Vandals hit Saint Thecla Church, which closed last year; some windows broken, much of the damage in a stairwell
by BRIAN NADIG
Vandals recently sprayed graffiti and broke several windows at Saint Thecla Church, 6725 W. Devon Ave., which closed last year and is expected to eventually be sold to a Romanian congregation that has acquired the former Saint Thecla School building.
The graffiti included racial and homophobic slurs.
“We had the ward superintendent there yesterday, (and) Graffiti Blasters came out first thing today and knocked it out,” Alderman Anthony Napolitano (41st) said. He added that police will be asking nearby homeowners if they have surveillance footage that may have caught the vandals on camera.
Napolitano said that he suspects teens are responsible for the damage and that it may have occurred over a period of a time, instead of a single day.
“It’s sort of off the beaten path,” Napolitano said of a stairwell where most of the damage occurred. Several items, including a stroller, had been thrown down the stairwell and appeared to have been piling up for a while, he said.
Napolitano said that he believes his office received an isolated complaint or two about a group of teens in the area but that problems of teen loitering are not unusual as the weather warms up, especially at parks and parking lots.
The 16th (Jefferson Park) Police District reports that a “special attention” for the church has bee issued to patrols in the area.
The Philadelphia Romanian Church Chicago, currently at 1713 W. Sunnyside Ave., purchased the former Saint Thecla School and nearly all of the school/church parking lot earlier this year and plans to transition its operations over the next six to 12 months to the Devon-Newcastle campus.
The Philadelphia Romanian Church’s attempt to also purchase the Saint Thecla Church building was delayed due to pending appeals from those seeking to keep Saint Thecla open. The church building remains part of the Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity Parish, which includes the former Saint Thecla, Tarcissus and Saint Cornelius parishes.
Services were last held at Saint Thecla on Aug. 15, 2020. The archdiocese has not completed the process of relegating the church for non-sacred uses.
Proceeds from the sale of the school building went to the Saint Elizabeth parish.