Will remain open, in a process that has seen other Catholic parishes, schools closed
By Tim Hadac
Southwest Chicago Post
The Chicago Archdiocese has announced that St. Mary Star of the Sea and St. Turibius Parishes will remain open and separate, though they have been ordered to "commit to shared ministry efforts."
The announcement was made public via a press release sent out Thursday evening.
• St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish will continue to be staffed by a diocesan pastor, Father Roger Corrales-Diaz.
• St. Turibius Parish will continue to be staffed by an Augustinian pastor, Father Bill Lego, OSA.
• This structure will be reviewed every four years in alignment with the timeline of the Augustinians discerning their ministries.
The Augustinians are committed to St. Turibius Parish through June 30, 2026.
• St. Turibius Parish will continue to offer a Mass in Polish if the parish retains a Polish-speaking priest. Diocesan support for growing Polish ministry in this area will be focused on St. Faustina Kowalska and Saints Bruno and Richard Parish.
• St. Mary Star of the Sea School will remain open.
The plan is part of a larger Catholic Church downsizing across the city and suburbs known as Renew My Church.
The move was not entirely a surprise to parishioners. They had in recent months been part of a Renew My Church planning process that made it clear there could be changes.
The goal of Renew My Church, Archdiocesan officials say, is to “make disciples, build communities and inspire witness,” according to a statement.
Renew My Church is the Archdiocese of Chicago’s “response to Jesus Christ’s call and our invitation for renewal. Called by Jesus Christ, we are making disciples, building communities and inspiring witness. The Renew My Church process will transform the Archdiocese over the next several years by working with groupings of parishes to determine how they will achieve the goal of having vibrant, life-giving faith communities accessible to all Catholics.”
“Today, we face a trending crisis of faith,” the unnamed narrator of a Renew My Church video says. “Fewer people than ever are connected with organized religion. Many who identify as Catholic do not attend weekly Mass. Overall, we see an increase in signs of a broken world. As a result of this crisis, we find ourselves with less people and financial resources for ministry.”
Despite the crisis, the video offers a confident and optimistic view of the future.
“We are a strong and committed church that will work together to overcome the challenges we face today and in the centuries to come,” the narrator adds. Through the Renew My Church initiative, the Archdiocese “will recommit our local church to the Gospel commission to make disciples, build vital communities of faith and inspire witness to bring the light and hope of Christ to a world in need.”
After the first video, Archdiocesan officials released another Renew My Church video—seemingly in response to pushback they have received from some Catholics skeptical of the process.
Entitled “Trust the Process,” the video includes an exhortation by Karen Moretti, a suburban Catholic and member of the new St. Mother Theodore Guerin Parish—a result of the Renew My Church consolidation of parishes in River Grove and Elmwood Park.
“Keep the vision alive, because it will be difficult when you’re going through your [Renew My Church] groupings,” Moretti said. “If you keep the vision, you’ll realize that what you give up now will be for a much greater future. It’s kind of like taking a bad-tasting medicine and then feeling a lot better later.”
Like most Catholic parishes in the U.S., those in the Midway area have suffered in recent decades from declining Mass attendance, financial contributions and numbers of priests available to administer sacraments.
Catholic parishes and schools across the area have been ordered consolidated or closed in recent years.
Several examples are the consolidation of St. Bede, St. Denis and St. Thomas More; of St. Adrian and Queen of the Universe; St. Symphorosa and St. Rene Goupil, St. Joseph and St. Blase, St. Camillus and St. Jane de Chantal, St. Richard and St. Bruno, St. Rita and St. Clare of Montefalco, and St. Gall and St. Simon. Most of those parishes had schools that have been ordered closed by several Cardinals.
Such mergers are not new. Decades ago on the Southwest Side, Archdiocesan officials consolidated parishes in West Englewood. St. Justin Martyr, St. Mary of Mount Carmel, St. Theodore and others were either merged or closed.
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