Merging scenarios indicate St Pascal, St Constance likely to stay open; OLV could close under several scenarios
by BRIAN NADIG
The “Renew My Church” consolidation scenarios being discussed for four Jefferson-Portage Park parishes indicate that Saint Constance Church would remain open for Polish ministries and that Our Lady of Victory Church would close under several of the scenarios.
In addition, Saint Pascal Church appears likely to remain open under the scenarios, while the future of Saint Robert Bellarmine Church is not as clear, but under many of the scenarios it would remain open.
It also is possible that Saint Robert Bellarmine School, Saint Constance School and Pope Francis Global Academy (located at Saint Pascal) could each remain open as long as each remains financially sustainable, but one proposal call for Saint Robert and the academy to merge, operating either on one or two campuses.
The Archdiocese of Chicago released what it describes as an “initial” list of merging scenarios for the four parishes on Sunday, Aug. 30 but cautions that no decision has been made and that the scenarios are “conversation starters.” Each parish will be collecting feedback from parishioners over the next few weeks, and Cardinal Blasé Cupich is expected to make a decision in November.
At the recommendation of the Archdiocesan Polish Council, Saint Constance would reman open for Polish Mass and ministries, with a focus on engaging Polish youth. The Polish Mass at Saint Pascal would stop under this recommendation. Saint Constance has a long history of serving the Polish community on the Northwest Side.
A total of five scenarios were announced, and at least one church would close under each scenario, with no more than two closing in any of the scenarios. Based on figures from last October, only Our Lady of Victory does not meet the archdiocese’s weekend threshold of at least 800 Mass attendees. Saint Constance had a weekend average of 2,164, the highest of the four churches.
The scenarios are as follows:
Scenario 1: 2 parishes, 3 churches total
Parish 1: St. Pascal and Our Lady of Victory unite to form a new parish. St. Pascal is the location for all regularly scheduled Masses within a united parish formed by St. Pascal and OLV. OLV Church moves toward formal closure.
Parish 2: St. Constance and St. Robert Bellarmine (SRB) unite to form a new parish. Both churches continue to have regularly scheduled Sunday Mass.
Scenario 2: 2 parishes, 2 churches total
Parish 1: St. Constance and Our Lady of Victory unite to form a new parish. St. Constance is the location for all regularly scheduled Masses within a united parish formed by St. Constance and OLV. OLV Church moves toward formal closure.
Parish 2: St. Pascal and St. Robert Bellarmine unite to form a new parish. One of the two churches is the location for all regularly scheduled Masses within the parish. The other church may either remain open for occasional liturgies (e.g., funerals, special Masses) or move toward formal closure.
Scenario 3: 2 parishes; 3 churches total
Parish 1: St. Constance, OLV, and SRB unite to form a new parish. Two of the 3 churches continue to host a regular Sunday Mass schedule. The other church does not have any regularly scheduled Masses and moves toward formal closure.
Parish 2: St. Pascal Parish remains its own parish.
Scenario 4: 2 parishes; 3 churches
Parish 1: St. Constance remains its own parish and receives responsibility for the territory north of Lawrence / Gunnison to the Expressway.
Parish 2: Our Lady of Victory, St. Pascal and St. Robert Bellarmine unite to form a new parish. Two of the 3 churches continue to host a regular Sunday Mass schedule. The other church does not have any regularly scheduled Masses and moves toward formal closure.
Scenario 5: All four parishes unite as 1 new parish with 2 or 3 churches with a regular schedule of Sunday Masses. Significant concerns exist about the manageability of a one parish scenario, according to the archdiocese.