Chicago Archdiocese to Merge Parishes, Close School and Church

The reorganization is the latest step in the "Renew My Church" initiative announced in 2016

The Archdiocese of Chicago will close one school and one church, as well as merge various parishes in the latest step of its major "Renew My Church" overhaul sparked by a shortage of priests and financial concerns.

The Archdiocese announced the next steps of the reorganization process in a statement on Saturday, saying the decisions were reached after discussions among each impacted parish's leadership. 

In Westchester, the Divine Infant Jesus Parish and Divine Providence Parish will merge into one parish by the end of June 2019, the Archdiocese said. 

The Divine Infant Jesus School will close, according to the statement from the Archdiocese, due to declining enrollment and financial pressures.

The St. Louise de Marillac Parish and School in LaGrange Park will merge with St. Barbara Parish in Brookfield, the Archdiocese said.

Our Lady of Loretto Parish in Hometown will also merge with St. Germaine Parish and School in Oak Lawn, according to the Archdiocese, with Our Lady of Loretta Church slated to close.

Church officials also examined parishes in Chicago's Lincoln Park and Old Town neighborhoods, which include St. Josaphat Parish and School, St. Michael Parish, St. Teresa Avila Parish, St. Vincent De Paul Parish and Immaculate Conception St. Joseph School. The Archdiocese said there will be no structural changes to any of the parishes in that grouping.

These mergers and closings are the latest step in the "Renew My Church" initiative that Cardinal Blase Cupich announced in February 2016, citing decreasing Mass attendance, financial problems and buildings in need of repair as some of the challenges facing the Catholic Church that ultimately spurred the overhaul.

With only 240 priests estimated to be available by the year 2030, and 351 parishes across the city, the Archdiocese began to formulate a plan to consolidate.

The reorganization process is expected to take years, and Chicago priests were told in 2016 that the Archdiocese may close anywhere between 80 to 100 parishes.

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