The doors to Chicago’s finest places and spaces don’t unlock themselves. This year, we’re introducing you to the passionate, enthusiastic people helping us put Open House Chicago 2017 together.
Larry Cope is a freelance graphic designer and longtime member of Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Church. He is the parish historian, member of the building and grounds committee and an alumnus of the church’s grammar school.
Architect Joseph William McCarthy—an apprentice of the great Chicago planner Daniel Burnham—designed Corpus Christi in the 1900s in the Italian Renaissance style. He was famous for his work on buildings for the Catholic Church, such as OHC 2017 site Our Lady of Peace and Saint Philip Neri in South Shore and St. Sabina in Auburn/Gresham.
What is your favorite part about this site? Why should people see it?
One of the things I love is the Munich-style stained glass windows by F. X. Zettler of the Royal Bavarian Institute for Stained Glass, with their extremely realistic details and bright colors. I also love the 14 Stations of the Cross paintings by Benedictine monk Fr. Gregory Gerrer and the column-free, deeply coffered, groin vault ceiling. The steel frame construction, similar to a skyscraper, allows for unobstructed views of the sanctuary.
What do you love about Open House Chicago? What was your favorite OHC experience?
The thing I love about OHC is the response of the visitors before and after the tour. They truly appreciate the architectural beauty and social history of Corpus Christi in the Bronzeville community. A few of our visitors have come back for our Sunday Mass and asked how they can help us restore our church.
What is the most unusual or most common question you get asked by visitors?
When our visitors see the mosaic of the Last Supper above the high altar, they respond with, “Is that a mosaic?” From a distance, it looks like a painted reproduction of Leonardo di Vinci’s, but the visitors are surprised to discover that it is a detailed mosaic.
What is your favorite Open House Chicago site other than your own?
My favorite Open House Chicago site is Holy Name Cathedral. Besides the detailed woodwork of the ceiling and its grandeur, the ceiling medallions touch me personally. That’s because I designed them! In June 2008, Cardinal Francis George asked me to design the center medallions first, then the smaller four soon afterward. I get a little teary-eyed every time I see it.