New bishops, Missal changes highlights of 2011

By Catholic New World
Sunday, January 1, 2012


  • Cardinal George blessed the new Kateri Center at St. Benedict Parish on Jan. 7. The Kateri Center, formerly known as the Anawim Center, serves Native Americans in the archdiocese and is the only center of its kind in Illinois.
  • Hundreds of Chicago-area high school and college students participated in the annual March for Life Jan. 24 in Washington, D.C.


  • The archdiocese announced its Strategic Pastoral Plan, which was developed to engage baptized Catholics more deeply in the life of the church. The plan calls for four themed years: the Year of Teens and Young Adults, the Year of Sunday Mass, the Year of Parent Formation and the Year of Sacraments.
  • Cardinal George blessed the site of the new home of St. Joseph College Seminary on the campus of Loyola University during a Feb. 21 prayer service and groundbreaking ceremony.


  • Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (DChicago) signed a bill abolishing the death penalty in the state on March 9. The Catholic Church teaches that situations in which the death penalty would be morally acceptable are “practically nonexistent” in a time when governments can protect their people by incarcerating criminals.
  • Marist High School senior Joe Ward organized a March 24 Mass at Holy Name Cathedral for more than 1,000 high school students, educators, priests and deacons. The all-high school Mass was celebrated by Cardinal George and was intended to inspire teens to serve others.


  • Cardinal George and other Illinois bishops made a pilgrimage to sites important in the early life of Father Augustus Tolton, the first African-American priest in the United States. Bishop Joseph Perry is promoting his cause for sainthood. Tolton’s sainthood cause formally opened during a prayer service at St. James Chapel in the Archbishop Quigley Center in February. Tolton was born into slavery in Missouri, escaped to Illinois with his mother and siblings during the Civil War and was ordained in Rome after no U.S. seminary would take him. He was ministering in Chicago at the time of his death in 1897.


  • About 300 pilgrims from Chicago, including Cardinal George, were among the faithful in Rome for the May 2 beatification of Pope John Paul II.
  • Cardinal George ordained 10 new priests for the Archdiocese of Chicago on May 21 at Holy Name Cathedral. The cardinal ordained 12 new deacons at the cathedral on May 15.
  • Doubleday released Cardinal George’s new book, “God in Action: How Faith in God Can Address the Challenges of the World.”
  • Our Lady of the New Millennium, the 33-foot statue of Mary commissioned by Carl Demma was dedicated in her new permanent home at the Shrine of Christ’s Passion in St. John, Ind.


  • The Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office of Assistance Ministry dedicated the Healing Garden for victims and survivors of clergy sexual abuse on June 9 at Holy Family Parish, 1080 W. Roosevelt Road. The garden is intended to provide a place of healing and growth.
  • Catholic Charities agencies from three Illinois dioceses filed suit when the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services refused to renew foster care and adoption services contracts after the agencies stated they would not place children with either samesex couples or unmarried heterosexual couples living together. DCFS made the change after the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act went into effect June 1. The agencies eventually dropped the suit in November. The Archdiocese of Chicago was not part of the suit; it stopped providing foster care services in 2004 when it could not obtain insurance for the program.
  • Trinity Health took control of Loyola University Health System on June 30. Loyola’s hospitals and clinics remain affiliated with the university’s medical and nursing schools and other academic and research programs.


  • The archdiocese launched the Year of Teens and Young Adults, the first of four themed years called for in the Strategic Pastoral Plan. The year is a time to focus on the gifts and needs of young people ages 13 to 24. Research shows that Catholics who are engaged in their faith in their early 20s are likely to remain active in the church.
  • The archdiocese’s newest parish, St. Mary Queen of Apostles, was formed by combining the former St. Mary of the Assumption and Queen of Apostles parishes. The new parish officially opened July 1.


  • Two new auxiliary bishops are ordained on Aug. 10 for the Archdiocese of Chicago. Bishop Andrew Wypych, a Polish native, came to Chicago in 1983 and was incardinated in the archdiocese in 1989. Bishop Alberto Rojas, born in Mexico, came to Chicago as a seminarian in 1994 and was ordained a priest for the archdiocese of Chicago in 1997. Bishop Wypych is the episcopal vicar for Vicariate V, which includes much of the Southwest Side and southwest suburbs, and is the cardinal’s liaison to Polonia, while Bishop Rojas is the episcopal vicar for Vicariate II, which takes in the West and Near Northwest and Near Southwest Sides and is the cardinal’s liaison to the Hispanic community.
  • More than 1,200 young people gathered during the night of Aug. 20-21 at Maryville Academy in Des Plaines to celebrate World Youth Day Chicago Style II. The event was timed to coincide with the closing day of World Youth Day in Madrid. More than 500 youth and young adults traveled to Spain for the weeklong international celebration.
  • Catholics prayed for a peaceful school year at a series of sunrise services Aug. 27 on South Side beaches, just weeks after a student from Holy Angels School, Darius Brown, was shot to death while playing basketball at a park near his home.


  • Chicago-area Catholics joined Americans from all over the country in remembering the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.


  • Maria High School announced that it will close its doors at the end of the 2012-2013 school year after more than a century of educating girls on the Southwest Side.
  • DePaul University and Catholic Theological Union on Oct. 5 announced an “educational alliance.” Students from each institution will be able to take classes at the other, and the partners are looking for more areas of cooperation.
  • Father Robert Barron’s documentary series “Catholicism” began airing Oct. 13 on WTTWCh. 11. PBS showed four of the one-hour segments of the 10-part documentary, a “labor of love” that was filmed in 50 locations in 15 countries. More than 90 PBS stations across the country aired the four episodes.
  • The Office for Racial Justice issues a 10th anniversary edition of “Dwell in My Love,” Cardinal George’s 2001 pastoral letter at an Oct. 14 prayer service.


  • The Chicago City Council unanimously approved a budget that included a provision that nonprofit organizations, including Catholic parishes, schools and other institutions would have to start paying sewer and water fees that had traditionally been waived in the past. The fees will be phased in and smaller non-profits such as parishes will continue to receive a discount.
  • Catholics were introduced to the revised Roman Missal, with changes to Mass responses including saying “And with your Spirit” instead of “And also with you,” when the priest says “Peace be with you.” Liturgists say the new translation, which adheres more literally to the Latin words of the missal, also highlights the Scriptural basis for many of the prayers of the Mass.


  • About 250 people turned out Dec. 16 for the fourth-annual Immigration Posada, celebrated for the first time in downtown Chicago. The event uses the traditional Mexican pre-Christmas reenactment of Joseph and Mary’s search for shelter to highlight the needs of immigrants and the injustice they face. Two days later, hundreds more turned out for the annual archdiocesan posada, which takes place at Holy Name Cathedral and on the blocks surrounding it.

Parishes that turned 100 this year

St. Anthony, Cicero

St. Bernardine, Forest Park

St. Bonaventure Oratory

St. Gall

St. Joseph, Round Lake

Our Lady of Mercy

Our Lady of Pompeii

Mary Queen of Heaven, Cicero

St. Paul of the Cross, Park Ridge

Transfiguration of Our Lord