Future Priests of the Third Millennium

A little insight into the life of seminarians from various dioceses preparing for ministry as Roman Catholic priests, including daily activities, personal interests, special events, the spiritual life, news from the seminary, and almost whatever comes to our minds!

Friday, May 23, 2008

St. Clement - Pope & Martyr / St. Clement Catholic Church Chicago, Illinois

I am spending this summer in Chicago, Illinois. I will be working in a hospital enrolled in a Clinical Pastoral Education program (CPE).

I am a guest of the priests of Saint Clement Catholic Church located in the city. This is a beautiful Church and a terrific parish. I am honored and blessed to stay here. Please enjoy reading a little bit of interesting tradition and history about one of our earliest popes and saints.

Below is a little history of this parish in Chicago, a short biography on Saint Clement and some photos of the Chicago Church.

History: Beginning of the parish
In early 1905, Adam Kasper and his German Catholic neighbors near Orchard Street and Deming Place wrote to Archbishop of Chicago James E. Quigley asking for a parish. Quigley, whose main concern was establishing new parishes in the growing archdiocese, assigned Father Francis A. Rempe, then age 31, to the project in Spring of 1905.

The original plan was for the parish to be German-speaking, but Rempe soon saw a demand for English as well. The parish began as bilingual.

Saint Clement
First, the painting you see is a work painted by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. The oil on canvas painting is titled, “Pope Saint Clement Adoring the Trinity.” It was painted in 1737-38 and is located in
Munich, Germany.

There is not too much we know about Saint Clement. He was a follower and disciple of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Tradition and scriptural criticism holds the thought that the Clement whom St. Paul praises as a faithful fellow worker, whose name is written in the Book of Life [Philippians 4:3], was Clement, afterwards bishop of Rome. Yet, there is a lot of disagreement on this assertion.

His papal name is Clement I. Tertullian tells us that Saint Clement immediately followed the Apostle Peter as the head of the Church. However, Irenaeus and Eusebius tell us that he actually came third after Peter. Pope’s Linus and Anacletus (Cletus) came before him. (Anacletus).

History marks his most famous work in a letter he wrote to the Church in Corinth, where a Schism took place. He died a martyr around 100 A.D. His pontificate is generally placed between the years 88-100 A.D.

Clement was imprisoned along with a number of Christians by the prefect of the city of Rome. He was later ordered to work in the marble quarries along with his fellow inmates. While in captivity he comforted and encouraged the other Christian convicts. Tradition tells a story that the only drop of spring water for drinking was six miles away. This made it very hard on the Christian workers to have water on a regular schedule. One hot working day Saint Clement saw a stray lamb digging a spot on the ground with its feet. Clement saw this as a divine sign, gathered some men to dig in that very spot and, found a spring of fresh water below there.

Saint Clement was eventually ordered by the Roman prefect to be drowned in the sea. They tied an old anchor to his neck and he was cast overboard in the somewhat shallow water. His body was recovered and his relics later submitted to be preserved in Rome. They are still there in the Church of San Clemente. The common symbol associated with Saint Clement is a ship’s anchor.

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