Old St. Patrick’s Church: A Chicago Renaissance Story tells the story of how visionary leaders transformed the landmark Old St. Patrick’s Church from an empty church in a declining neighborhood into a Chicago hub of worship, culture, social life, education, and service. Old St. Patrick’s renaissance revitalized a then-struggling West Loop. The ongoing local vitality and global impact of this small urban church reveal the power of inspiration and imagination.
Through archival footage, striking images, and firsthand accounts, Old St. Patrick’s Church: A Chicago Renaissance Story reveals how Fr. Jack Wall and Fr. John Cusick realized their dream of reviving the church. We meet Old St. Pat’s current pastor, Fr. Tom Hurley, who now inspires and leads its still-growing membership. The film traces the history of Old St. Pat’s and its connection to the Irish immigrant story in Chicago, explores the church’s architecture and artistic restoration under Fr. Wall, features people forever changed by the church’s message of service and inclusion, and shows the groundbreaking nature of opening a new school in a formerly “Skid Row” neighborhood. And of course, the film touches on the audacity of marketing a World’s Largest Block Party when the church and neighborhood stood empty.
Old St. Patrick’s Church: A Chicago Renaissance Story is co-produced by Emmy-winning television correspondent and filmmaker Mike Leonard and Picture Show Films (The Ride of Our Lives).