Friday, August 13, 2010
This coming Sunday, St. Jerome’s Croatian Catholic Church in Bridgeport is going to hold its 104th Annual Croatian Fest.
It is certain to be a wild affair. Because you see, St. Jerome’s is likely the only Church on the North American continent to have a full blown hard liquor bar in its church basement. It’s a real bar complete with a long mahogony rail, barstools and ample supplies Jack Daniels, Gordon’s gin, Popov vodka and assorted more esoteric native Croatian high-octane libations.
I have been in scores, if not hundreds of church basements for one reason or another over the years and this is the only one that I have ever seen that has a bar.
When I asked why they had a bar in their basement, I was told it was because, “The fellows like to unwind after Mass.”
I can see it now. The priest solemnly utters the final words of the ritual: “Go. The Mass is ended.” To which the assembled faithful proffer the response:”Thanks be to God!” And then the worshipers excitedly and hurridly pile down the stairs to the church hall like the Monsters of the Midway barreling down the tunnel onto Soldiers Field for the opening kickoff.
This party-loving parish is throwing its annual ethnic pride bash this Sunday. Its print ads tout that it will have an authentic European-styled procession (see above photo), bingo, a $30,000 raffle, beer and wine (naturally) and 85 whole lambs barbecued. This is not a fete for the sensitive minded vegan teetotalers at PETA.
The event kicks off at 10:30 am this coming Sunday, August 15th. It will be at 2800 S. Princeton in Bridgeport – just blocks from Mayor Daley’s ancestral bungalow.
Lakefront Air & Water Show, be damned, I’m going off to party with the Croatians.