Loading
‘God Squad’ constructs Nativity scene in downtown Chicago
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- The God Squad, a group of carpenters and tradesmen, donated their time and energies Nov. 27 to construct a one-of-a-kind Christmas display at Daley Center Plaza in downtown Chicago, reported The Illinois Leader.

Every year, the volunteers build one of the world's largest Nativity scenes around Thanksgiving and take it down on the last day of December.

The God Squad is headed and financed by retired businessman and Catholic activist Jim Finnegan, and business owner and founder of the Walsh Forum radio program Dick Walsh.

"We have received cell phone calls from people who are standing in front of the nativity scene, telling us how much they appreciate what we are doing," Finnegan told IllinoisLeader.com.

But city officials did not always welcome the display. A report in The Illinois Leader traces the history of the display.

In 1987, Chicago city attorney Judson Miner declared that the Nativity scene, located on the City Hall's property, violated the principle of separation of church and state and that "it was time to get rid of the thing."

The late pastor, Fr. Hiram Crawford, and activist William Grutzmacher decided they would fight to "keep Christ in Christmas", and they led a group of citizens into Miner’s office. After the meeting, the crèche was moved to the Daley Center Plaza, a traditional venue for free speech, including political demonstrations.

That year, TV news crews also taped city workers demolishing the Nativity scene. People from as far away as Germany called City Hall to protest, saying they could "not believe this could happen in America."

Two years later, Federal Judge James B. Parsons decided on behalf of Grutzmacher to allow the Nativity scene display during the Christmas season. The Dec. 4, 1989 ruling was made despite opposition from the American Jewish Congress, the ACLU, American Atheists, and the circulators of a petition, which was even signed by the late Joseph Cardinal Bernadin, archbishop of Chicago.

"Our founding fathers didn't intend to take religion out of the state, they took state out of religion," Finnegan told IllinoisLeader.com. "It would be our hope that other persons would take on the challenge of putting Christ back into Christmas in their area, by being responsible for a similar display in their towns."

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
Oct
24

Liturgical Calendar

October 24, 2014

Friday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 12:54-59

Gospel
Date
10/24/14
10/23/14
10/22/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Eph 4: 1-6
Gospel:: Lk 12: 54-59

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
10/24/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 12:54-59

Homily
Date
10/24/14
10/23/14
10/22/14