Sunday will mark the 15th annual celebration of Easter on Chicago’s Daley Plaza – government property – including a sunrise service on Easter Sunday itself, to honor the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
This sacred observance of Easter begins at Daley Plaza on Holy Thursday, 7:30 p.m. CDT, when a giant 19-foot-high cross is erected at 50 West Washington Street.
#Easter is a day to celebrate the risen #Christ. Good Friday is the beginning of the #DivineMercy novena. Every year in #Chicago private citizens erect a giant Divine Mercy image of #Jesus outside city hall with the help of the @ThomasMoreSoc legal team. https://t.co/9IGPLdp1VR pic.twitter.com/I4LknNFNUG
— @ThomasMoreSoc (@ThomasMoreSoc) April 14, 2022
Thomas More Society, a Chicago-based national public interest law firm, is joining with Tapestry Fellowship and City First Foundation, along with private citizens Karl and Nancy Fritz, to co-sponsor the Easter display, titled “Jesus in Daley Plaza.”
The large cross was designed and built by Karl and Nancy Fritz and their family.
“The Easter celebration represents a constitutionally protected expression of religious faith by private citizens in a public forum,” Tom Brejcha, Thomas More Society president and chief counsel, said in a statement.
Explaining the rationale behind the annual display, Brejcha said:
It is an appropriate response to the concerns raised 38 years ago by the late Richard John Neuhaus in his book, The Naked Public Square. Neuhaus lamented that America’s public places had been stripped and denuded of any references to religion or religious practices, as if it were somehow “undemocratic” or “incivil” to celebrate Christian holidays out in the open where others could bear witness. This is truer than ever in today’s “woke” environment. People still have worries, fears, and troubles, and Christians believe that Jesus offers the hope to help all of us to address and answer those concerns.
The sunrise worship service at “Jesus in Daley Plaza” to celebrate Christ’s resurrection will take place Sunday, April 17, Easter morning, at 6:08 a.m. CDT.
The cross will remain on the Plaza until Wednesday, April 20, 2022.
All are welcome to come to the Plaza to observe the cross throughout its weeklong presence, the Thomas More Society states.
“This Easter display is privately funded and sponsored, bereft of any government aid or endorsement, and therefore it is clothed and armored with the full protection of the First Amendment of our U.S. Constitution,” Brejcha asserted. “Indeed, back in the late ’80s, former Chief Judge of our federal district court here in Chicago entered a permanent injunction against any discrimination against religion on Daley Plaza.”
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Susan Berry, PhD, is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].