RMC – Oak Park Unification / New Reality – March 12, 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 – March 12, 2023

Dear Parishioners,

It will be ten years since the election of Pope Francis as bishop of Rome. As you know, He is the first Roman Pontiff from Latin America. One of the themes that has come from his papacy is a desire for a church that is mission focused at every level. Francis insists that the nature of the church is missionary, always seeking new ways to proclaim the gospel. As we look back at the words of this new pope as he first addressed the crowd in St. Peter’s Square, he talked of journeying together. This is also at the heart of Francis’s desire for synodality, which means the bishop and his people take up the journey together as we look at the many needs and challenges of our church and the people for whom it serves.

It is, the pope said, “a journey of fraternity, of love, of trust among us.”

So what does this have to do with us, you may be asking? This same message applies to us in our small corner of our world: the church here in Oak Park and the people both here and beyond our geographical borders who are part of our communities. The words of Pope Francis from the time of his election as Pope remind us that “renewal” is the foundation of our church, and for each of us individually, all the way to the resurrection of Christ! As we journey through Lent, the suffering of Our Savior, his death, and his rising in many ways parallels our own journey in faith. This is true for us as a community as we have worked through Renew My Church and now move forward into Building a New Reality. We are called to embrace the mission left to us by Jesus: “Spread the Good News.” The call to renewal is real and this is our time to pay attention and to act.

From the beginning of Renew My Church and the initial leadership groups from each parish that met together, this desire was made clear: “To become a stronger, more sustainable presence for the future, capable of reaching more people.” We share this information as a reminder that we can be proud of this desire and the work being done to reach this expressed goal of renewal in this current moment.

Our efforts to unite our Religious Education programs to give our families more options and to engage the talents and faith of our community is a work in progress. Also, the creation of an Oak Park Catholic Formation Center for all points to creative ways of renewal, mission and making disciples for Christ. This weekend, and in the weeks to come, you will hear more information as our plans continue to develop. Since these are our collective efforts as the larger community, we wanted to share this in our respective bulletins at the same time.

Staying focused on the present and the future of our faith, and increasing the joy of renewal desired by all of us is happening through all our efforts. Your prayers and support are needed. We recognize change is never easy and there will be challenges. As we, the Body of Christ, continue to transform the challenges of structural renewal from maintenance to mission opportunities, it is Christ who we follow. He promises to guide and strengthen us as we grow in his image and in the virtues of faith, hope and love.

In Christ we thank you for your, patience, faith and prayers.

Fr. Carl Morello and Fr. Rex Pillai
Pastors of St. Catherine-St. Lucy and St. Giles Parish and Ascension and St. Edmund Parish