Archdiocese places parishes in groupings in effort to make them more sustainable

by BRIAN NADIG

The Archdiocese of Chicago is assigning parishes to groupings in which they will share personnel, ministries and programming as part of the “Renew My Church” initiative.

Archbishop of Chicago Cardinal Blasé Cupich started the initiative a year ago in an effort to make parishes more sustainable.

“The place to start is by working together to make our parishes vibrant communities that form missionary disciples of Jesus,” Cupich said in a recent statement. “This will also mean being realistic about our limited human and material resources and evaluating how our present structures may need to be organized differently to keep pace with changing realities.”

In a recent Saint Tarcissus Parish bulletin,  the Reverend Mike Solazzo, parish pastor, wrote the following: “We all see a decrease in priest personnel, contributions and volunteers. All of our parishes are aging, and younger families and individuals are less visible in parish life, including Sunday worship.

“This is a phenomenon happening all across the archdiocese, and I suspect, across the country. The increasing secularization of our society is a realty we live with. Yet we must find a way to counteract it.”

Solazzo later added, “Our of the goals of ‘Renew My Church’ is to see ourselves less as parish and more as church.”

Area parish groupings include the following:

Queen of All Saints, Saint Mary of the Woods and Saint Juliana;

Our Lady of Victory, Korean Martyrs Catholic Mission, Saint Constance, Saint Robert Bellarmine and Saint Pascal;

Saint Tarcissus, Saint Cornelius and Saint Monica;

Saint Thecla, Immaculate Conception and Saint Eugene;

Saint Edward, Resurrection, Saint Andrew, Saint Benedict and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

“Parishes can no longer stand as isolated islands unto themselves. They will need to reach out to other parishes around them and find ways to strengthen their mission vitality. Sharing ideas, resources and personnel is a good beginning,” Solazzo said. Plans have been announced for Saint Tarcissus and Saint Cornelius to hold a joint “Lenten Parish Mission” on March 19-21.

“’Renew My Church’ calls us to collaborate with parishes and schools in our community to reach across parish boundaries to creatively engage our broader family of faith.,” the Reverend Mike Cronin, pastor of Saint Edward Parish, said in a church bulletin.

In other news, Solazzo recently announced that he will not be seeking a second term as the pastor of Saint Tarcissus. “With only 3 years left in my ministry before I retire, I am choosing not to renew for a second term. Each term for pastors is 6 years. Since I do not have another 6 years to give, I will be moving on to a new assignment as of July 1st,” he said.

The archdiocese held a town hall meeting on Jan. 17 at Saint Tarcissus to gather input on the type pastor pastor members are seeking.





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