Archdiocese delays decision on possible merger of Jefferson-Portage-Irving Park churches
by BRIAN NADIG
Parishioners at seven Catholic parishes in the communities of Jefferson Park, Portage Park and Old Irving Park will have to wait at least another month to find out if their church will remain open.
A decision was expected by mid-November but will now “likely” be made in December, according to the Archdiocese of Chicago.
The seven parishes have been divided into two groupings under the archdiocese’s “Renew My Church” consolidation process, and within each grouping, some of the parishes are expected to be merged, leading to the possible closing of some church campuses.
However, there are reports that one of the parishes may be moved into a different grouping, delaying the decision.
One of the groupings consists of Our Lady of the Victory, Saint Pascal, Saint Robert Bellarmine and Saint Constance, while the other grouping consists of Saint Bartholomew, Saint Viator and Saint Wenceslaus. Some parishioners have said that the archdiocese is looking at moving Saint Bartholomew, which has a Spanish Mass, into the other grouping, but no official announcement had been made.
Under some of the consolidation scenarios released last summer by the archdiocese, Saint Constance would remain open with a focus on Polish ministries.
Last year the archdiocese merged Saint Thecla, Saint Tarcissus and Saint Cornelius into the new Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity Parish, which is based on the former Saint Tarcissus campus near Milwaukee and Ardmore avenues.
The archdiocese has been consolidating parishes in part due to declining attendance at Mass, reduced school enrollment and a shortage of priests. a