The Archdiocese of Chicago on Nov. 9 announced updates on the Markham-Harvey and Back of the Yards Renew My Church groupings. Over the past several months, the Markham-Harvey and Back of the Yards groupings’ feedback and discernment teams, made up of representatives from each of the parishes, met to review and discern the future parish and church structures. Based on their meetings and discussions with the larger parish communities, they submitted feedback reports to the Archdiocesan Standards and Recommendations Commission, which includes representatives from across the archdiocese. The commission met to review the feedback reports and other materials and information, including demographic data, financial summaries and parish and grouping trends. Over the course of the past several weeks, Cardinal Cupich, the archdiocese’s auxiliary bishops and Presbyteral Council met to discuss the commission’s recommendations. Based on those discussions and prayerful consideration, the following decisions have been made. Markham-Harvey Renew My Church grouping The Markham-Harvey grouping includes the following parishes: Ascension-St. Susanna St. Gerard Majella St. John the Baptist These parishes will unite as one new parish with a new name. The effective date of the formal union of the parishes is yet to be determined and will be no later than July 1, 2021. St. John the Baptist will be designated the parish church, where the business office and sacramental records are kept. The Renew My Church commission recommended ceasing regularly scheduled Masses at Ascension-St. Susanna and St. Gerard Majella and transitioning all regularly scheduled Masses to St. John the Baptist no later than the first Sunday of Advent 2021. Local leadership will set a specific timeline for this transition. Many new parish communities have discerned transitioning Masses sooner than the recommended date is prudent for the community. Additional information will be forthcoming regarding the assigned pastor. Back of the Yards Renew My Church grouping The Back of the Yards grouping includes the following parishes: Holy Cross-Immaculate Heart of Mary St. Joseph St. Michael the Archangel The parishes will unite as one new parish with a new name no later than July 1, 2021. Holy Cross and St. Joseph will be Sunday worship centers. St. Joseph will be designated the parish church where the sacramental records will be kept. Additionally, the Renew My Church commission recommended: St. Michael the Archangel will continue to host one Sunday Mass each weekend. Immaculate Heart of Mary will not be used for regular worship activity. Parish leadership, as good stewards focused on mission imperatives of renewal, will continuously assess how its structures are serving the parish’s mission. The sustainability of maintaining multiple worship sites while fostering unity and growing mission outreach will be a focus going forward. Once a pastor has been named, parish leadership and parishioners will discern possibilities for the name of the new parish, within guidelines provided by the archdiocese, and submit their considerations to Cardinal Cupich for his decision on the permanent name of the new parish. The grouping feedback and discernment team members expressed their belief that uniting as one new parish will be necessary for future vitality and viability. Next steps Over the next few months, the archdiocese and the pastors of the current parishes will assist the communities in their transition to the new parish structures. The archdiocese’s Renew My Church accompaniment team will work alongside local leadership to ensure the uniting faith communities and staff members are supported through this time of change. All parishes will embark on the next phase of the renewal process to become a stronger, more sustainable presence, capable of reaching more people in their work of making disciples of Jesus Christ, building communities with one another and inspiring witness in the world around us. Decisions on two additional groupings Decisions on Old Irving Park/Addison and Jefferson/Portage Park Renew My Church Groupings were slated to be announced next week. However, they will be delayed due to further discernment. An announcement will likely be made in December. About Renew My Church Jesus Christ calls us to constantly renew his church. Renew My Church is the Archdiocese of Chicago’s response to his call and our invitation for renewal. Called by Jesus Christ, we are making disciples, building communities and inspiring witness. The Renew My Church process will transform the archdiocese over the next several years by working with groupings of parishes to determine how they will achieve the goal of having vibrant, life-giving faith communities accessible to all Catholics. To learn more about Renew My Church, visit renewmychurch.org.