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Blessed Virgin statue stirs up St. John neighbors

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Details on the May 22 consecration of “Our Lady of the New Millennium” will be posted on the St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church’s website at www.stjohnparish.org.

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



ST. JOHN — A 34-foot-tall stainless steel statue of the Blessed Virgin has caused a ripple of discontent among some residents of the neighborhood in which she’ll stand for more than a year.

St. John Town Manager Steve Kil said the statue, “Our Lady of the New Millennium,” slated to arrive from Chicago Sunday afternoon to its new home at St. John the Evangelist Church, has caused a few residents of the Weston Ridge subdivision to contact the town with their concerns.

“We received a couple of e-mails and a few calls, mostly from people adjacent to the church property,” Kil said. “Some councilmen received calls.”

Kil said some residents wanted to know where the statue was going to be placed and how long it would be in the church parking lot.

Church and town officials met last week to discuss the situation.

“It was important that both parties got together,” Kil said. “Everybody’s asking us questions so we wanted to make sure everybody had the same accurate information. It was a very productive meeting.”

The statue is slated to be erected on the flatbed trailer on which it’s being hauled. It will remain in the church parking lot, at the east end of the subdivision, for up to 18 months while plans are being worked out for its permanent location and anchoring in the adjacent Shrine of Christ’s Passion.

Kil said the church will be required to present plans to the town for its permanent location, but that does not have to be done right away.

The St. John Police Department is working with the church to prepare for the statue’s arrival Sunday, Kil said.

“There have been some problems, some people complained and it got resolved,” St. John Pastor the Rev. Sammie Maletta said. “You can understand that. It’s a big statue.

“Steve Kil has been fantastic.”

The traveling statue, commissioned by late Chicagoan Carl Demma, is being donated to St. John Evangelist Church by his widow.

After a sandblasting and polishing in Hammond a few weeks ago, the statue has been kept in Chicago near O’Hare International Airport, Maletta said. It will travel down Interstate 294 to Interstate 90 and south on U.S. 41. It’s scheduled to arrive at the church between 1 and 2 p.m. Sunday.

A consecration service and procession is scheduled for May 22, with Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago; The Most Rev. Dale Melczek, bishop of the Diocese of Gary; and Maletta officiating.



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