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Our Lady of Siluva
"Lithuania's Greatest Treasure"

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Chicago
Designed in Lithuania Folk Baroque Style

Many Lithuanians migrated to Chicago to make their homes. Their devotion to God and Our Lady lead to the founding of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in 1929. The main altar of the original church featured a reproduction of the Miraculous Image of Our Lady of Šiluva with a gold plated riza. The parish is located on the south side of Chicago in the Marquette Park neighborhood. The area was once home to numerous Lithuanian's and American Lithuanians.

Parish members had a desire to build a new church, which would serve as a monument to their love for the Mother of God, through Her title of Our Lady of Šiluva. So, the Pastor of the day, Rt. Rev. Msgr. George A. Paskus, made extensive plans to erect it. The new church, started in 1953 and completed in 1957, is of Lithuanian folk baroque style and Lithuanian folk art. The gold-plated reproduction, from the original church, of Our Lady of Šiluva was enhanced and installed over the main altar of the new church building. The latest refurbishment of this beloved icon was done in 2008 to mark the 400th anniversary of Our Lady's apparition in Šiluva. This was done under the watchful eye of the pastor of the day, Rev. Anthony Markus. A mural depicting the apparition of the Blessed Virgin in Šiluva, artistically painted by Sister Mercedes of the Sisters of St. Casimir, was commissioned and installed over the west side altar. The church has attracted visitors from not only the United States but internationally as well.

During the Octave of the Feast of Our Lady of Šiluva in September, parishioners and fellow worshippers gather to pay homage to Our Lady of Šiluva. Priests from the United States and Lithuania are invited to Chicago to take part in the novena services and on the Sunday between the 7th and 16th, there is an outdoor procession with much pageantry. All Lithuanian parishes in Chicago participate. This celebration honoring Our Lady of Šiluva began in 1952 with the permission of Samuel Cardinal Stritch, under the direction of the late Anthony and Mary Rudis.

Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Chicago, Ill. Rev. Jaunius Kelpsas, Pastor.


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