RMC – New Unified Parish Name – Building A New Reality

OP Formation and Learning Center – Initiative


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


Our Renew My Church Journey
APRIL 2, 2023

New Parish Pastoral Councils Are Forming – An informational meeting will take place on Monday, May 1 from 7 to 8:30 pm in McDonough Hall on the St. Giles Campus (1101 Columbian Avenue) – If you are interested in serving on the Parish Pastoral Councils (PPC) for our new unified parishes, please join us and former PPC members from across Oak Park to learn more. Rick Moreno from the Archdiocese will share the new PPC vision and qualities of a Renew My Church Council and its members. From this meeting, you can discern your own interest and future engagement.

Dear Parishioners,

In the midst of Lent and Easter, our mission to Renew My Church (RMC) continues. Yes, at times we find this can be daunting and unpredictable for us all. During a recent interview with Pope Francis on the occasion of his 10th anniversary he said, “Being the pope is not an easy job. Nobody has studied before doing this,” recalling how St. Peter also “fell” when he denied Christ. “But, after the resurrection, Jesus chose [Peter] again,” Pope Francis explained. “That is the mercy of the Lord towards us.” We too, your pastors along with the priests of the diocese, had no training nor was anything remotely like “RMC” ever envisioned during our formal formation as priests. We rely on the collaborative support of YOU, our parishioners, and the significant support of the diocese to help guide us on this journey.

This past week, we continued the challenging work of the organizational transition of our parishes, and began orientation for the next phase of renewal, Building the New Reality (BNR). It was a very informative and exciting session comprised of key leaders from the community and diocese to begin this important phase of RMC. The discussion was open and valuable for us and all present. Some key learnings from this for us were the hunger for improved communication, the struggle we all have with understanding what “renewal and mission” means, the building of trusted relationships, and unfortunately some pain and sporadic “disengagement.” All wonderful sharing and learnings! We express our heartfelt thanks to all present and are now working with our BNR team to craft the next steps. We will be sharing those steps with you as we move forward, and we welcome your input.

We want to stress our continued gratitude and prayers to the Catholic community of Oak Park and to all those whom we serve. We ask each of you, as Pope Francis instructed in his recent interview, “Pay attention to God’s will and put it into practice: it’s necessary to attune yourself with the Lord, not with the world.” Not the church we know, but the church we are called to build for the present and our future. We need everyone to approach this renewal with openness as we grow together in understanding what it means to be a church that moves from maintenance to mission.

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


MARCH 2023

As part of the Renew My Church initiative for the Oak Park Catholic community, a team of volunteers from the parishes of St. Catherine – St. Lucy and St. Giles and Ascension and St. Edmund has begun a feasibility study for transforming the St. Catherine – St. Lucy rectory into a social services community center that serves families of students at St. Catherine – St. Lucy School and other West Side schools.

St. Catherine-St. Lucy already hosts three social service organizations: part of the rectory is now a temporary emergency shelter operated by Housing Forward; the convent houses a residential program for women overcoming addiction run by Sister House; and Beyond Hunger has a cold storage facility in the garage of the rectory.

The study group is divided into three committees: surveying the needs of West Side families and creating a business plan; completing a facility needs assessment of the rectory and convent; and developing a fundraising plan to generate the resources to launch and sustain the new project.

If you’re interested in more information or getting involved, please contact Dan Doody (dan@doody.com).


NOVEMBER 5, 2022

Dear Parishioners of St. Catherine of Siena – St. Lucy and St. Giles Parish,

As you may recall, Cardinal Cupich met this past Friday, November 4, with members of the Presbyteral Council. At this gathering, there were robust discussions around the new names which were submitted by many of the parishes and parishioners currently involved in the process of unification.

At this moment, I wish to share the results of this conversation as it relates to your parish and for Ascension and St. Edmund Parish. With the support of the priest members of the Presbyteral Council, it has been proposed that the official naming change for your parish be postponed at this time. With that said, for the time being, the name of your parish will remain St. Catherine of Siena – St. Lucy and St. Giles Parish. This is also true for Ascension and St. Edmund Parish.

This consideration and decision were made to affirm the intentional work of renewal taking place at each individual parish, and in the ongoing efforts of supporting a larger vision of renewal within the Oak Park Catholic community and beyond.

Allow me to also use this opportunity to thank your pastor, Fr. Carl Morello, the staff and the unification team for their commitment to all of you and to the process of Renew My Church. Their deep care is certainly grounding in our shared vision of continuing to build up the Kingdom of God during these moments of transition.

Please know of my closeness to all of you in my personal prayer, as I also ask that you pray for me. Wishing you every blessing, I remain,

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Kevin M. Birmingham
Episcopal Vicar

Unified Parish of St. Catherine-St. Lucy and St. Giles


All parishioners were invited to be part of the exciting opportunity of naming our parish, newly unified through the Renew My Church (RMC) process – Preferences, suggestions and ideas for a new parish name, under certain guidelines, were accepted from September 10 through September 25 giving all the opportunity to help establish a new identity for our parish community.

We received many unique and creative parish name suggestions – After review of those that meet qualifications, and prayerful discernment, the Unification Team focused on six names that best convey the spirit of our unified parish and have the most potential to gain widespread support among parishioners. We encouraged you to complete a Parish Name Survey after thoughtful prayer and reflection. The intention of the survey was to identify one or two names that attract a significant proportion of parishioners.  The survey was conducted from October 8 to October 16, and you gave us feedback of your first, second, and third choice from these names:

  • Beatitudes of the Lord Parish
  • Holy Wisdom Parish
  • Pax Christi Parish
  • St. Clare of Assisi Parish
  • St. Hildegard of Bingen Parish
  • Saint Sophia Parish

The naming surveys are in, now what? – All the surveys have been forwarded to the RMC Board for tallying. The name with the highest number of votes will be presented to the Cardinal and the Presbyteral Council at the meeting on November 4 along with the name that has the second highest vote total. The Cardinal and the Council will then vote to either approve or object to the first name presented by a show of hands. If the first name does not meet approval, the second name will be voted on. Once the name is approved, I will receive word and then be able to share and celebrate the newly chosen name for our joined community. Keep in mind that our building names never change, always St. Giles campus or St. Catherine-St. Lucy campus. The new name will identify our newly unified community of God’s beloved.

Some asked how many names were on the original list. I do not really know. However, the list presented to us had about 23 names to look over. I and the Unification Committee went through them and decided on six names. We chose three saints and three alternate names to cover the spectrum of suggestions. How did each sound; did it roll off the tongue; was it identifiable, was it relatable in some way. These names were then presented to you for your vote. This was the procedure followed by parishes before us and the path we choose to follow as well. I trust that the Holy Spirit has guided us and we will arrive at a new name to help identify who we are becoming.

Have a safe and good week ahead.

With you a Christian. For you a priest.

Father Carl Morello
Pastor of St. Catherine-St. Lucy and St. Giles Parish