One of the archdiocese’s new parishes formed through Renew My Church celebrated its inauguration with a “fiesta week” Aug. 26-Sept. 2. San José Sánchez del Río Parish, which includes the churches of St. Philomena, 1921 N. Kedvale Ave.; Maternity BVM, 3647 W. North Ave.; and St. Francis of Assisi, 932 N. Kostner Ave., kicked off the week with a Mass inaugurating the new parish on Aug. 26. From Aug. 26 to 29, the parish held Masses, processions and talks around the devotion to Our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos from Jalisco, Mexico. The statue, which is made of wood and stands less than 2 feet high, was taken to each site during the week. Holy Cross Brother Roberto Jiménez, director of evangelization, said about 700 people attended the Mass held at St. Francis of Assisi. No other Masses were held on Aug. 29 at the other worship sites so parishioners could come together in one place. “Everyone enjoyed themselves,” he said. “I think everyone is on board with the new parish. To me, everyone is ready to move forward.” The now combined churches were part of the pilot phase of Renew My Church, along with Our Lady of the Angels Mission, 3808 W. Iowa St. The archdiocese describes Renew My Church as the local church’s response to Christ’s call to make disciples, build communities and inspire witness. This is a multiyear process for the archdiocese to strengthen parish vitality and better align its resources and its mission. The parish youth group, which has about 70 members, is particularly excited about the new parish because their suggestion for the new parish’s name was the one selected by Cardinal Cupich. Also in the running were Pope John XXIII and St. Frances Cabrini. San José Sánchez del Río was a 14-year-old boy killed by the Mexican government during the Cristero War in 1928 after refusing to renounce his faith. Before killing him, officials cut his feet and made him walk to the cemetery, so images of him depict him with bloody feet. Pope Francis canonized him in 2016. “Honestly speaking, I had no idea who he was until the kids starting talking about him,” Brother Roberto said. “Then I started doing research on him and got excited.” It was all the young people’s idea, though. “I think they identify themselves with him. It was exciting to see their spirits uplifted,” he said. After San José Sánchez’s death he was dubbed “Joselito,” and many parishioners have started to use that as a nickname for the new parish. Through people’s participation in “fiesta week,” which concluded with a Mass in honor of the Divine Infant on Sept. 2, parishioners began to get the sense of being one parish. “I think we’re beginning to see this is not Maternity or St. Francis or Philomena, but that this is our parish,” Brother Roberto said. “Each community has its own culture and we’re embracing that as we go forward.” Deacon Milton Rodriguez agreed. He has been a deacon for 30 years serving at Maternity BVM and is one of seven deacons at the new parish. He said he is getting to know the other church communities in the parish since he wasn’t familiar with them before. “We’re working very, very hard to keep the unity together. At this moment the spirit of the people is together,” he said.