Fr. Carl – St. Giles & Ascension Parishes

Dear Saint Giles Community,

I write this on Pentecost Sunday, aware of all the destruction and violence taking place since the horrific death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last Monday. I pray for the great power of the Holy Spirit to help peace to prevail over the anger, hurt and hopelessness that many are feeling during these difficult days. People must be allowed to express themselves peacefully without fear of violent response of others. The demands for justice must be met with peace, or the chaos will continue. The challenges before us now need more than prayer, but for individuals to put true leadership that is most needed into action.

On this Feast of Pentecost, I also want to share some news with you, trusting that the wisdom of the Holy Spirit is leading the Oak Park Catholic Communities of Saint Giles and Ascension Parish in a new direction. Last week, I received a phone call from Bishop John Manz, who oversees our Vicariate, on behalf of Cardinal Cupich. While keeping my duties as Pastor here at Saint Giles, I have been asked to also serve as the Administrator at Ascension Parish. Fr. Jim Hurlbert, the present Pastor at Ascension, will be leaving July 1st for a new assignment. In addition to my new role as Administrator, a new Associate Pastor has been assigned to Ascension to lead the day-to-day operations of the parish, Fr. Rex Pillai. Currently, Fr. Pillai has served for the past seven years with distinction as both Associate Pastor and Administrator at Saint Clement Parish in Lincoln Park.

I know this is not the traditional parish leadership arrangement and you are wondering why I am being asked to do this. The idea behind this particular path was developed by the Priests’ Placement Board and Bishop Manz with his Vicariate team in collaboration with the Archdiocesan Renew My Church team. Of course, all this is approved of by Cardinal Cupich. There are many details that will still need to be worked out over the course of time. Parish staff and leadership from both communities will play a vital role in developing this idea moving forward. We all need to remember that we cannot underestimate the power and courage of the Holy Spirit, desperately needed these days, for the many challenges that our world and our church are facing.

In the spring of 2022, perhaps sooner, our Oak Park Parish “groupings” will begin the Renew My Church Process. This decision now will help us better prepare for discussions regarding collaboration and sharing among our ministries and the services offered to Catholics living in Oak Park. I promise to keep you posted, and I ask for your prayers for all Parishes and communities, Associates and Pastors undergoing transitions at this time. Let us also hold in prayer all those suffering from the chaos and violence swirling around us. Come Holy Spirit, breathe into all calm and the desire for peace!

Blessings to all,
Fr. Carl Morello