2014 was an eventful year for Archdiocese of Chicago

By Catholic New World
Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014 was an eventful year for Archdiocese of Chicago

2014 was an eventful year for the Archdiocese of Chicago, not least because of the appointment and installation of Archbishop Blase Cupich. But that’s not the only thing that happened in the last year.
Ryan Diaz prays before a relic of St. John Paul II at Five Holy Martyrs Parish, 4301 S. Richmond St., on April 27. The parish held several activities to celebrate the canonizations of John Paul II and John XXIII. Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass on Oct. 5, 1979 at the parish. Several notable remnants of that Mass including the Papal chair, processional cross and the altar still remain on the church grounds. (Karen Callaway / Catholic New World)
A banner showing St. John Paul II is seen April 28 as Polish pilgrims wait in St. Peter's Square after a Mass of thanksgiving for the canonizations of new Sts. John XXIII and John Paul. (Karen Callaway / Catholic New World)
Imelda Sanchez and Yaraida Cala look over to Club Allure while a press conference was taking place behind them. Attorneys, residents and community activists joined the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo to protest the opening of Club Allure, a strip club in Stone Park on June 18. (Karen Callaway / Catholic New World)
Oblate Father William Woestmman, promoter of justice, and Father Michael Hack, a judge on the Metropolitan Tribunal, assist Cardinal George in signing the final documents in the dossier for the cause for canonization for Father Augustus Tolton. The signing took place during a prayer service at the Archbishop Quigley Center in Chicago on Sept. 29. The dossier was dispatched to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints at the Vatican.(Karen Callaway / Catholic New World)
From left, Deacon Dan Welter, a retired judge and canon lawyer, Judge Thomas More Donnelly, Auxiliary Bishop Francis Kane, vicar general, and Maureen Murphy, archdiocesan general counsel, look on as Archbishop Cupich signs documents naming him the Catholic Bishop of Chicago, corporation sole. The signing took place prior to his installation Mass on Nov. 18. (Karen Callaway / Catholic New World)

2014 was an eventful year for the Archdiocese of Chicago, not least because of the appointment and installation of Archbishop Blase Cupich. But that’s not the only thing that happened in the last year. The following is a month-by-month listing of some of the most noteworthy events.


  • Archdiocese releases documents related to 30 priests who were accused of sexual abuse of minors on Jan. 15. The document release was part of a mediation agreement with attorneys for sexual abuse victims.
  • HHS mandate continues to be a topic of discussion, with word that the Little Sisters of the Poor received an injunction protecting them from the mandate until there is a ruling on their case. The U.S. Supreme Court heard the case on Dec. 9.
  • Archdiocese in mid-January announces plans to close six Catholic schools because they did not have the resources to remain open. Three of them — Santa Maria del Popolo, Mundelein; St. Bernadette, Evergreen Park; and the Academy of St. Benedict the African Stewart Campus — remain closed. Three others were able to raise enough money and develop future plans solid enough to stay open. Those schools are: Our Lady of Victory, 4434 N. Laramie; St. Florian, 13110 S. Baltimore Ave.; and St. Christopher, Midlothian.
  • Mount Assisi Academy in Lemont announces on Jan. 29 that it will close at the end of the school year.


  • Students at St. Mary School in Buffalo Grove cheered on alum Megan Bozak, who was selected for the U.S. women’s hockey team for the Sochi Olympics. The team won the silver medal.
  • A cold snap in late January and early February led social service agencies such as Catholic Charities and others to seek help in making sure people could keep warm.
  • Civil war erupted in Ukraine after government snipers killed civilian protesters on Feb. 20. The conflict continued through the end of the year. Ukrainian Catholics in Chicago are praying for peace in their families’ homeland.


  • Cardinal George announces that his cancer is showing signs of new activity in the area of his right kidney.
  • Gordon Tech High School announced that it was changing its name to DePaul College Prep to reflect a closer working relationship with the Vincentian university.


  • Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Chicago hosts its final burial on April 23 of indigent people or those whose bodies were unclaimed from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office, under an agreement to provide free grave sites made when it came out in 2012 that there was a backlog of bodies in the morgue and they were being stored in unsanitary and undignified conditions. The group of 23 adult bodies and 92 unborn babies were buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery.
  • Pope Francis canonizes Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII on April 27. While some Chicago-area Catholics traveled to Rome, many more celebrated in their home parishes, especially in those that have large Polish contingents.


  • Cardinal George ordained 12 new priests for the archdiocese on May 17. Seventeen men were ordained permanent deacons at three ceremonies during the month of May.


  • U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops meets, discusses religious liberty, election document, upcoming synod.
  • Scalabrinian Sisters join lawsuit to try to force closure of “gentleman’s club” in Stone Park.
  • Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Chicago participate in Fortnight for Freedom events June 25-July 4. Events included public prayer services and processions, as well as Masses and presentations. The fortnight emphasizes the importance of religious liberty.
  • On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that some for-profit businesses whose owners have religious objections cannot be forced to pay for contraceptive drugs or procedures under the Health and Human Services regulations established under the Affordable Care Act. At least two Illinois companies are among those affected by the ruling.


  • Year of the Strong Catholic Family ends; Year of Sacraments begins.
  • Parishes continued to take to the streets to march for an end to violence in the city. Shootings in Chicago were a national story throughout the year, and never more so than in the aftermath of the Fourth of July. The Chicago Tribune reported that 82 people were shot and 14 killed over the three-day holiday weekend. As of Dec. 7, the Chicago police reported that there had been 1,914 shootings in the city in 2014, a 10 percent increase from the 1,742 shootings that were logged through the same date in 2013. Murders, however, were down 3 percent — from 386 to 373 — over the same time period.


  • Protests erupted in Chicago as well as around the country after the Aug. 9 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was black, by white police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. In November, a grand jury later declined to indict Wilson, who resigned from the police department. More protests followed around the country, increasing after a New York grand jury refused to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner. Garner, who was asthmatic and suffered from other health problems, died after Pantaleo put him in a chokehold. In a video of the event taken by a bystander, Garner, who was black, can be heard telling Pantaleo, who is white, “I can’t breathe.”
  • Leaders from several religious traditions gathered on Daley Plaza Aug. 18 to pray for peace in the United States and around the world, as civil war raged on in Syria; Islamic militants took over parts of Syria and Iraq, driving Christians from their homes or massacring them; and conflict continued in Ukraine and flared up again in Gaza and Israel. The service was organized by the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago and Jewish, Muslim, Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant participants, among others.
  • Several Latin-rite and Eastern-rite churches held special Masses or services to pray for Christians in Iraq the last weekend of August.
  • The Ice Bucket Challenge went viral, with celebrities and ordinary people challenging one another to raise money, usually for ALS research and assistance, by dumping buckets of icy water over their heads and posting the videos online. The phenomenon raised over $100 million but was not without controversy, as several dioceses and the archdiocese’s Office of Catholic Schools said that participating Catholics — or Catholic institutions — should make sure none of the money they donated would go to embryonic stem cell research.
  • Cardinal George announced Aug. 22 that he would take part in a clinical research trial of a new cancer drug.


  • St. Matthias formally announced that its middle school had received International Baccalaureate certification on Sept. 4.
  • The appointment of Archbishop Blase Cupich is announced Sept. 20.
  • Hundreds of Catholic school students and parents rally Sept. 25 at the State of Illinois building for school choice.
  • The investigation into the life and virtues of Father Augustus Tolton was closed Sept. 29 and sent to Rome for consideration by the Congregation for Causes of Saints.
  • Eight archdiocesan schools were honored with U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Awards Sept. 30. The schools honored this year are: St. Cletus School, LaGrange; SS. Faith, Hope and Charity School, Winnetka; Holy Cross School, Deerfield; St. Hubert School, Hoffman Estates; St. John the Evangelist School, Streamwood; St. Mary School, Buffalo Grove; Prince of Peace School, Lake Villa; and St. Viator High School, Arlington Heights.


  • Bishops from around the world gathered at the Vatican Oct. 5-19 for an “extraordinary synod” on the family. While the meeting was widely reported to be contentious, with some bishops arguing for more inclusive language about gay men and women and divorced and remarried Catholics and others hewing to existing interpretations of doctrine, Pope Francis said the openness of the talks was valuable. It was not the scene of “a clash between factions, but of a debate among bishops,” he said. The discussion will continue next year with a general synod.
  • Catholics in the archdiocese continued to offer assistance to undocumented immigrants while advocating for comprehensive immigration reform. On Oct. 15, more than 1,300 stuffed animals collected by Chicago-area parishes were sent from the Office for Immigrant Affairs and Immigration Education to detention centers in New York housing unaccompanied, undocumented minors who entered the United States illegally. On Oct. 24, San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo Garcia- Siller, a former auxiliary bishop of Chicago, led a march from Federal Plaza to St. Peter’s in the Loop, 110 W. Madison St., before celebrating Mass there. Participants prayed for comprehensive immigration reform.
  • On Oct. 29, the archdiocese announced a series of school closings, mergers and reconfigurations that will affect 14 schools. Six schools will be closed outright, including: St. Peter, Skokie; St. Hyacinth, 3640 W. Wolfram St.; St. Ladislaus, 3330 N. Lockwood Ave., St. Turibius, 4120 W. 57th St.; St. Rene Goupil, 6340 S. New England Ave.; and St. Lawrence O’Toole, Matteson.


  • On Nov. 6, the archdiocese released more than 15,000 pages of documents related to 36 priests who have been accused of sexually abusing minors. The archdiocese now has released information on all but two of the priests or former priests who have credible allegations against them. Those two, Daniel McCormack and Father Edward Maloney, are still involved in civil or canonical legal proceedings.
  • Archbishop Cupich is installed as the ninth archbishop of Chicago on Nov. 18 during a Mass that included seven cardinals and about 95 bishops and archbishops, as well as 55 members of his family. His installation makes Cardinal Francis George, now archbishop emeritus, the first archbishop of Chicago to live until retirement.
  • In his last public Mass as archbishop on Nov. 16, Cardinal George told the congregation at Holy Name Cathedral, “You are my legacy.”
  • Catholics including Archbishop Cupich lauded President Barack Obama’s Nov. 20 decision to allow some undocumented immigrants — primarily those who are parents of U.S. citizen children — to live and work in the United States without fear of deportation, but said it is only a first step toward immigration reform. Archbishop Cupich met with Obama when the president came to Chicago on Nov. 25 to drum up support for his actions, and the archbishop said he told Obama that the government must protect any immigrants who apply for the new status.


150 years

  • St. Mary of the Annunciation, Fremont Center
  • Notre Dame de Chicago

125 years

  • St. Catherine of Siena-St. Lucy, Oak Park
  • St. Francis de Sales (Ewing Avenue)
  • St. Teresa of Avila De La Salle Institute

100 years

  • Immaculate Conception (44th Street)
  • St. James (Fullerton Avenue)
  • St. Ladislaus
  • St. Pascal
  • St. Peter and Paul
  • St. John the Baptist, Harvey
  • Holy Angels School
  • St. Helen School