RMC – Oak Park Unification / New Reality – February 19, 2023


To Our Parishioners,

The Children’s School, which currently occupies St. Edmund School, has advised their community that the Archdiocese is not renewing their lease on the St. Edmund School property. Recently, we learned that the building is in need of extensive repairs, repairs which are not feasible to finance. The parish is also unable to financially manage the risk associated with this building while occupied by the school. These are some of the factors which led to the decision by the Archdiocese not to renew the lease. While The Children’s School and the Archdiocese began negotiations last year regarding a lease renewal, the discovery of these extensive and expensive repairs to the building make that impossible.

Further information is being gathered about St. Edmund School and will be shared with the wider community on March 6, as part of an Oak Park conversation on our parishes. The details for this event, ‘Faith, Finances, Facilities & Facts,’ are below.

In consideration of the school and the challenge they have ahead, we agreed that they would communicate this news to their community before we notified our wider community. We hope you will understand the sensitivity and difficulty of such communication.

Please reach out to either one of us with any question you may have.

Peace and Blessings,

Fr. Rex Pillai
Ascension and St. Edmund Parish

Fr. Carl Morello
St. Catherine of Siena-St. Lucy and St. Giles Parish



Eight months ago, we began a journey to form two new Catholic Parishes in Oak Park. As newly unified parish communities formed from four original parish communities, we have faced a number of challenges.

The mergers have also been a source of many blessings in our worship and in our service to our sisters and brothers. And yet, there are still many questions and uncertainties before us as we continue this journey of unification.

We invite you to an all-Oak Park Catholic Parishes Meeting to begin addressing these questions. The focus of the meeting will be Faith initiatives, Financial summaries, Facilities reports and other Facts of note.

The meeting will be Monday, March 6, at 7 pm in McDonough Hall (2nd floor), 1101 Colombian Ave., on the St. Giles Campus. The hall is handicapped accessible with a ramp on the south side of the building as well as an elevator available to reach the second floor.

Fr. Rex PillaiPastor, Ascension and St. Edmund

Fr. Carl MorelloPastor, St. Catherine of Siena-St. Lucy and St. Giles

Carlos GuerreroOperations Director, Ascension and St. Edmund

Matt BrophyOperations Director, St. Catherine of Siena-St. Lucy and St. Giles

Parish Bulletin – February 19, 2023

Dear Parishioners,

As we are quickly moving through the month of February, and Lent is beginning this week, we are also continuing to move through the process of unification of our two new parishes: St. Catherine-St. Lucy and St. Giles, and Ascension and St. Edmund. Our unification teams have met individually and together on multiple occasions. At our last meeting on January 17, we began to discuss next steps. This marks a time of transition for our respective unification teams as we move forward looking at the next phase of Building a New Reality for our two new parishes, and what we have been visioning for the future Catholic Community here in Oak Park and those in our community who reside beyond our usual geographic borders. Together, we can create a strong presence and witness to the Body of Christ in our support for one another and those in need. While we honor what makes us unique and vibrant in our respective parishes, we also have the opportunity to see how we can share the gifts and talents we can bring to the larger church community that we are a part of.

We can be proud of the fact that we have begun our shared Sunday evening Mass at the St. Edmund site with a focus on young adults. We can be proud of the fact that in conjunction with Housing Forward and the help of members from each community, we have opened a temporary shelter for the homeless in the St. Catherine-St. Lucy rectory. All of this is supported by the Oak Park Village leadership.

And there has been a lot of work happening to build a team, with representatives from each of the communities served, to create a strong Religious Education program that will meet the growing needs for all our families as we work together to pass on our Catholic faith to our children.

There are still many opportunities and challenges before us. But look at what we have already started, and what we have already accomplished together!

Now we will begin our next phase of building our new parish councils and finance committees. Rick Moreno, the Vicariate representative who works with parishes that are in transition, presented information to us at a joint staff meeting last Tuesday, and will continue to provide guidance at a Building A New Reality meeting on Monday, February 20. If you have an interest in serving our communities as we move into this new phase of our unification, please reach out to one of us and let us know.

At the heart of the conversation is the reality that we must move forward with a focus on MISSION, speaking about and sharing our faith stories and inviting others to know Christ. For some, we may be the first encounter they have. Friends, we know that change is never easy for any of us. But the church has been changing and we are changing. We are on this journey together. Our prayer is that may we trust the Holy Spirit to guide us, and that we never forget that the center of our lives is our faith in God and our strength as we come together as the living Body of Christ.

Wishing all a safe and blessed week ahead.

Fr. Rex Pillai and Fr. Carl Morello
Companions on the journey!
Pastors of Ascension and St. Edmund Parish and St. Catherine-St. Lucy and St. Giles Parish