds of summer gave us ample time to get acquainted with kids from the surrounding neighborhoods as we all played at Roseland’s parks or Little League fields. We may have gone to different schools, but summers brought us all together, made us aware of each other and allowed us to build lasting friendships.

That was how our knowledge of other ethnicities expanded. Those kids we formed friendships with made us aware of the larger world. When we ate at our house, we got Italian style food, but when we ate at our friends’ houses, we enjoyed American food or cuisines from other countries.

Of all those friendships we made, of all the people we saw while shopping on “The Ave” (Michigan Avenue), of all those kids we played with, those who attended churches did so based on their ethnicities and religious beliefs. For those of us who were Catholic, that fact was borne out by the many Catholic parishes throughout Roseland with various ethnic affiliations.

All Saints (Lithuanian) was at 108th and State, St. Nicholas (German) at 113th and State, Holy Rosary (Slovak) at 108th and Perry, Holy Rosary (Irish) at 113th and King Drive, St. Willibrord Dutch at 114th and Edbrooke, St. Louis de France (French) 117th and State, St. Catherine of Genoa (Irish) at 118th and Lowe, St. Anthony of Padua (Italian) Prairie and Kensington, as well as Assumption BVM at 123rd and Parnell, St. John De La Salle at 102nd and Vernon and Sts. Peter and Paul at 125th and Halsted.

St. Anthony’s Archdiocesan designation for years has been as a “national” parish. That always identified a parish as being associated with a specific ethnicity. In the case of St. Anthony’s, we know that the majority of parishioners since it was established in 1903 were Italian, thereby its standing as a national parish.

We’ve all seen the community of Roseland go through plenty of changes over the past decades. Along with the community changes, the structure of the Catholic parishes has changed tremendously. The number of parishioners at Roseland’s Catholic churches has decreased dramatically along with the enrollment in their associated schools.

Of all the Roseland churches I’ve mentioned, there are only two that remain individual parishes and the archdiocese will determine their fate this year. The number of parishioners along with their financial support at these parishes has diminished to the point that the viability of maintaining these parishes is under consideration.

Basically, all of the Roseland Catholic parishes listed are now a part of St. Anthony’s parish, other than those two. The Archdiocese has, therefore, re- designated St. Anthony of Padua as a “rerritorial” parish. The designation stresses that St. Anthony serves a geographic rather than ethnic area.

So, Italian, Lithuanian, German, Polish, Dutch, Mexican, French, Irish, Slovak they are all part of the ethnicity of St. Anthony of Padua parish. As I said in the headline, “St. Anthony’s is as diverse as…” when in actuality, I should be going with “…as diverse as St. Anthony’s is!”

Keeping the pandemic in mind, you should consider all listed events as cancelled. The best thing to do is to remember to confirm any events that you might be considering attending.  Events I’ve mentioned in past columns that warrant confirmation: St. Anthony Dinner Dance and the Pullman House Tours in October; Frank Rossi on second and fourth Tuesdays at Smokey Jo’s in Crete.

Bonny and George Sandona

Yea! Spaghetti-Os hasn’t completely gone away! Bonny Sandona has mentioned the possibility of a future get together, possibly for the holidays. Everyone is aware that Bonny and George get a big kick out of following Frank Rossi whenever he plays anywhere in the south suburbs. You can join them whenever they’re out and about. Pay attention to your sources of information so you don’t miss out on any opportunities to see other Spaghetti-Os members.

Roselandites who have bought my book are very excited to have their memories brought to life. Copies of “Petals from Roseland: Fond Memories of Chicago’s Roseland, Pullman and Kensington Neighborhoods” are available by contacting me.

Contact me with news, information, or questions at: CJ Martello, 11403 S. Saint Lawrence Ave., Chicago, IL 60628; res. tel: 773-701-6756; or


About C.J. Martello

CJ Martello has returned to his roots as the author of “Petals from Roseland.” After five years of writing his column as a resident of Chicago's North Side, CJ put his money where his heart is and moved to Pullman, near the Roseland area in which he grew up. Having joined the Spaghetti-Os, Veneti nel Mondo and St. Anthony of Padua Parish and being one of the founders of the Roseland Roundtable Facebook page, CJ has become reacquainted with countless friends and acquaintances from his youth. CJ is looking forward to retirement and completing the books he has put on hold, including one that will encompass as much of Roseland's rich, beloved history as possible.

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