Giant Cross Erected March 28 for Holy Week Observance on Chicago’s Daley Plaza

March 27, 2024
By
Tom Ciesielka

(March 25, 2024 – Chicago) A 19-foot-high wooden cross takes up residence on Chicago’s Daley Plaza the evening of March 28, 2024, in preparation for the 17th annual Easter Sunday sunrise service, on March 31, 2024, at 7 a.m. (Central). This traditional observance of the Christian holiday honoring Christ’s Resurrection is a familiar sight at 50 West Washington Street, where private citizens have sponsored “Jesus in Daley Plaza” in the days leading up to Easter each year.

WHAT & WHEN:

· Thursday, March 28, 2024, 7 p.m. (Central)

The 17th annual “Jesus in Daley Plaza” begins with the raising of a giant 19-foot-high cross. It will remain on the plaza until Wednesday, April 3, 2024

· Sunday, March 31, 2024, 6:30 a.m. (Central)

An interdenominational sunrise worship service celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus on Easter morning through music, praise, and prayer.

WHERE: Chicago’s downtown Daley Plaza, 50 West Washington Street, between Clark and Dearborn.

MAP: https://tinyurl.com/46xe7vtx

WHO: All are welcome to come to Daley Plaza to observe the cross during set up, for the sunrise Easter service, and throughout its weeklong presence.

ONSITE CONTACT: Karl Fritz, 773.330.7624

Thomas More Society, a not-for-profit national public interest law firm headquartered in Chicago, has co-sponsored “Jesus on Daley Plaza,” along with Tapestry Fellowship, City First Foundation, and private citizens Karl and Nancy Fritz. The large Easter cross was designed and built by Karl and Nancy Fritz and their family.

Tom Brejcha, Thomas More Society President and Chief Counsel, explained the reason behind the annual display.

“The Easter celebration represents a constitutionally protected expression of religious faith by private citizens in a public forum,” shared Brejcha. “It is an appropriate response to the concerns raised over 39 years ago by the late Rev. Richard John Neuhaus in his book, The Naked Public Square. Neuhaus lamented that America's public spaces had been stripped of any references to religion or religious practices—as if it were somehow ‘undemocratic’ or ‘uncivil’ to celebrate Christian holidays out in the open where others could bear witness. This is truer than ever in today’s increasingly secular environment. But people still have worries, fears, and troubles. Christians believe that Jesus offers the hope that helps us all to address and answer those concerns.”

“This Easter display is privately funded and sponsored, bereft of any government aid or endorsement, and therefore it is clothed and armored with the full protection of the First Amendment of our United States Constitution,” Brejcha emphasized. “Indeed, in 1984, Chief U.S. District Judge James B. Parsons, entered a permanent injunction forbidding any discrimination against religion on Chicago’s Daley Plaza.”

Thomas More Society attorneys regularly assist groups and individuals across the country, defending their First Amendment right to express religious beliefs freely and openly in the public square and workplace. Photographs of previous “Jesus on Daley Plaza” displays are available upon request.

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