ARCHDIOCESE OF CHICAGO
RENEW MY CHURCH

ArchdiocesanParishionerSurvey1


LATEST RENEW MY CHURCH UPDATE
OCTOBER 7, 2021

Dear St. Giles Community Members,

On Monday, October 4, about 100 folks, many in person in McDonough Hall and others online, gathered to hear information regarding the proposed Renew My Church (RMC) scenarios for our Oak Park Community and beyond. The presentation was recorded and can been seen below, if you missed it. At the heart of RMC, there are three mission imperatives: called by Jesus Christ, we are Making Disciples, Building Communities and Inspiring Witness.

What renewed ways do we need to consider for today’s environment; how can we align our resources in order to best respond to Jesus’ call to renewal?

There were many good questions and comments shared. I stressed that NO DECISIONS HAVE BEEN MADE. The next step is gathering community feedback and for the parish teams that have met together to look at the feedback, taking it into consideration for a decision. That information then is brought to the priest council and presented to the Cardinal for the final decision. Our gathering and collecting of feedback is one part of the process we are now engaged in.

Leadership, shared wisdom and talents, creating strong bonds and community, working together and stronger, were all part of the very focused discussions about potential possibilities for the church in this community and beyond.

Hard copies of any material shared at the meeting can be picked up at the Parish Center during our office hours. The materials have also posted below as PDF files – Please fill out the Feedback Form below and drop it off to the Parish Center or email it to stgiles@stgilesparish.org – We encourage all parishioners to submit your feedback as soon as possible – An overview of responses as of October 11, 2021 is linked below! 

Overview of Responses as of 10-11-2021 (PDF)

RMC Oak Park Grouping – Scenarios and Data (PDF)

Parishioner Feedback Form (PDF)

FAQs – What is a Mission? (PDF)

FAQs – Discernment & Decisions Process (PDF)

STAY TUNED!

October is also a month when we celebrate and remember Mary, our spiritual mother. Some wonder why?

In Old Testament kingdoms, the queen mother played a significant role in her son’s governance of his kingdom. Her power and authority flowed from her position as it related to her son. His subjects often petitioned her to speak to him on their behalf. As Queen Mother of Heaven, Mary’s purpose is to further her Son’s kingdom. When we turn to her, she acts with her authority to bring our concerns to her Son, and He is always inclined to fulfill her wishes.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us, intercede for us!

As our communities of faith walk together through the Renew My Church process, may our Spiritual Mother, Mary accompany us.

Have a blessed week ahead.

With you a Christian. For you a priest.

Father Carl Morello
Pastor of St. Giles Parish and Administrator of Ascension Parish


OUR PARISH GROUPING

St. Giles is in a grouping with St. Catherine-St. Lucy, Ascension, and St. Edmund.

In early November 2019, staff members and many in roles of parish leadership met with a member of the Archdiocese to learn how Renew My Church should be considered as we move forward with our 2025 vision for our faith community. What became clear for us are the many challenges we face, one being listening and responding to the mistrust and hurt feelings that folks raised toward the leadership in the Archdiocese, and all the way to Rome. Yet, there is such great hope as we see the many gifts and strengths of our parish leaders, all of whom will help us respond to the many challenges we continue to face. One very important consideration as we plan and move forward will be how we address the issue of folks who have no faith or community affiliation in our own neighborhoods? Along with this, how do we change hearts of many who come to church for “what’s in it for me,” rather than participating with the people of God so they can be transformed into disciples. In other words, do we come to church, Mass, to be changed? Lots to think about and consider.


DOCUMENTATION AND RESOURCES


RENEW MY CHURCH UPDATE FROM FATHER CARL – SEPTEMBER 19, 2021

The RMC, Renew My Church, process is back in motion. Each small team from the four parish sites will meet with our Archdiocesan Facilitator for our fourth meeting on Tuesday, September 21. At this meeting, we will continue to look at and discuss initial scenarios for the future of the Oak Park and greater Catholic communities that are also a part of our parish communities.

These scenarios are meant to bring to the table creative possibilities to best use buildings and ministries for making disciples, strengthening and building communities, and inspiring witness to faith in Jesus Christ.

What is a scenario? It is considering how parishes might unite to become stronger together, or what would allow a parish to stand alone, fulfilling all I just mentioned above. In looking at a vision for the future, the spiritual and structural renewal to which we are called are dependent upon one another. We must consider the best and the most efficient stewardship of our resources.

Once these scenarios are decided upon, they will be presented to each parish. The plan now is to send them out on Friday, September 24. The following Sunday or Monday, October 3 or 4, there will be a open parish meeting for review and any feedback you might want to offer regarding the scenarios. These meetings will occur individually in each parish and on the same weekend, perhaps on the same day and time. I will keep you posted on the date and time for that meeting here at Saint Giles.

This is currently what is happening, and the plan, as we move forward in the RMC process.

Wishing you a blessed and safe week ahead.

With you a Christian. For you a priest.
Father Carl Morello – Pastor of St. Giles Parish


RENEW MY CHURCH UPDATE FROM FATHER CARL – JUNE 13, 2021

Parish Renew My Church Groupings Begins to Meet

Dear St. Giles 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 four 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. Giles, after consultation with the parish staff, those joining me on the RMC team will be: Meg Bigane, John Gallo, John Milder, Ed Siderewicz, Melanie Halvorson and Claire Noonan. Meg is the staff member in the group and the other five individuals have all have demonstrated leadership and wisdom in a variety of ways in the parish.

The first meeting took place on Tuesday, June 8. 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 four Oak Park parishes.

With you a Christian. For you a priest.
Father Carl MorelloPastor of St. Giles Parish


RENEW MY CHURCH UPDATE FROM FATHER CARL – MAY 23, 2021

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

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

Beginning in June, the four Oak Park parishes, which make up one 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 five 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 honest look 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 cannot 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 four 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


RENEW MY CHURCH UPDATE FROM FATHER CARL – MARCH 14, 2021

If you recall, I shared in my corner a couple of weeks ago that our four Oak Park parishes will come together to begin discussion around the Renew My Church (RMC) process. The official process will begin sometime in June. Over the years, we have know one another through events and sacramental celebrations that have happened across the parishes. In effort to get to know our neighbors and those in leadership on our parish councils, a Zoom meeting took place last Monday evening. The larger group gathered and was then broken up into smaller groups of six. Each group was led by a “circle keeper” who allowed for everyone to have time to speak. The same questions were asked of each participant. This was not a decision-making gathering, rather one where folks met one another and shared thoughts around these two questions:

What is it you feel is unique and that you love about your parish? In building and creating a vison for future Catholic ministry for Oak Park and beyond, what might we work on together?

This was one simple step for meaningful discussion as we move forward and prepare for the process which will also include the larger parish communities.

The ultimate goals of RMC are building stronger communities of faith by working together and sharing resources where possible and bringing others to stronger or new relationships with Christ. Many factors play into how this reality will shape up for our communities. We ask the Holy Spirit to guide us and help us work together to build a new reality in our church today. I will keep you posted and share more information along the way.

With you a Christian. For you a priest.
Father Carl MorelloPastor of St. Giles Parish


RENEW MY CHURCH UPDATE FROM FATHER CARL – FEBRUARY 28, 2021

This week, I am sharing a letter sent to our four Oak Park parishes from Bishop Manz. The letter outlines a time frame for our parishes to begin the Renew My Church, or RMC, process. The Renew My Church mission has as its priorities making disciples, evangelization and vocations, building communities, leadership development, mission vitality, operating stability, and finally, inspiring witness by our faith in action. All of these priorities stem from this fact, WE ARE CALLED BY JESUS CHRIST!

The journey is meant to be spiritual, bringing people to a life-giving relationship in Jesus Christ, as well as the necessary changes that are needed in the structure and operations of our parishes. This is a quick overview of much of what RMC will require of each parish as we enter the process this June.

Please read the letter below and join me in praying that the Holy Spirit, always with us, gives us wisdom, courage and guidance as we move toward this process.

With you a Christian. For you a priest.
Father Carl MorelloPastor of St. Giles Parish


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