Parish merger to be unveiled
by BRIAN NADIG
Plans to merge Saint Cornelius, Saint Tarcissus and Saint Thecla parishes may result in the closing of at least one of the churches along with the consolidation of the Saint Thecla School and the north campus of the Pope Francis Global Academy into one building.
In a recent church bulletin, Saint Tarcissus pastor Mike Grisolano wrote that parish members should be prepared for these apparent changes when the Archdiocese of Chicago announces details of the configuration plan at a meeting at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8, at the Saint Thecla Church, 6725 W. Devon Ave.
"From the feedback I’ve heard from both the people and RMC (Renew My Church) leadership, it seems unlikely that the three-church site model (scenario one) would be viable or make sense. Furthermore, it seems most likely that the school site will be totally at one campus, not two sites with lower and upper grades.
"What that means is that the status quo is guaranteed to be shaken up structurally by this process. This has already happened with the closing of the Saint Cornelius and OLV schools a few years ago but now it will happen on the church/parish side as well," Grisolano wrote.
The three parishes will be merged into one new parish effective July 1, 2020, as part of the archdiocese’s "Renew My Church" initiatives to address the downward trend of church and school attendance throughout Chicago’s parishes, the bulletin said. Several other Northwest Side parishes will be going through a similar consolidation process next year.
The archdiocese has been looking at six scenarios for the consolidation of Saint Cornelius, Saint Tarcissus and Saint Thecla, including the possibility of all three parish campuses and their churches remaining open but becoming part of a single, newly named parish with one pastor. Other scenarios included closing one or two of the campuses, including their churches.
"We don’t know how much structural change is coming, but something is coming, and I am convinced that the Lord wants to bring good out of it," Grisolano said.
In a recent Saint Cornelius bulletin, Father Dan Fallon wrote that the archdiocese will provide an explanation of its decision at the Nov. 8 meeting but that the decision "will not be open to discussion or debate; it is final."