Eucharistic Encounter Encore: Expressway Churches

Did you ever wonder why there are so many beautiful Catholic churches right next to the expressways in our big cities in America?  

If you live in a big city, not too far from an Expressway, you know what I mean… There are all these beautiful Catholic churches right next to the Expressway. Why is that?  

Because the churches are older than the interstates! They were built in the 18 and 1900s. President Eisenhower signed the Interstate Act into law in 1956, which made the interstates we have today: 80 and 90, 94 and 40 and 10 going east and west, coast to coast, and 357 and 65 going north and south. When the interstates were built, the Catholics didn’t want their churches torn down – so the highways were re-routed, and the churches stayed right where they were.

You can see it when you’re heading north out of Pittsburgh over the Allegheny River. The Expressway takes a hard left and where it would have gone is the beautiful St. Boniface church. It’s the same in Chicago with St. Stanislaus, which is only a few feet from 294! The church we’re in, St. Mary of the Angels, is the largest Catholic church in Illinois and can be seen for miles when you come down the Kennedy Expressway.

In Milwaukee and Minneapolis you see the same thing – so I congratulate all the Catholics of the 1950s who spoke up and said, “Please save our churches!” And remember that if you’re in a car on the Expressway and you see a big, beautiful Catholic church right there, Thank God that that church is there. Jesus is truly present in the tabernacle, so go see Him if you can get off the highway – and if not, you can pray an act of spiritual communion. It goes like this: “I wish, my Lord to receive you with a purity, humility and devotion with which your most Holy Mother received you with the spirit and fervor of the Saints.”

I sure hope to see you, your friends, your families, your fellow parishioners at the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis this summer. Let’s all show up for Jesus!

Attend the Congress! Let’s all show up for Jesus!

If you are interested in attending the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis in July 2024, check out our best-rate tickets here!


Rev. Francis J. Hoffman, "Fr. Rocky" is the Executive Director/CEO of Relevant Radio and a priest of Opus Dei.