St. Barnabas Gears Up For 100th Anniversary Block Party 

Submitted by St. Barnabas  

 

St. Barnabas Parish is gearing up for its All Parish and Alumni Block Party, and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say it will be the party of the century. The parish is celebrating their 100th anniversary, and the party is the first big celebration in honor of this milestone.  

“Since its inception in 1924, St Barnabas has stood as a beacon of faith, education and community, shaping the very fabric of the Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood,” said Beckie O’Connor, event co-chairperson. “We are excited to welcome alums, past parishioners and current parishioners to this celebration, as we commemorate a century of faith, family and friendships.” 

The All Parish and Alumni Block Party, a casual 21+ event, will be held on Saturday, June 8 from 5-10:30 p.m. in the parish parking lot and school gym, located at 10121 S. Longwood Drive.  Mass will be celebrated prior to the party, beginning at 4 p.m. at St. Barnabas Church.   

Longtime parishioner and event co-chair, Nancy Barrett, echoed O’Connor’s excitement.  

“We have been working hard to contact as many alums and former parishioners as we can. We can’t wait to welcome them back and celebrate with them and all of our current parishioners. St. Barnabas really is undergoing a Renaissance, with so many young families moving into the neighborhood. This is a great opportunity to unite the past and present as we embark on the next 100 years.” 

 Live music will highlight the evening with Tony Ladas, setting a relaxed mood with soulful tunes for the first part of the evening. He will be followed by the renowned Chicago Cover Band, “The Birkenstocks,” whose music features hits from the 1970s, 80s, 90s and 2000s, and will bring everyone to the dance floor! 

But there is no doubt that for many attendees, the best part of the celebration will be reconnecting with old friends and neighbors, and remembering the years that they were a part of the parish. To spark memories, the committee is creating an interactive timeline and legacy wall, and the gym with be decorated with memorabilia and old photos.   

 Brian Cronin, Class of 1981, was the first person to buy his ticket. Brian and his five siblings all graduated from St. Barnabas School. His father Mark, was the head usher for more than 20 years; his mother, Jean Ann, was the first female lector at Mass. 

 Brian lives in the western suburbs with his four children and his wife, Barbara Bansley, a Christ the King grad, and both are looking forward to returning to the South Side for the party.  

 “In attendance with the current ‘care takers’ of the parish will be those of us who have ventured on, but always call St. Barnabas home,” Brian Cronin said. “We can’t wait to celebrate with them and say cheers to another 100 years.” 

 New parishioners Melissa and Drew Kreikmeier also are very excited about the block party. Melissa grew up in Evergreen Park. Drew hails from Omaha, Nebraska. They moved into St. Barnabas in 2018. They have four children, three of whom are in the primary grades at St. Barnabas.  

 “It will be a wonderful opportunity to meet other families and expand our roots in this great community,” the couple said.  

 Both O’Connor and Barrett expect a large crowd to attend the event. In 2014, at the parish’s 90th anniversary Block Party, close to 600 people attended. With this in mind, parking will be a challenge as no parking is available in the Barnabas lot. Guests are advised to come early for the limited parking available in the Metra lot to the east of the school on Walden Parkway. Organizers hope local guests will walk or cycle with neighbors and friends to the celebration.   

 O’Connor added that St. Barnabas is committed to accessibility. 

 “If a guest has specific needs, please contact the parish in advance so that we can help with any accommodations that need to be made. Handicapped parking will be available in front of the church.” 

 More information about the party, becoming a sponsor, and tickets can be found online through St. Barnabas’ social media channels. 

Tickets are $85 and will include beer, wine, seltzers, soft drinks and snacks. Local food vendors will be on site for additional purchases. Benefactor tickets also are available on the site for $100, you will receive a pin along with your ticket to celebrate your Buckeye pride. 

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