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Chicago church objects to new Gay Pride Parade route

3-28-08 Exterior Our Lady Mt Carmel 690 w Belmont. Brian Jackson/Sun-Times

3-28-08 Exterior of Our Lady of Mt Carmel 690 w Belmont. Brian Jackson/Sun-Times

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Updated: January 3, 2012 9:19AM



To the best of its pastor’s knowledge, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church on the North Side hasn’t canceled mass in 125 years. But it might be forced to in June if the Gay Pride Parade goes ahead as planned, the church leader said Thursday.

An earlier start time and a re-configured route intended to better deal with large crowds swarming into the Lake View neighborhood means the 2012 parade, for the first time in decades, will wind past the front of the church during morning mass services.

Church leaders, on the church’s Facebook page, are encouraging parishioners to contact Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), to get the parade route changed.

Mount Carmel’s pastor, the Rev. Thomas Srenn, insists the issue isn’t about the parade or its multitude of colorful characters.

“Our concern is more with the timing and that it would pass by on a Sunday morning when we’re having Sunday masses,” Srenn said Thursday. “It’s an accessibility issue.”

For decades, the route has snaked through parts of the North Side, drawing crowds that organizers say grew to more than 700,000 people last summer.

But after long-standing concerns about traffic, safety and public transportation access, the parade’s organizers came up with a new route that will go by Our Lady of Mount Carmel, one of the city’s oldest Roman Catholic churches.

Richard Pfeiffer, the parade’s coordinator, said Thursday he’s a bit surprised at the church’s reaction because, he says, the new route creates more — not less — access to the church property.

But Pfeiffer said his organization is willing to work with church and community leaders to reach a compromise.

Contributing: AP



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