St. Monica, St. Rosalie parishes to unite; St. Eugene, Our Lady Mother, Divine Savior also merging as Divine Savior campus expected to close
by JASON MEREL
Saint Monica and Saint Rosalie parishes will combine into one, and Saint Eugene, Our Lady Mother of the Church and Divine Savior parishes will merge into another beginning July 1 under a “Renew My Church” plan announced by the Archdiocese of Chicago on Jan. 26.
The decision was announced at a virtual meeting for the parish grouping for Chicago-Harwood Heights and Norridge. Father Jason Malave, Cardinal Blase Cupich’s liaison for the “Renew My Church” initiative led the meeting and answered questions posted in the comment section.
A release from the archdiocese said that the viability of continuing two church sites in each united parish will be reviewed on an ongoing basis as part of the regular review process between parish leadership and the episcopal vicar and his team.
Saint Monica Church, 5136 N Nottingham Ave., and Saint Rosalie Church, 6750 W. Montrose Ave., Harwood Heights, will continue to hold regular Masses, but the combined parish will have one pastor and one pastoral team.
The Reverend Greg Lorens will serve as pastor of the new parish and Saint Monica will serve as the parish church where the united parish’s sacramental records will be kept, the archdiocese said in a press release. Saint Monica Academy, 5115 N. Mont Clare Ave., will remain the parish-governed school.
Lorens will determine Mass schedules in consultation with parish leadership, according to the archdiocese. The local community will determine three to five possible names for the new permanent parish, within guidelines provided by the archdiocese, and both churches will retain their names.
The other parish that will be formed from Saint Eugene, Divine Savior and Our Lady Mother of the Church will have one pastor and one pastoral team.
Saint Eugene Church, 7958 W. Foster Ave., and Our Lady Mother of the Church, 8747 W. Lawrence Ave., will continue to hold regular Masses and the pastor will determine Mass schedules.
Under the plan, Divine Savior Church, 7740 W. Montrose Ave., Harwood Heights, will need to end holding Masses between Aug. 1 and Sept. 5, the archdiocese announced.
The Archdiocese of Chicago announced that the Priest Placement Board will “continue its discernment to recommend a pastor for the newly unified parish and will share more information when it is available.”
Saint Eugene will serve as the parish church where the united sacramental records will be kept and Saint Eugene School will remain as the parish-governed school.
The local community will determine possible names for the new permanent parish.
Several comments expressed frustration with the decision, while others asked questions about why the decisions were made and when a decision on the new pastor of the Saint Eugene, Divine Savior and Our Lady Mother of the Church parish will be announced.
“You are not building new community,” one anonymous comment said. “You are destroying the Catholic community.”
Several parishioners and the current pastor of Saint Rosalie said the parish has grown during the pandemic and asked why their parish was being combined with Saint Monica.
An anonymous comment said, “It seems that the very robust Catholic Polish community is about to lose out once again a center for worship and priests who have been working with this group by providing Sacraments and spiritual guidance.”
Malave said the cardinal’s vision is for vitality. “But first we need a strong structure,” he said.
“We can only go forward in spirit and truth together,” Malave said. “As our Catholic Church has so often been described, we are a family of families.”