INVITATION TO OAK PARK PARISHES
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
FAITH, FINANCES, FACILITIES AND FACTS MEETING
MONDAY, MARCH 6 AT 7 PM
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 Pillai – Pastor, Ascension and St. Edmund
Fr. Carl Morello – Pastor, St. Catherine of Siena-St. Lucy and St. Giles
Carlos Guerrero – Operations Director, Ascension and St. Edmund
Matt Brophy – Operations Director, St. Catherine of Siena-St. Lucy and St. Giles
Parish Bulletin – February 26, 2023
Following our Renew My Church Discussion and Discernment announcements last spring, we’ve been working with teams from the Archdiocese on the Organizational Structural Phase of Renew My Church. Our mission is to create a solid structural foundation necessary to build a new reality focused on evangelization and missionary discipleship which will include creating a sense of unity in the larger Catholic community of Oak Park.
During our continued efforts to create streamlined financial operations, exceptional leadership teams, and viable and sustainable facility plans, we’ve learned that our two newly forming parishes, made up of four former Oak Park parishes, comprise a total of 20 buildings in various conditions. Recently, we learned the lease of the St. Edmund School building was up for renewal later this year and investigation began on the condition of the building for another extended lease term. Unfortunately, the condition of the building and the overwhelming investment needed to address the condition is beyond the reach of community and the Archdiocese, and the renewal of the lease to The Children’s School is not a possibility. In consideration for the school and the time they need to find a new location, we had to notify the school administration without being able to provide this information to our Catholic community first.
We are now moving forward earnestly with a Structural Review and we are beginning to form our new parish councils and finance committees. As this is happening, we are also beginning to move toward the second stage of Renew My Church, which is the spiritual renewal of Building a New Reality, or BNR. The opening of the temporary shelter at the St. Catherine-St. Lucy site, bringing together our Religious Education Programs, looking toward the creation of a formation center, and the addition of our 5:00 pm Sunday Mass with a focus on our young adults are just some of the ways we are working on spiritual renewal all at the same time. Of course, all of this will take time and leadership as well as continued community input and involvement.
That being said, we have decided to cancel for now our previously announced March 6 meeting as there are still structural pieces for which more information needs to be gathered. In the meantime, we will be creating our new finance committees in order to include them in the sharing of information and the conversations on how best to move into this next phase of the process of Building a New Reality.
We ask for your patience, faith, and prayers as we embark upon this continued journey together.
At the heart of this journey, we encourage you to remember it is Christ who we follow. He promises to strengthen us in the gift of the Eucharist, wherever we share in that sacred meal. We are called to imitate God in our actions, especially in how we live with, and among, each other as communities of faith, hope and love. Let’s not lose sight of this as we continue to face challenges as well look forward to many wonderful opportunities.
In Christ, good will to all!
Fr. Rex Pillai and Fr. Carl Morello
Pastors of Ascension and St. Edmund Parish and St. Catherine-St. Lucy and St. Giles Parish