first Catholic parish in Oak Park, was founded by Archbishop James Quigley in June of 1907 with the
Rev. John J. Code as pastor. For want of a
more suitable site,
the first Mass was celebrated in the barn of the Scoville Estate
(now Scoville Park) on Lake Street and Oak Park Avenue. For the
next three years Mass was said in a rented hall on Lake Street,
east of Oak Park Avenue.
Edmund Rich Bio: Click here.
beautiful 14th Century English Gothic Church
Henry Schlacks were dedicated in May of 1910. It has priceless
art glass windows executed by the Zeittler Studios in Munich.
Prior to its 2000 restoration and renovation, the church had
been decorated three times. John Mallin designed the 1943 and
1951 decorations. The ceiling and paintings in the church were
his design, executed by graduate students of art in Vienna. In
the late 40's, and until he died in 1956, Msgr. Code made many
changes to the interior of the church including replacing the
Henry Schlacks altar, pulpit and baptismal font with new marble
ones designed by DaPrato Rigali. In 1954 the original red tiles
of the church roof and steeple were removed. Grey slate
tiles were added to the church and the steeple was encased in
(Photo Courtesy of
of 15th century French Gothic design, a
copy of the Palace of Justice in Rouen, France, was also
designed by Henry Schlacks. This was opened in the Fall of 1917
and staffed by the Dominican Sisters from Adrian, Michigan. An
annex to the school was completed in 1948. A modern addition to
the south of the building was opened in 1959.
In 1929 the parish bought the home of
W.G. Lloyd at the SW comer of Euclid and Pleasant to be used as
a convent. Architecturally significant, the building is thought
to be designed by George Maher, the architect who designed
"Pleasant Home" in Mills Park. For further details,
Hall, adjoining the north side of the church, was added
in 1970. At this time the church was renovated to provide more
seating and to conform with Vatican II.
Edmund Church has been a work in progress.
The restoration and renovation of the church
in the late 1990's (see below) was begun after some 200 parishioners gathered to
formulate a concept statement defining treasures, needs and
values of the parish. As a result the windows and ceiling were
cleaned and restored. The interior is barrier free and has
improved state of the art lighting and sound systems. The ambo
and altar, along with the sanctuary, were reconfigured to best
express how the liturgy is celebrated today. The original floors were
uncovered and cleaned and original pews and wainscoting were
refinished. Henry Zimach of HPZS was the architect of this
renovation. John Buscemi, the liturgical consultant, redesigned
the altar and ambo, and designed a new baptismal font.
Saint Edmund Parish
Rev. Msgr. John J.
Code- June 1907 - October 1956
Rev. Msgr. Donald
Carroll- December 1956 - February 1967
Rev. Msgr. John J.
Murphy- February 1967 - March 1975
Rev. William J. Kelly-
June 1975 - June 1987
Rev. Robert H. Festle-
July 1987 - January 1992
Rev. Joseph B. Ruiz-
March 1992 - March 2004
McGivern - July 2004-Present
A Brief History of St.
began its commitment to excellence in Catholic education
in 1917, when Father John Code made plans to construct
a school on the
corner of Oak Park Avenue and Pleasant Street in Oak Park. Henry J.
Schlacks designed the building after the Palace of Justice in Rouen,
France. The cornerstone was laid on May 20, 1917, but the building was
not ready when school started in September. The children attended Bishop
Quarter School on Lake Street until the building was completed.
The school was dedicated on
October 14, 1917 with a grand procession led by Archbishop Mundelein and
Father Code. The Dominican order of nuns from Adrian, Michigan,
originally ran the school and lived in a part of the school until a
convent was bought for them on the SW comer of Euclid and Pleasant
On May 9, 1948, Cardinal Stritch dedicated the annex, which included
four new classrooms, a music hall, and a library. Archbishop Albert G.
Meyer dedicated the two-story addition to the school on April 28, 1959.
In 2005, St. Edmund School formed a partnership with Dominican
University in River Forest, continuing its mission of providing a
well-founded Catholic education to the next generation of students. St.
Edmund Parish School proudly celebrated ninety years of service to the
parish and to the community in 2007, the year of the Parish Centennial.
After 99 years, the St.
Edmund Parish School was closed on June 3, 2016. An account of its final
day was published in the Oak Park newspaper, Wednesday Journal. Click
here to read the story.
(Photo Courtesy of
Rededication of St. Edmund
Church, November 2000
in the late 1990's, St. Edmund Parish was engaged in a highly
consultative process to restore and renovate the church, school,
social hall and rectory buildings in accord with the expressed
values and preferences of parish members and the policies
and procedures of the Archdiocese of Chicago. The
Rededication Mass, celebrating the restoration and
renovation work and marking a new chapter in parish
history, was celebrated on Sunday, November 19, 2000,. Bishop Thad Jakubowski, Episcopal Vicar of
Vicariate IV, presided.
restoration and renovation
of St. Edmund Church resulted in civic recognition with the
announcement that it was a 2001 winner of the Historic
Preservation Award presented by the Oak Park Historic
Preservation Commission. The award was presented May 21, 2001
in the Council Chambers of the Oak Park Village Hall by Village
President Joanne Trapani.
2004, the parish erected what is
thought to be the very first outdoor signage identifying St.
Edmund Parish. The sign was donated in loving memory of
Helen and Leroy McGuff
by Mary Lynn Dietsche; in loving memory of Suzanne C. Guerin by
the Suzanne Guerin Memorial Fund; and by its former pastor, the
Reverend Joseph B. Ruiz. In November 2004, the sign won
the prestigious Oak Park Cavalcade of Pride Award.