June 10, 2021
Parish Renew My Church Grouping Begins to Meet
Dear St. Edmund
The heart of our
Renew My Church effort is the parish grouping processthe 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
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 todays
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.
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.
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
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
resourcesbe 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
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.
Fr. Carl Morello, Pastor, St. Giles
Parish; Administrator, Ascension Parish
Fr. Rex Pillai, Associate Pastor,
Fr. John McGivern, Pastor, St. Edmund
Parish; Administrator, St. Catherine/St. Lucy Parish