Organized religion played a major role in the settling of Illinois and continues to influence the culture of our region. We enjoy highlighting places of worship, one in the country and one in the city, in each issue.
The Church of Saint Mary (Catholic) • Est. 1862
244 Waterman St., Sycamore, (815) 895-3275, stmarysycamore.com
In the 1800s, early pastors of St. Patrick Parish, in St. Charles, celebrated Mass with DeKalb County Catholics in a Sycamore courthouse.
That all changed in 1862 when the Sycamore congregation was given mission status and put under the care of St. Mary Catholic Church, located in neighboring DeKalb. Sycamore’s first Roman Catholic church was constructed that year.
In 1902, Fr. William J. Meehan oversaw the construction of a new church, which cost $22,000.
In the mid-1900s, a house next to the church was purchased by Fr. Peter Masterson and converted into a rectory.
By 1958, the parish had doubled in size and paid off its debts.
The historical church building was renovated from 1991 to ‘92 under the leadership of Fr. Frank Timar. Additional property was also purchased for future expansion needs.
Today, the congregation is in the middle of a capital campaign to fund the expansion of the parish campus. This large project includes expanding and updating the school facilities and the church building.
With a goal of raising $3.1 million, the congregation is about $445,000 shy of its target.
Mass is celebrated on weekdays at 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. during the school year. Weekend mass is celebrated Saturday at 5 p.m. and Sunday at 8 and 11 a.m. A Spanish-language Mass is celebrated Sunday at 9:30 a.m.
Congregational United Church of Christ • Est. 1959
1001 W. Kirchoff Road, Arlington Heights, (847) 392-6650, congucc.org
The life of Congregational United Church of Christ started with a newspaper ad in spring 1959.
Founding Pastor the Rev. W. Rowland Koch also made some 1,500 calls to local homes, in an effort to drum up membership.
Word spread quickly and within one year, the church had grown to 99 members and 80 children.
Over the next four decades, the church continued to grow not only its congregation, but its programs as well. Bible studies and small groups were created to build personal spiritual development. More recently, the church has added new small groups that encourage fellowship through Bible studies, book discussions and movie nights.
As the church has evolved, so too has its commitment to the community. The church is a local site for Public Action to Deliver Shelter, or PADS, a ministry that serves area homeless. Thursday nights from October through April, the church volunteers its building as a homeless shelter. The church youth also participate in mission work trips. The congregation has sponsored various refugee families and has shared its facility with two Korean congregations.
Interim Pastor Greg Skiba leads worship services on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. Sunday School for children is held during service.