St. John Cantius chosen America’s Most Beautiful Church

St. John Cantius Church has been selected as the most beautiful Catholic Church in the United States.

By St. John CantiusManya Brachear Pashman, Contact Reporter, Chicago Tribune

Threatened with the wrecking ball in 1988, St. John Cantius Roman Catholic Church, with its opulent baroque interior, stands as one of Chicago’s many symbols of resurrection.

This past weekend, the Goose Island neighborhood parish, built by Polish immigrants in the 19th century, marshaled more than 16,000 of its fans and faithful to be voted “The Most Beautiful Church in America,” edging out Cathedral of the Madeleine, the seat of the Salt Lake City Archdiocese.

The contest, dubbed Church Madness, began as a whim of Patrick Murray, a self-proclaimed liturgy geek and consultant for Granda Liturgical Arts, a church design company in Omaha, Neb. Inspired by the NCAA basketball tournament nickname, March Madness, Murray designed a bracket of 64 architecturally alluring churches throughout the U.S. and posted them on his personal blog, which usually had about 10 views a day — “I think nine of them were from my mom.”

But the introduction of the “Sacred 64” bracket quickly changed that. By April 7, four days after the contest debuted, the blog was up to 70,000 views from 3,500 visitors. It had about 7,000 visitors Saturday, the day St. John Cantius took the title.