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Renew My Church

Archdiocese of Chicago

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September 22, 2021

 

Dear St. Edmund Members,

 

We invite you to lend your voices and efforts to the possible ways in which our communities are being called to the Renew My Church process (RMC). Renewal requires envisioning, planning and creating new ways to bring Jesus Christ to others. To the end, below are some offered scenarios  showing potential models of how our parishes could be configured in the near future. These scenarios are being shared with you for your review and were discussed at meetings scheduled for each parish community  October 3rd or October 4th  Please consult your parish website or bulletin for the time and location of your parish community’s meeting. Please know NO DECISIONS HAVE BEEN MADE.  Also, these scenarios do not affect parish schools.

 

We hope you take the time to read through the scenarios, consider them and what might be the best structure that enables us to breathe renewed life into our efforts to make disciples, to build our communities and to inspire witness to who we are as followers of Jesus Christ. Please send you comments and recommendations to stedmundrmc@gmail.com

 

Fr. John McGivern

Pastor, St. Edmund Church

Administrator, St Catherine/St. Lucy Parish

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July 18, 2021

Renew My Church Update

The Renew My Church parish grouping process has begun. An important initial step is a discovery process as members of each of the 4 Oak Park parishes (Ascension, St. Catherine/St. Lucy, St. Edmund, and St. Giles) make formal visits to the other parishes to learn more about each worshipping community. St. Edmund will be hosting two visits – one after the 11am mass on Sunday, July 25 and another on the evening of July 27.

Parishioners are invited to prayerfully consider what our particular parish strengths are in order that we may share them with the grouping “teams” from the other parishes during these meetings. Feel free to discuss your thoughts with any member of the parish grouping team (Don Giannetti, Thomas Mackey, John Martin, Denise Walsh, and Tom Wheeler). You may also share any suggestions with John Martin via email at jmartin@sfgh.com

Thank you.

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June 10, 2021

Parish Renew My Church Grouping Begins to Meet

Dear St. Edmund Parishioners,

 The heart of our Renew My Church effort is the parish grouping process—the goal of which is to ensure that all parishes across the archdiocese have the vision, leadership, resources, and operational foundation necessary to create an effective culture of evangelization that makes disciples, builds communities, and inspires witness.

 Changing church attendance patterns over many decades has left many parishes heavily burdened by operational and financial concerns that limit their ability to have expansive ministry programs around evangelization and discipleship formation. A decreasing number of priests available to serve at parishes creates a need to rethink our leadership model to include a stronger lay leadership core team with proper governance structures for accountability. There is a need to ensure that we have a common understanding of proven evangelization programs and processes that are rooted in Catholic teaching.

 All 344 parishes in the diocese have been joined into 98 groupings. Within these groupings, parishes will determine opportunities for collaboration and unity following a structured process for discernment, transition, and building a future together.  

Many of today’s challenges require looking and working beyond our individual parish. The only way to make sustainable change in our communities is to work together in new and bold ways. Groupings are called to greater collaboration to take on these challenges with bold vision.

 Our grouping consists of the 4 Oak Park parishes. Grouping parishes together allows for local-level ownership and planning to take place and ensures that local feedback is present within the process of renewal. Grouping allows for assessment of new parish models. Additionally, parish groupings help strengthen relationships between parishes, provide a better evaluation of the current realities within their community, make for a clearer discernment of what configuration would be best for their community, and more effectively identify what they each have to share and what the spiritual renewal in their community will look like. 

A set of parishes is considered a good grouping if they: are reasonably close geographically. serve the same broader community (e.g. the parishes serve the same public-school district). have obvious commonalities and affinities (e.g. parishioners occasionally attend mass at more than one parish in the grouping).

 Here at St. Edmund Parish, after much consultation and consideration, the 5 members of our parish grouping are: Don Giannetti, Thomas Mackey, John Martin, Denise Walsh and Tom Wheeler. Don Giannetti is the parish Pastoral Staff Member on the group and all 5 of the individuals have demonstrated leadership and wisdom in a variety of ways in the parish.

 The first meeting took place on Tuesday, June 8th. There will be several gatherings throughout the course of the next several months. Our goal is to create a few scenarios for what the new Catholic footprint will be in the Oak Park area. Once submitted, Cardinal Cupich will make the final determination as to what changes will actually be made.

 I will continue to update you with information when it is made available. Please pray for the success of these proceedings and that they will indeed serve to make a more vibrant, healthy and sustainable Catholic community for everyone who currently worships at the 4 Oak Park parishes.

 

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May 23, 2021

An Update on Renew My Church

A Letter from the Priests of the Oak Park Parishes to the People We Serve in all 4 Parishes

 Dear Parishioners and Friends,

   Beginning in June, the 4 Oak Park parishes, which make up 1 grouping, will begin the process of discerning the future of the Catholic Church in Oak Park. Change is challenging and difficult, but when it comes to the vitality and the future of the Church we love, we must remain open to what that future may hold.

   All of the parishes are in the process of developing a team of 5 parishioners (not including the pastor or administrator) who will regularly gather throughout the next several months, all with the goal of developing possible scenarios which will help in the revitalization of the local worshiping communities. There is a trained facilitator who will lead the groups in their discernment.

   It would be inaccurate simply to understand this process as a means by which parishes may merge, consolidate or even close. The ultimate goal is to develop worshipping communities that are sustainable in every way. Yes, that certainly includes financially, as well as taking an honestlook at the health and safety of our buildings. Even more than that, however, we must be sure that all of our resources—be that priest personnel, parish staffs, and our lay leadership are all being utilized in the most effective and efficient ways, that will create even greater life-giving and vital worship communities for all of you.

  This process requires that everyone let go of a too narrow, parochial perspective of what it means to be Church and to embrace what a new, revitalized, Catholic footprint would look like. This is not an easy task for anyone to accept, including us, your priests. After much prayer and reflection, however, we have come to believe that it is the right and necessary task. The current model of parish life in Oak Park is not sustainable for much longer, and a new vision is especially needed. We welcome this opportunity for us to grow, to evolve and to change together, and we invite you to join us on this new and important journey. We need you to accompany us on this journey and we can not imagine embarking upon it without you.

   This can be an exciting and life-giving opportunity, but it requires that everyone set aside the “this is how it has always been” mentality and embrace what may come. Yes, there will be challenges and changes, and yes, the future is frightening and uncertain, but what awaits us will be revitalizing, exciting and sustainable for Catholics today and the new generation of Catholics who are soon to follow.

   It seems appropriate that on this occasion of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit filled the first disciples with hope and strength, and set them afire to share their faith in the Lord Jesus, that we reach out to you today. Symbolic of our desire to walk together into a renewed, sustainable and Spirit filled Church in Oak Park, beginning this weekend, all 4 of our parishes will begin to pray the following petition at mass every weekend, reminding us that we are all one faith community and that we must all grow together.  

For all the Catholic parishes of Oak Park, and the

people they serve, that as we enter the Renew My

Church process, we may be open to developing new

opportunities for unity and the deepening of our

shared lives of faith, we pray…

   Please know that we pray for each of you every day. Let us always remember to pray for one another, and for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we now embark on this holy task of renewal and revitalization of the faith communities and people we so love.

 Sincerely,

Fr. Carl Morello, Pastor, St. Giles Parish; Administrator, Ascension Parish

Fr. Rex Pillai, Associate Pastor, Ascension Parish

 Fr. John McGivern, Pastor, St. Edmund Parish; Administrator, St. Catherine/St. Lucy Parish

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St. Edmund Parish, 188 South Oak Park Avenue, Oak Park, Illinois 60302
Phone 708-848-4417 //  Fax Line: 708-848-0049
Parish contact: Christine Rousakis (carousakis@stedmund.org" // Web site editor: Michael Guerin (mpguerin@gmail.com)
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Website established September 1, 2001