5 Chicago-Area Catholic Schools Closing Due to Low Enrollment, Financial Difficulties

Schools aren’t the only ones being impacted. Several parishes will close and merge with other churches.

Five Chicago-area Catholic schools facing low enrollment and other financial issues will close at the end of this school year, affecting more than 600 students, the Archdiocese of Chicago said.

St. Cyprian School in River Grove, Holy Cross School in Deerfield, Incarnation School in Palos Heights, St. Michael School in Chicago and Our Lady of the Ridge School in Chicago Ridge are set to close, according to an Archdiocese announcement Wednesday night.

“We realize these closures have a difficult impact on families and are committed to working with them through this transition to find them the right next school for their children,” said Dr. Jim Rigg, superintendent of Catholic Schools, in a statement, adding, "We are dedicated to working with [school leaders] to secure future employment within the Archdiocesan school system.”

According to the Archdiocese, each school has enrollment of fewer than 200 students, which "has caused a strain on the school’s finances."

"The school is not able to cover its costs and has incurred an operating deficit," the Archdiocese said of St. Cyprian School and Holy Cross School.

As part of Cardinal Blase Cupich's revitalization initiative, Renew My Church, it was determined the schools could not make up for the low numbers of students and financial deficits for operating costs, though there was much effort by the schools to raise funds to stay open.

St. Cyprian raised $85,000, for example, but still fell short of the $500,000 needed. Incarnation raised $153,000, but it also fell short of the $600,000 needed to stay open.

Schools aren’t the only ones being impacted.

Several parishes will close and merge with other churches. St Ailbe in Calumet Heights will take in parishioners from two area parishes as part of the consolidation. St. Celestine in Elmwood Park and St. Cyprian in River Grove will form a new parish, but both churches will remain as active worship sites.

St. Ailbe will take in parishioners from St. Felicitas and St. Joachim. The new grouping is referred to as Stony Grove, which is on Chicago's South Side.

There will also be a new pastor selected to head the united parishes.

The leadership of the parishes affected have been meeting to discuss the future of their churches and schools.

The Archdiocese said decisions were made based on that feedback.

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