RMC – Oak Park Unification / New Reality – March 5, 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 5, 2023

Dear Parishioners,

Our Renew My Church journey continues. This week, Rick Moreno introduced the next phase of Renew My Church (RMC), Building A New Reality, to the two parishes’ Unification Teams and pastors, following the same introduction to the parish staffs the previous week. Building A New Reality is the third phase of Renew My Church, and is dedicated to Mission and Evangelization; the Mission that Christ entrusted to the disciples, and in turn to all of us. How appropriate it is that we begin this work at the same time we begin our Lenten journey. Rick reminded us at both gatherings what a unique community we are when he highlighted the exciting possibilities from several sections of the Cardinal’s Decree:

  • Based on the hopes and commitment expressed by the Oak Park grouping during the discernment process, the archdiocese affirms the grouping’s vision to use St. Catherine-St. Lucy campus as a base for powerful ministry outreach to the West Side of Chicago. Ministry outreach efforts will be supported by the entire Oak Park Catholic community.
  • Being structured as two parishes does not preclude efforts to work as a united Oak Park Catholic community. To best serve the areas of Oak Park, Austin and Galewood with two parishes, the archdiocese encourages parish leaders to continue to share ministries.
  • The archdiocesan RMC Commission encourages the Oak Park Catholic community to collaborate with the West Side Catholic community to envision how best to collectively address the spiritual and social needs of their shared ministry areas. This includes using the resources of both communities as well as their physical presence at St. Catherine-St. Lucy, St. Martin de Porres, St. Agatha, St. Angela School and other Catholic institutions serving the community.

The decree announcement concluded that “The renewal process calls us to become a stronger, more sustainable presence for the future, capable of reaching more people in their work of making disciples of Jesus Christ, building communities with one another and inspiring witness in the world around us.” “The newly united parish communities will embark upon the next phase of renewal, focusing on strong evangelization to the world around us. We know that this structural change is just the beginning of our journey of renewal. “Renewal of our Church means that every Catholic, every searcher, and everyone who loves Jesus and his Church, will have to look anew at what it means to be Jesus’ disciple and to live out that discipleship.”

We can all be proud of the opening of the temporary shelter at the St. Catherine-St. Lucy site. The work underway to bring together our Religious Education Programs, the creation of a formation center, and our 5:00 PM Sunday Mass with a focus on young adults are just some of the ways we, the Catholic community of Oak Park, are increasing the joy of renewal we expressed and that was entrusted back to us from the Discernment and Decision phase.

The call entrusted to us by the RMC Commission and Cardinal Cupich as highlighted above is exciting and challenging. It is important to remember to remain focused on the mission to create a solid structural foundation necessary to build a new reality focused on evangelization, missionary discipleship, and creating a sense of unity in the larger Catholic community of Oak Park.

We continue to ask for your patience, faith and prayers as we embark upon this continued journey together. The heart of this journey encourages us all to remember that it is Christ who we follow. He promises to strengthen us in the gift of the Eucharist, wherever we share in that scared 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 the challenges before us as we also look forward to many wonderful opportunities.

In Christ, good will to all!

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