Chicagoland

New Renew My Church structures for South Side, Bridgeport, Canaryville and Chinatown

By Chicago Catholic
December 5, 2018

Second-graders joined students and faculty at St. Therese Chinese Catholic School in celebrating their second National Blue Ribbon Award on Oct. 19. As part of Renew My Church restructuring, St. Therese will assume responsibility of St. Barbara School, retaining campuses at both the existing St. Therese school building and the existing St. Barbara school building, under the St. Therese Chinese leadership and name. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)

On Nov. 27 and 28, the archdiocese announced new structures for 12 parishes and 10 schools (one already closed) as part of Renew My Church. On Dec. 4, it announced recommendations for another three parishes and two schools.

South Side

The first announcement includes a group of parishes that includes Immaculate Conception parish and school, 2944 E. 88th St.; Our Lady of Guadalupe parish and school, 3200 E. 91st St.; Sacred Heart Croatian parish and school, 2864 E. 96th St.; and St. Michael parish and school, 8237 S. South Shore Drive.

St. Michael Parish and Immaculate Conception Parish will unite to form a new parish, effective July 1, 2019. Both churches will remain active worship sites. Once a pastor is in place for the new parish, the archdiocese and parish leadership team will begin to develop a long-term strategy for St. Michael Church and campus. Immaculate Conception School continues with its current programming as a ministry of the new, unified parish.

St. Michael School closed in June 2018 due to declining enrollment.

Our Lady of Guadalupe parish and school remains with its current structure, staffed by the Claretians.

Sacred Heart Croatian parish and school remains with its current structure, staffed by the Croatian Franciscans.

Over the next few months, the archdiocese will work with the faith communities of Immaculate Conception and St. Michael to ensure an orderly and smooth transition. The archdiocese’s Priest Placement Board will work with the community to identify a pastor to lead the new parish..

Cardinal Cupich made the decisions based on the archdiocesan Commission’s recommendation and other considerations  and after consulting with the archdiocesan Presbyteral Council.

Bridgeport, Canaryville and Chinatown

On Nov. 28, changes to parish and school structures in the Bridgeport, Canaryville and Chinatown neighborhoods were shared with parishioners.

Parishes and schools affected include:

•All Saints-St. Anthony Parish, 518 W. 28th Place

•St. Barbara parish and school, 2859 S. Throop St.

•Bridgeport Catholic Academy, 3700 S. Lowe Ave.

•St. Gabriel parish and school, 600 W. 45th St.

•St. Jerome Croatian parish and school, 2823 S. Princeton Ave.

•St. Mary of Perpetual Help Parish, 1029 W. 32nd St.

•Nativity of Our Lord Parish, 653 W. 37th St.

•Santa Lucia-Santa Maria Incoronata parish and school, 3022 S. Wells St.

•St. Therese Chinese Parish, 218 W. Alexander St., and school, 247 W. 23rd St.

Cardinal Cupich made the following decisions based on the Archdiocesan Commission’s recommendation and other considerations  and after consulting with the archdiocesan Presbyteral Council.

All Saints-St. Anthony Parish, St. Barbara parish and school, St. Mary of Perpetual Help Parish and St. Therese Chinese parish and school

St. Therese Chinese School will assume responsibility of St. Barbara School, retaining campuses at both the existing St. Therese Chinese school building and the existing St. Barbara school building, under the St. Therese Chinese leadership and name. The academic program will include expanded early childhood at the St. Barbara campus with pre-K through eighth grade at both sites pending enrollment. School leadership structure will consist of one principal with two administrators, one at each site.

The school will be led by the current St. Therese Chinese School principal. The current St. Barbara principal will serve as an administrator at the St. Barbara campus and will remain involved in leadership decisions. Current St. Barbara students will be automatically accepted into St. Therese Chinese School. St. Barbara faculty and staff will be given priority status in filling positions at the expanded St. Therese Chinese School.

Cardinal Cupich has requested that further discussion and consultation take place on the future of the parishes of All Saints-St. Anthony, St. Barbara, St. Mary of Perpetual Help and St. Therese Chinese and the Archdiocesan Center for Chinese Apostolate. Therefore, a decision on these parishes will be delayed until at least mid-January 2019.

St. Jerome Croatian parish and school and Santa Lucia-Santa Maria Incoronata parish and school

St. Jerome Croatian and Santa Lucia-Santa Maria Incoronata parishes will unite to form a new parish, effective July 1, 2019. St. Jerome Croatian Church will serve as the active worship site for the new parish, and Santa Lucia-Santa Maria Incoronata Church will close no later than June 2020, at a time determined in consultation with parish leadership, the pastor of the new parish and archdiocesan leadership.

The new parish will have a single school housed on the current campus of St. Jerome Croatian School. Thus, Santa Lucia School will close, effective June 30, 2019. The new parish will be staffed by the Croatian Franciscans.

Student enrollment has been declining at Santa Lucia for several years and its current enrollment is 42 students. Despite efforts to recruit students and restore the school to viability, the situation has not improved. Based on this and local demographic projections, moving forward with a single school to serve the united parish was determined to be the best way to ensure long-term quality and sustainability in Catholic school education.

Nativity of Our Lord Parish, Bridgeport Catholic Academy and St. Gabriel parish and school

The faith communities of Nativity of Our Lord and St. Gabriel parishes will unite to form one new parish. Both churches will remain open as active worship sites.

Bridgeport Catholic Academy and St. Gabriel School will unite as one school with two campuses to serve this new parish. For the 2019-2020 school year, each campus will be led by its own principal, both reporting to the new pastor of the new, unified parish. Both campuses will provide programming for grades pre-K through eight, and all current students will be invited to re-register.

The two campuses will operate under a combined financial plan. One tuition rate and financial aid process will apply for both campuses. Faculty and support staff will remain employed at both sites assuming they remain in good standing, wish to return and enrollment levels remain approximately the same.

The new pastor and parish and school leadership will continue to evaluate the best long-term leadership and operational structure of the two campuses.

School transitions

The archdiocese will employ the following processes and procedures to ensure a successful transition for all school families affected by these school changes.

Students and school families in good standing will be automatically accepted to the paired school noted above for the 2019-2020 school year. Special consideration will be provided for applicants from other closing/unifying schools within the grouping.

Welcoming schools will host re-enrollment activities at closing/unifying schools. Next year’s tuition for families with a child currently enrolled at a closing/unifying school will be whichever tuition and fees is lowest between the closing and pairing school. Welcoming schools will work with closing/unifying school families needing financial assistance.

All schools will refrain from accepting mid-year transfer students among schools in the grouping, so students have a chance to complete the year with their classmates.

At Cardinal Cupich’s request, the Renew My Church team, Bishop Robert Casey, the episcopal vicar for the area, and vicariate staff will re-engage the communities of All Saints-St. Anthony, St. Barbara, St. Mary of Perpetual Help and St. Therese Chinese Parishes and the Archdiocesan Center for Chinese Apostolate to continue discussions about their parish and church structures. A decision on these parishes is delayed until at least mid-January 2019.

Once all parish decisions are complete, the communities will begin the next phase of the renewal process to become a stronger, more sustainable presence for the future, capable of reaching more people and  making disciples of Jesus Christ.

In the coming months, the archdiocese will work to ensure an orderly and smooth transition to the new structures. The archdiocese will work with faculty and staff of closing/unifying schools to find future employment, ideally within the archdiocesan system. A member of the archdiocese’s Office of Catholic Schools will follow up directly with families of students at closing/unifying schools.

St. Ita, St. Thomas of Canterbury and St. Mary of the Lake parishes and schools

On Dec. 4, the archdiocese announced an update on the Lakeshore Drive grouping, which includes St. Ita Parish, 5500 N. Broadway;  St. Mary of the Lake parish and school, 4200 N. Sheridan Road; and St. Thomas of Canterbury parish and school, 4827 N. Kenmore Ave.

The Lakeshore Drive grouping began the Renew My Church discernment process in the spring of 2018. Cardinal Cupich and the Archdiocesan Presbyteral Council were scheduled to discuss the commission’s recommendation for the grouping in November, but postponed the decision until the Jan. 15 Presbyteral Council meeting.

The recommendation to be proposed is that  St. Ita and  St. Thomas of Canterbury unite to form a new parish, effective May 31, 2019. Both churches would remain active worship sites, and St. Thomas of Canterbury School (at St. Ita campus) would continue with its current programming  as a ministry of the new, unified parish.

According to the statement, it became clear through the discernment process that St. Mary of the Lake Parish would be better served as part of an alternate grouping. St. Mary of the Lake School will continue with its current programming.

Topics:

  • renew my church

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