Father Nemanja Tesic hopes to celebrate Christmas with the St. Nikola Serbian Orthodox Church congregation in the former St. Hugh. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Father Nemanja Tesic hopes to celebrate Christmas with the St. Nikola Serbian Orthodox Church congregation in the former St. Hugh. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Serbian Orthodox Church in Brookfield buys St. Hugh in Lyons

Spread the love

By Steve Metsch 

St. Hugh Roman Catholic Church in Lyons, closed by the Archdiocese of Chicago in June 2021, will again be a house of worship.

St. Nikola Serbian Orthodox Church, based in Brookfield, purchased the property on March 10.

Father Nemanja Tesic, 38, who leads the estimated 500-member congregation, hopes to have Christmas services in the former St. Hugh Church after making renovations.

With room for about 400, the church is four times larger than the current St. Nikola church, 4301 S. Prairie Ave., that can squeeze in “80 to 100 with difficulty,” Tesic said.

A big selling point is the classrooms in two buildings at St. Hugh in the 4300 block of Joliet Avenue.

“There are a lot of parishioners with children,” Tesic said. “The first priority is to open a school.”

Some of the students will likely be his own children. He and his wife have five daughters and one son, ages 3 to 13.

With a Serbian Orthodox population of around 500,000 in and near Chicago, Tesic is confident a school will be popular.

“It won’t be just for the Serbian community. It will be for everyone,” he said.

In the church, Tesic plans to install new flooring, which would mean temporarily removing the pews.

The altar is not in plain view in a Serbian Orthodox church, unlike the Roman Catholic faith, he said, so that entails some renovating, too.

The stained-glass windows, beloved by longtime St. Hugh parishioners, will remain. “They’re beautiful,” Tesic said.

St. Nikola once had hoped to build a new church on greenspace at its current site. The Brookfield Village Board approved the plan, Tesic said.

“But the coronavirus started and everything went down, and then the prices went up. We decided it’s too much for us,” Tesic said.

St. Nikola officials were disappointed because they thought they had a deal in place to purchase the former St. Barbara Church in Brookfield.

“Something happened and (the Archdiocese) decided not to sell,” Tesic said.

dvn st. hugh sold4

After renovations, the interior of St. Hugh Church will closely resemble the current interior of St. Nikola.

A sale price for St. Hugh was not disclosed.

In an email on March 14, Archdiocese Communications and Public Relations Director Manny Gonzalez said, “We don’t comment on details of specific transactions.”

After the St. Barbara deal fell through, Tesic said the archdiocese suggested he take a look at “something else” which was St. Hugh.

“They have what we need,” he said. “We need to open a school.”

He especially likes the free-standing gymnasium at 43rd and Prescott: “It’s great for us. We have a lot of younger people.”

He led some congregation members on a tour there March 12.

“We are very happy because this property is much bigger than our previous one,” Vujica Zivokovi, 29, of Brookfield, said.

“We (can) have a school here, a place where we can have some celebrations,” he said. “We going to stay here for a long time.”

Tesic found the St. High site appealing because it is contained on one block with no streets to cross.

The purchase was announced March 1 at the Lyons Village Board meeting.

The topic came up because for the sale to go through, the village had to vacate two alleys paved over decades ago for the playground behind the church. The village board voted 5-0 in favor of the action.

Trustee Ivaca Lazich abstained from voting because he is a congregation member.

“It’s a great thing for the church,” Lazich said “With the expansion, it’s even better. A lot more people. … This is big upgrade. We’ll be good for years to go.”

Mayor Christopher Getty said he was “very happy” to see another church use the building.

“It’s good they had so much interest early in (the St. Hugh) site,” Getty said. “Breathe a little life into it. It will be good.”

Longtime St. Hugh parishioner Arlene Houda, 83, made her First Communion in the church where she was later married. She attended the school.

“I love the fact that it will remain a house of God,” Houda said. “I pray those people will love it as much as so many of us have over so many years.”

Houda said repairs are needed in the classroom building attached to the church. “As far as Keating Hall and those classrooms, all they need is a little TLC.”

Keating Hall is the auditorium in what parishioners still call “the new building” although it opened in 1959.

“I love the idea that they want to have a school,” said Houda, a graduate of St. Hugh School. “I’m positive that was the beginning of our downfall when our school closed in 2001. We lost families.”

St. Hugh, which opened 97 years ago, merged July 1 with Mater Christi in North Riverside and St. Mary in Riverside. The new parish is in Riverside.

“We are pleased to see St. Hugh continue to serve as a worship site for the Serbian community,” Gonzalez added.

dvn st. hugh sold3

Father Nemanja Tesic, of St. Nikola Serbian Orthodox Church in Brookfield, said the stain glass windows in newly acquired St. Hugh will remain in place.

1 Comment

  1. Nikola Mihailović on March 22, 2022 at 4:22 pm

    Prelepa vest, bravo ljudi! ????????????



Local News

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Lyons water polo teams splash to state

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Both of Lyons water polo team qualified for the state quarterfinals. Lyons’ girls water polo team won its own sectional by beating Mother McAuley, 13-9, in the title game on May 11. The Lions will face York in the state quarterfinals on May 17 at Stevenson High School in…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

IHSA announces postseason assignments for baseball, softball, girls soccer

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent The IHSA has announced the Class 3A and 4A baseball seeds were revealed and Nazareth, which is seeking its third straight state championship will have to do it in Class 4A after winning two straight in 3A in 2022 and 2023. The Roadrunners drew the top seed at the…

Red Stars goalie Alyssa Naeher, shown retrieving a ball against Washington on May 1, left a May 12 game against Utah with an injury. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Red Stars win at home again, Naeher hurt

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent The NWSL released a fun fact that is pretty darn fun for Chicago Red Stars fans. This year’s version of the Red Stars opened the season 3-0-1, scoring 10 points in the first four road games. They were the fourth team in league history to do that. According to…

Anna Marassa is the only girls volleyball coach in De La Salle history. Photo courtesy of De La Salle

Hall of Fame volleyball coach Anna Marassa coach calls it a career

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Hall of Fame volleyball coach Anna Marassa is retiring. Marassa is the only girls volleyball coach in De La Salle’s history as she headed up the program in 2002 and racked up 538 victories, 10 regional championships and four sectional titles. She is also the boys coach and wraps…

Shepard's Kyla Motley (left) and Rajae Stevenson at the Lyons Sectional. Photo courtesy of Shepard High School

Girls Track | Shepard’s Kyla Motley wins three titles at Lyons Sectional

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Shepard junior track star Kyla Motley was a sectional champion in three events for the second year in a row. Motley won the 100 high hurdles with a time of 15.31, the long jump with an 18-2.5 effort, and the triple jump with a 36-9 at the Class 3A Lyons…

Stagg tennis players and twins Nick and Seamus Keough finished third at No. 3 singles at the SouthWest Suburban Red meet. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Boys Tennis | Stagg takes third at final SWSC Red tourney

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent Saturday blue skies cleared the way for the final SouthWest Suburban Conference boys tennis matches as Stagg hosted Andrew, Lincoln-Way Central, and Lincoln-Way West at Moraine Valley Community College. The Chargers started the season losing five of their first games but finished the regular season 10-10-1. They finished third…

Anthony Calderon

UPDATE: Bedford Park man, girlfriend charged with plotting Bridgeview father’s murder

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong A Bedford Park man and the victim’s girlfriend have been charged in the shooting death of Arturo Cantu last Wednesday. Bridgeview police arrested Anthony Calderon, 20, of the 7700 block of 65th Place, Friday night. He allegedly confessed to the murder and reportedly led police to the weapon used in…

Facepainting was a hit at Stickney's annual Cinco de Mayo celebration. (Supplied photos)

Stickney celebrates Cinco de Mayo

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Carol McGowan The Village of Stickney didn’t disappoint this year with its annual Cinco de Mayo celebration. Village Trustee Leandra Torres, who is the Co-Chaiman of the Parks and Recreation Commission along with Trustee Jim Hrejsa, said it was a fun-filled day. “We had 774 people attend this year,” she said. “It…

Summit Village officials with SD 104 Wrestling Coach Joe Phelan, and Wrestlers 
Gianna Araujo-Dominguez,Ali Arellano-Phipps,Yaili Fortiz, Joaquin Fortiz, and Skylar Arellano-Phipps. Michael Starzyk was not present. (Photo by Carol McGowan)

Summit congratulates District 104 westlers

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Carol McGowan At their April 15 board meeting, Summit Mayor Sergio Rodriguez and village officials presented Certificates of Accomplishment to boy and girl wrestlers from Summit School District 104. Rodriguez read their accomplishments and called them up one-by-one to receive their certificates.  They were given a standing ovation by those in attendance.…

Vern Woyner works on a 2009 Buick Lucerne at his shop, Vern’s Auto Service, in Lyons. He was honored by the village recently. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Auto mechanic Vern Woyner honored for 47 years working in Lyons

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch If you have lived in or near Lyons the past 47 years and needed your car repaired, there’s a good chance you know Vern Woyner. Woyner, 70, has been repairing vehicles in Lyons since 1977. His longevity of expert service has earned him the highest award presented by the village.…

Neighbors

House GOP advances 2 human trafficking victim protection bills as others remain in limbo

House GOP advances 2 human trafficking victim protection bills as others remain in limbo

By COLE LONGCOR Capitol News Illinois clongcor@capitolnewsillinois.com After Illinois received another failing grade from a national advocacy group, state House Republicans have introduced legislation aimed at further protecting victims and prosecuting perpetrators of human trafficking. Shared Hope International, an advocacy organization that works to prevent sex trafficking, said in its 2023 Illinois report card that…

Hundreds of bills pass, including changes to state’s biometric data privacy law

Hundreds of bills pass, including changes to state’s biometric data privacy law

By HANNAH MEISEL COLE LONGCOR & ALEX ABEDDUTO Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Lawmakers passed more than 200 bills this week ahead of their scheduled May 24 adjournment.  Many of the measures will soon head to Gov. JB Pritzker, including a bill that changes how damages accrue under Illinois’ first-in-the-nation biometric data privacy law.…

Pritzker pledges to expand access to mental health care in Illinois

Pritzker pledges to expand access to mental health care in Illinois

By DILPREET RAJU Capitol News Illinois draju@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – In the middle of Mental Health Awareness Month, Gov. JB Pritzker and Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton hosted a panel in Springfield this week at which he pledged to expand the state’s behavioral health services. With several dozen services providers from around the state in attendance, Pritzker…

With 1 week left in session, Pritzker admin says all revenue options remain on the table

With 1 week left in session, Pritzker admin says all revenue options remain on the table

By JERRY NOWICKI  Capitol News Illinois jnowicki@capitolnewsillinois.com While the governor’s office instructed its agency directors to prepare for $800 million in potential budget cuts last week, all facets of his plan to raise $1.1 billion in revenue to avoid those cuts remain under consideration.  Read more: ANALYSIS: ‘Significant enough’ opposition to Pritzker’s revenue plan leads to…

Illinois launches summer food assistance program

Illinois launches summer food assistance program

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – The state is launching a new program to provide food assistance during the summer for families with children who qualify for free or reduced-price meals at school. Gov. JB Pritzker joined other state officials and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Thursday to announce that Illinois will…

Lawmakers consider tax break for news publishers, state-sponsored journalism scholarships

Lawmakers consider tax break for news publishers, state-sponsored journalism scholarships

By ALEX ABBEDUTO & ANDREW ADAMS Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com  SPRINGFIELD – A new measure being debated in the Illinois General Assembly would create a tax credit for certain news publishers based on the number of reporters they employ.  The proposal from Sen. Steve Stadelman, D-Rockford, is part of a package of policies that he…

House gives OK to new state agency focused on early childhood programs

House gives OK to new state agency focused on early childhood programs

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois House gave final passage Thursday to a bill establishing a new cabinet-level state agency whose mission will be to provide a kind of one-stop shop for services focusing on early childhood development and education. By the time it’s fully operational in 2026, the new…

As vacated Centralia funeral home prepares for new tenant, owner makes a startling find

As vacated Centralia funeral home prepares for new tenant, owner makes a startling find

By BETH HUNDSDORFER Capitol News Illinois bhundsdorfer@capitolnewsillinois.com In the basement of a Centralia funeral home in a dark hallway off the embalming room, tucked inside a nook behind two steel plates and a door, a visitor found three disembodied, neatly wrapped human legs, two of them marked with names and dated to the 1960s.  The…

Illinois Supreme Court considers expectation of privacy in hospitals

Illinois Supreme Court considers expectation of privacy in hospitals

By DILPREET RAJU  & ANDREW ADAMS Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – While Cortez Turner was in a hospital room being treated for a gunshot wound to his leg in 2016, police took his clothes. Now, the Illinois Supreme Court is weighing whether that action violated Turner’s expectation of privacy under the Fourth Amendment. The…

Capitol Briefs: House OKs program for student teacher stipends – but not the funding for it

Capitol Briefs: House OKs program for student teacher stipends – but not the funding for it

By PETER HANCOCK & ANDREW CAMPBELL Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois House approved a bill Tuesday to allow student teachers to receive stipends while earning their education degree, even though the money needed to fund those stipends is unlikely to be included in next year’s budget. House Bill 4652, by Rep. Barbara…