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Milestone reached in construction of stairway to heaven

St. Raphael Archangel Church Old Mill Creek celebrating completifirst phase with food music tours. | Mark Ukena~For Sun-Times Media

St. Raphael the Archangel Church in Old Mill Creek celebrating the completion of first phase with food, music and tours. | Mark Ukena~For Sun-Times Media

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Construction Phases

Phase IA (complete)

Land acquisition

Deconstruction of St. John of God, a church built in 1920 in Chicago

Reconstruction and completion of building shell

Phase IB (complete)

Front portico

Phase II

Complete interior finishes, marble, pews, stained glass from St. Peter Canisius

Exterior paving, landscaping

Estimated cost about $1.4 million

Phase III

Steeples and bells

Estimated cost about $1.2 million

Phase IV


Estimated cost about $500,000


Refurbished and installed

Estimated cost about $1.5 million

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Updated: March 1, 2013 6:39AM

Construction Phase I for the new church recycling pieces from other churches is finished.

The community was invited to view the progress at a celebration held at the new church grounds for St. Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church, located at 4000 N Rte. 45 (south of Grass Lake Road) in Old Mill Creek.

“People have made great sacrifices and worked so hard supporting this. Today is a day to see the results and contributions and also hopefully to motivate others to support this great monumental work,” said the Rev. John A. Jamnicky, church pastor.

Visitors like Don and Joan Martin of Waukegan were able to tour the church, listen to live music, view exhibits of the planned architectural features and enjoy refreshments.

“I think it’s gorgeous,” Joan said.

She and her husband belong to a church in Waukegan, but wanted to visit the new church. Joan said she was looking forward to hearing the bells. Once they are installed when Phase III is completed, the bells will be programmed to toll different sounds for different occasions.

The Martins also said they are looking forward to when the organ is installed. A 1915 Austin Pipe Organ No. 558 from Chicago’s Medinah Temple will eventually be installed.

“These big churches have a nice echo reverberation,” Don said. “I like it. It’s very cathedral-ish.”

Parishioners Aive Yturrralde and her daughter Bailey, 12, of Antioch, have been involved in supporting the construction project from the beginning. St. Raphael Church is about 5 years old and has been meeting at a converted barn in Antioch.

The new church building is reusing pieces from other churches that have closed.

“It’s exciting and it’s beautiful. We’ve been watching from the get-go,” Yturrralde said. “It’s amazing — we don’t have churches like this in Lake County. It will be lovely to be here.”

Phase I cost about $8.6 million, according to Jamnicky. The entire project will take about $15 million.

“People keep asking when will the construction be finished. Construction is related directly to income,” said business manager and construction manger Richard Gambla. “We will build as we raise money.”

The congregation raised about $2.5 million and got a loan from Archdiocese of Chicago. The 5-year-old congregation has 600 families now, Jamnicky said. The new church building will hold 900 people on the first floor plus 200 on the second floor.

Jamnicky said he hoped to start holding services at the new building by summer, or early fall at the latest.

“This is a great monumental work. This church will be here 100-200 years from now. This ... will serve generations and generations. Someday, this may be one of the largest archdiocese in the parish,” Jamnicky said.

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