Photography with a neighborhood dimension…

Sunday, September 8th we celebrated Mary under her title of Our Lady who appeared in Siluva (Lithuania) at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary parish in Chicago’s Marquette Park community (from the Knights of Lithuania)…


Archived photo…

First Widely Known Apparition of the Mother of God in Europe

Lithuania becomes the youngest daughter of the Church

In 1251, Lithuania was the last European nation to accept Christianity, becoming the youngest daughter of the Church.

There was a time when Lithuania came very close to leaving the Catholic faith. Something happened in 1608 in the little village of Siluva which turned back, once and for all, the tide of the Reformation heresy which was sweeping over Europe and threatening to engulf this little country.

Two hundred fifty years before Lourdes and Fatima the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared in the village of Siluva, Lithuania. 

The story begins in 1457

The story of Our Lady of Siluva actually began in 1457, when Peter Giedgaudas, a diplomat for Vytautas the Great, built the first church in the area and gave the land to the Catholic Church. On one of his many travels he went to Rome and there obtained a magnificent painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary holding the child Jesus. He brought the painting back to Lithuania and put it in the sanctuary of the new church in Siluva.

For several generations the faithful worshiped God and honored the Blessed Mother in their little shrine church. 

Calvinists controversy

When the Protestant Reformation swept over Europe, not even this little village escaped its impact. In 1532, the local governor became a zealous Calvinist as did many nobility and intellectuals . . . they in turn forced their will upon the people. The Catholics of Siluva were helpless to resist the repression of their Faith by the powerful gentry. Property owned by the Church was to be confiscated and the land turned over to the Calvinists.

Parish priest hides the treasured painting

When Fr. John Holubka, the parish priest of the Siluva Church, heard what was to happen, he built an ironclad box. He carefully wrapped the treasured painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Child, liturgical vestments, and documents which proved that Vytautas the Great had given the land to the Catholic Church and placed them in the box. Then he sealed the box and buried it deep in the ground near a large rock. His action was truly inspired because a short time later the authorities seized the church. It seemed as if the Catholic faith had come to an end in the once fervent village of Siluva.

God miraculously intervenes

Eighty years passed and the Catholic flock, with no shepherd to guide and nourish it, gradually died out. Only a few of the very oldest villagers dimly remembered that there had been a Catholic Church in their village. Children were reared in the Calvinist creed. Suddenly, through an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, God miraculously intervened. This apparition has been proven an actual event, authenticated by a Papal Decree issued by Pope Pius VI on August 17, 1775. The most remarkable feature is the fact that the miracle took place in a completely un-Catholic atmosphere.

Children see a beautiful woman on a rock

One summer day, in 1608, a number of children were tending their sheep in a field on the outskirts of the village of Siluva. They were playing near a large rock, close to a wooded section of the field, shouting merrily to one another in carefree fun. Suddenly one after another stood transfixed, staring in the direction of the rock. In the silence, there could be heard the sound of loud sobbing. Then the children beheld a beautiful young woman standing on the rock holding a baby in her arms and weeping bitterly. Her overwhelming grief was only too evident. She did not speak, but looked at them sadly as she stood there, weeping as though her heart was breaking. So profuse were her tears that they ran down her cheeks and some of them splashed on the rock. The woman was dressed in flowing blue and white robes, unlike any costume with which the children were familiar. Her long, light-brown hair fell softly over her shoulders. A strange light surrounded both the woman and child.

Boy runs to Calvinist pastor

So startled were the children, they could not speak, but merely stood and stared. Amazement soon turned to fright when the woman with her baby disappeared as mysteriously as she had appeared. Then all began to talk excitedly about what they had seen. One of the boys ran to the village to tell the Calvinist pastor. He was told to stop making up such a fantastic tale and to go back to the fields.

Children tell their parents

When the children returned home in the evening, they told their parents and neighbors about the weeping woman. The news spread quickly through the little village, and the next morning most of the townspeople had gathered around the rock. Some were scoffing loudly, but others were impressed by the children’s tearful insistence that they were telling the truth. This was proven because, whether the children were questioned separately or together, each told the same identical story, even to the smallest detail. 

The Blessed Virgin reappears

The Calvinist pastor, aware of the crowd that had gathered, became alarmed at the gullibility of his people in believing this “Roman superstition,” as he labeled the story. He warned them that this was the work of Satan, who wanted to lead them away. As the Calvinist pastor paused to catch his breath, a heart-rending sound of sobbing was heard. All eyes turned to the rock, and there, standing in their midst, was the weeping lady with the baby in her arms, just as the children had described her.

The people stood in amazement. The pastor, too, could do nothing but stare. The woman’s face was clouded in deep sorrow and her cheeks were bathed in bitter tears. Finally the pastor regained his composure and asked, “Why are you weeping?” In a voice filled with sorrowful emotion, she replied, “There was a time when my beloved Son was worshipped by my people on this very spot. But now they have given this sacred soil over to the plowman and the tiller and to the animals for grazing.” Without another word, she vanished.

People return to the Church

The belief that the Mother of God had appeared in person to chide them for their neglect of the Catholic Faith quickly grew among the people. Most of them heeded her message and began to return to the One True Church founded by her Divine Son, Jesus Christ. So complete was this return that a decade later, on the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, more than 11,000 people received Holy Communion during a mass offered at the scene of the apparitions.

A miracle occurs

Such was the miracle that the Mother of God wrought in the village of Siluva where there had been no church, no priest, no Mass, for almost eighty years. The Bishop appointed Fr. John Kazakevicius to investigate the phenomenon and question all witnesses to the events.

Blind man regains his sight

In many apparitions of the Blessed Mother there is usually a picture or statue associated with the event. Our Lady of Siluva is not an exception. A blind man, more than 100 years old, lived in a nearby village. The stories of the apparitions reached him and he recalled a night, some eighty years before, when he helped Father Holubka bury an ironclad chest filled with church treasures beside a large rock. The villagers led him to the field of the apparitions to see if he could help locate the place where the treasures were buried. No sooner had he reached the spot, then his sight was miraculously restored. Falling to his knees with joy and gratitude, he pointed to the exact spot where the chest had been buried.

Villagers find the buried treasure

The ironclad chest was dug out of the ground and when it was opened, there – perfectly preserved – was the large painting of the Madonna and Child, several gold chalices, vestments, church deeds, and other documents. The painting was enshrined permanently in the Basilica of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary and is venerated to this day as the Miraculous Image of Siluva.

Miracles continue

Over the years, many miracles have been recorded and the shrine has experienced numerous changes and larger churches had to be built to accommodate the pilgrims. Devotion to Our Lady of Siluva was growing until World War II brought about the destruction of freedom in Lithuania.

Since then, this world has seen many changes. We find ourselves surrounded by moral decay and many have lost their way. Today, Our Lady of Siluva is our most powerful intercessor before Almighty God. 

She once brought Lithuania back to the Church, so let us pray that . . .

“ moved by your tears, may we as our forefathers did, revive the spirit of adoration of your Son in our hearts, strengthen the tottering structure of the shrine that is the family, bring back your wandering children and forgive the sins of our nation.

“ Our Lady of Siluva, intercede for your wandering children . . . bring them home to Jesus.”

The Churches of Siluva

Support Nick…


This is wild!

Did you hear about the Catholic kids from Covington, KY?

Last Friday, they proudly attended the March for Life. Later in the day, as they prepared to depart Washington D.C., they were cursed and shouted at by protesters. Finally, they were confronted by a known Native American provocateur who beat his drum in their faces, while another Native American told the students to “go back to Europe where you came from.”

Then get this…

…a highly-edited video was circulated making it appear as if the kids instigated the confrontation! And so an online mob piled on, accusing these pro-life teens of being Trump-loving racist bigots.

SHAME: CNN and the NY Times, along with an avalanche of left-wing activists, pounced. Author Reza Aslan told his 287,000 followers: “Have you ever seen a more punchable face than this kid’s?” Death threats ensued. The kids’ families have now been threatened. Famous musicians were encouraging their followers to track down the students and punch them. One of the people who issued a threat to the children lives in their neighborhood. Left-wing activists are now publishing the home addresses and phone numbers of the kids’ families and urging people to destroy their lives, rescind their college acceptance letters… and ruin their future careers.

But there’s more…

Some of the loudest voices condemning these kids were Catholics! Including a famous Jesuit priest who regularly condemns others for their lack of compassion and mercy.

Regrettably, even the Covington Catholic school and their local bishop issued statements critical of the kids — though we hope and expect some of these statements may soon be revised or retracted.


Here’s the REAL story: It all started when four Black Hebrew Israelites, a radical religious group centered on black identity, approached the Covington Catholic students and began heckling them with anti-gay slurs — for almost an hour. In response, the students tried to be positive, and began singing school spirit songs. That’s when activist Nathan Phillips approached the Covington Catholic students.

That’s right– it was Phillips who approached the students, not the other way around. The full 9-minute video of the confrontation confirms this fact. The longer video also debunks the phony lie that the kids were chanting anything about building a wall.

At the center of this controversy is a young Catholic kid named Nick Sandmann.

Nick was singled out by Nathan Phillips, who beat his drum inches from Nick’s face for several minutes. In a courageous statement released to the media, Nick said:

“I was not intentionally making faces at the protestor. I did smile at one point because I wanted him to know that I was not going to become angry … I am a faithful Christian and practicing Catholic, and I always try to live up to the ideals my faith teaches me — to remain respectful of others, and to take no action that would lead to conflict or violence.

“I am being called every name in the book, including a racist…

“I have received physical and death threats via social media, as well as hateful insults…”


From all indications, Nick Sandmann acted about as well as anyone could have, given the harassment and verbal assault he endured. He and his friends were heckled and provoked. They refused to back down and stood their ground.

In fact, I’m proud to stand with Nick Sandmann.

This morning in our weekly staff meeting, we discussed ways CV could help. We have decided that this is a moment when Catholics have to step up. Left wing mobs are on the attack. They want to censor, silence, and shame us until we give up.

We refuse to surrender.

For the next 24 hours, all contributions made to the Catholic Vote Education Fund will be bundled and sent as a grant to Nick Sandmann and his family!

We’ve decided it’s not enough to simply complain…

Or push back with the truth (which we have).

Catholics need to send a clear message: courage in the face of left-wing mobs should be rewarded!

I want the Sandmann family to know CV has their back.

No teenager or family should be forced to deal with this on their own.

You can also add your note of support to the Sandmann family. We’ll send your comments along with our grant this week.


Marquette Park Residents Concerned As End Of Decades-Old Security Program Approaches

A special security surveillance system has helped keep Marquette Park safe for decades, and now residents want to know why it’s being shuttered after their local aldermen failed to renew the ordinance that regulates the program.

NOTICE SMILING 17th Ward Alderman David Moore…both he and 18th Ward Alderman Derrick Curtis did not support renewing this ordinance after 26 years of service. It seems allowing the residents of Chicago’s Marquette Park community to experience more gang and drug crime is a joke…Shame Aldermen!

Source: Marquette Park Residents Concerned As End Of Decades-Old Security Program Approaches

Thank You Aldermen…

Neighborhood security takes a “hit” after 26 years of continuous service…crime rampant in Chicago but not to our aldermen. As of December 31st  all neighborhood security patrols will be DISCONTINUED. All 13 outside MONITORED cameras will be removed by the city of Chicago. Both aldermen saw fit to NOT RENEW our Special Service Area 14. The average cost for this year round service was $100 a year. With an increase in crime in the city; we were able to keep our neighborhood safe and insulated with this extra line of security. At peak times the Chicago Dispatch Center (911) will report no cars are available…yet we were able to get a security office/off duty police officer to our homes in minutes…this will be no more… Yes, out of sight, out of mind is how the saying goes when you are only concerned with the area you live in…one of the 13 cameras covers Nativity BVM parish…Midland Savings and Saint Adrian. This camera some years ago thwarted a bank robbery at Midland Savings (police constantly review camera data). This will be no more after 26 years…wish us luck…

Dan Lipinski…a Congressman of and for the people…

POLITICS 03/16/2018 04:35 pm ET

Anti-Abortion Group Endorses Democrat Dan Lipinski In Illinois Primary

The congressman’s primary challenger, Marie Newman, supports a woman’s right to choose.

By Laura Bassett

Reproductive rights have emerged as a flashpoint in the Democratic primary race for Rep. Dan Lipinski’s (Ill.) seat in Congress, as the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List pours money into helping the right-leaning incumbent defeat his progressive challenger, Marie Newman.

SBA List, a political action committee that normally works to elect anti-abortion Republicans, made the unusual move of endorsing Lipinski this week and spending six figures on ads for his campaign ahead of Tuesday’s primary. SBA’s president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, called Lipinski “a hero to the pro-life movement” because he opposes a woman’s right to choose abortion and even some forms of birth control. She said the group is trying to save one of its last remaining allies in the Democratic Party.


Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) has the support of an anti-abortion group in his Democratic primary.



“They are draining the party dry of any pro-life sentiment,” Dannenfelser told McClatchy. “There’s no tolerance for even pro-choice candidates who think late-term abortion is a bridge too far. No toleration for pro-choicers who think being pro-choice is consistent with being against late-term abortion.”

Lipinski is facing a fierce primary challenge from Newman, a progressive businesswoman who is backed by the powerful abortion rights groups EMILY’s List and NARAL as well as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

Newman challenged Lipinski on reproductive rights in a side-by-side interview set to air Friday evening on Fox 32 in Chicago. Lipinski defended his vote against the Affordable Care Act in 2010, explaining that he opposed the provision requiring religious groups to cover birth control in their health care plans.

“I don’t think the Little Sisters of the Poor should be forced to provide abortion-inducing drugs, things that go against their beliefs,” Lipinski said.

“It’s called birth control, Mr. Lipinski,” Newman responded.

Lipinski also opposes LGBTQ rights, the $15-per-hour minimum wage and the Dream Act, and he refused to endorse Obama for president in 2012. The Blue Dog Democrat considers himself a moderate and has characterized Newman as belonging to the “tea party of the left” ― too liberal for his southwest Chicago district. 

Newman shot back in the Fox 32 interview. “No one knows about this, what is it, tea party of the left? No one’s ever heard of this thing, except for him,” she said. “So the party is actually getting back to its roots for working families and the expanding middle class and bringing health care for all.”

Dan Lipinski Endorsed!



Dan Lipinski

Democrats in the 3rd Congressional District, how you vote in this primary election will say a lot about what it means to be a Democrat in these ideologically polarized times.

Our endorsement goes to incumbent Rep. Dan Lipinski, who has a strong record of going to bat for working people, which is what Democrats are supposed to do. We urge a vote for Lipinski though we know he may be increasingly out of step with his party — or at least with his party’s leadership — on core social issues such as abortion and gay rights.

Democrats once took pride in being a big-tent party, tolerant of a diversity of views if only to win elections. We’ll have to see how well that big tent holds up today. Lipinski’s opponent, La Grange businesswoman Marie Newman, stands well to his left and believes the 3rd District does, too.

Lipinski, who took his father’s seat in Congress 14 years ago, is best known for working to bring federal funding to Illinois for infrastructure projects, such as new roads and bridges. This has earned him the strong support of organized labor groups, which covet the union jobs those project create. Lipinski also has been a champion of “buy American” rules when spending federal money, for beefing up workplace safety inspections, and for the rights of workers to organize.

Lipinski favors a higher hourly minimum wage, but not one as high as the “at least $15” called for by Newman, and he co-sponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would ensure that employers who pay a man more than a woman for the same job must show the disparity is not gender-based, but job-related.

Lipinski is old-school in his view of what Illinois’ economy should look like, continuing to see a big role for traditional manufacturing. For that reason, he has opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, convinced it would lead to an export of American jobs. And he wrote the American Manufacturing Competitive Act — an excellent idea — which requires the federal government to produce a national strategic plan, updated every four years, to boost American manufacturing. The first plan is due this spring.

Newman is supported by prominent liberal Democrats, most notably Rep. Jan Schakowsky and Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who say Lipinski is just a closet Republican. Newman points out that Lipinski, an abortion rights foe, has voted several times to defund Planned Parenthood, and he was one of just three Democrats to vote against Obamacare in 2010.

Newman advocates “Medicare for all,” the universal health care plan promoted by Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont, and she wants to increase the availability of affordable childcare.

On all these social issues, this editorial board stands on Newman’s side of the fence, but we respect Lipinski’s commitment to the concerns of ordinary working Americans at a time when unions and workers’ rights are under attack. That’s enough for us, for now.


A New Era for Cook County Hospital and Health Services

Such great news to hear from the top administration at CCHHS on the rebirth of the historic facade and building of the original Cook County Hospital on the 1900 block of Harrison. So much history and some tied to our family…remembering my grandmother bringing my mother and aunts there in the early 1900’s…my birth at the neighboring Rush Presbyterian Saint Luke’s Hospital; and myself working at this prestigious hospital. Also, I could remember as if was yesterday how it assisted so many Lithuanian immigrant families that had no where else to go for medical care. Little did they realize that the physician attending them just walked over from Rush or was a Northwestern or UIC attending or resident. They received, as everyone, the best health care available with the nationally renowned Trauma Service and the historic Burn Service. Little is known that the first blood analyzation was begun at County.

Going into a new era is soon the completion of the Cook County Central Campus Health Center in the 1900 block of West Polk. It will contain physician and departmental offices as well as clinic services complementing the most ambitious of projects the development of the original Cook County Hospital …

…as Curbed Chicago reports…

The 102-year-old Cook County Hospital building is in serious need of restoration, and after more than a decade of vacancy, a plan for redevelopment might actually get moving by summer.

The building’s 99-year lease was transferred to the developer, Civic Health Development Group, which indicates that the first phase of development is right around the corner, the Chicago Sun-Times first reported.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the first phase of the plan calls for reuse of the abandoned hospital building which has sat vacant since 2002. The hulking historic structure could house as many as 250 hotel rooms and 150 market-rate and affordable apartment units.

The next phase includes the construction of a new research and technology center built along Wood Street at the eastern edge of the site. Attention would then turn to expanding the capacity of the Hospital’s existing parking garage and lining the enlarged structure with new retail, residential, and office spaces. The final phase of the project outlines a pair of mixed-use highrise towers to be constructed just north of the old hospital at opposing ends of Pasteur Park. Open space will remain between the the new towers as to not too badly obstruct the historic building’s detailed facade following its full restoration.

Cook County plans to lease the land and buildings to the development team for $2 million a year. The total cost of the privately-funded project is estimated to be between $550 million and $700 million, though the developers hope to reduce the price tag with historic preservation tax credits. Phase one work on the old hospital building could start next year with the hotel and apartment component opening as early as 2018

In the long term we will see a new Cook County health complex that will complement Rush, University of Illinois Medical Center, West Side VA Medical Center in the historic Illinois Medical District. As we of Lithuanian extraction often say Valio … Valio … Congrats!

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