Welcome!

Dear Parishioners, Friends, Benefactors, and Online Visitors,

Please remember that without the regular collection the income of the parish has collapsed. I urge you to continue your generous support to us.

Por favor recuerden que durante la pandemia los ingresos de la parroquia se han desplomado. Les exhorto a que continúen con su generoso apoyo.

You are all in my prayers and I ask that you pray for me as well Our Lady of Charity Parish. May God Bless you all! 

Usted y su familia están en mis oraciones y les pido que también oren por mí y por nuestra Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de la Caridad. ¡Que Dios los bendiga a todos!

~Fr. Sergio Mena, Pastor  

 

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Our Lady of Charity

Parish Meeting

Sept. 2, 2021 in Halpin Hall

 

Principal Frank Zarate and Director of Operations, Becky Cornacchia, presented Renew My Church facts, scenarios, and answered parishioners’ questions. 

Mr. Zarate began by addressing the reason for Renew My Church with the following.

Fewer Catholics are attending Mass:

  • In the Archdiocese of Chicago, 27 % of Catholics are no longer attending mass. 
  • In October, 1990, 582,000 Catholics attended mass, and in 2018, 379,000 Catholics attended mass. 
  • In the U.S. two of five Catholics have not been confirmed, and 85% of Catholics who had been confirmed have stopped attending mass by the age of twenty-one.

Priest shortage:

  • Renew My Church is also needed because in 2019 there were 746 archdiocese of Chicago priests, and 244 of which were over the age of 70, the age when they may retire.

Mr. Zarate introduced Ms. Cornacchia who began first by addressing the Parents in attendance. There has been absolutely NO mention of either Our Lady of Charity or St. Leonard schools closing.  While of course there are no guarantees until the final announcement, both schools are in the 210-230 range, which is generally NOT considered in danger of closing.  

Given the statistics Mr. Zarate presented, our ultimate job is to bring more people to the faith. These declining statistics of Mass participants, Catholic Confirmands, and the overall priest shortage has demanded the Archdiocesan leadership seek a way to bring fallen away Catholics back to their faith and revitalize the church through outreach and evangelization.  This is the spiritual renewal portion of Renew My Church.  

However, structural renewal must come first for Parishes to have the tools and resources necessary to begin the outreach and evangelization efforts.  Many years of steadily declining statistics as previously mentioned have left many Parishes not viable either fiscally, and/or from a facilities perspective. 

By coming together as disciples of Jesus, a prayerful and realistic assessment of the viability of Our Lady of Charity and our neighbors and/or combinations of these Parishes can be discerned.  Representatives from each parish are now discussing five scenarios (possible ways the four parishes might be combined).  Your feedback is very important and definitely carries weight in this discernment process.  Ms. Cornacchia strongly stated there is no pre-determined result.  The Cardinal has not made this decision already as he awaits the recommendations of the RMC Grouping Team, including their rationale, to the Ecumenical Council and ultimately to the Cardinal, as Cardinal Cupich has the final decision.  The decision is expected to be announced in January, 2022, and the “new reality” (stand alone or forming of new parishes will begin in July, 2022. 

We must think about this process prayerfully and logically; let our heads direct our thinking, not our hearts; and be open to the Holy Spirit in this process.  It is very important that we be sure the changes we recommend are sustainable for the foreseeable future.  The goal of this process is to create viable parishes/parish-communities/community of people.  It’s not about the building where we attend Mass (although facilities need to be viable as well), it’s about what is best for the community as a whole-and that community includes the area of St. Mary of Czestochowa, Our Lady of Charity, St. Leonard, and St. Pius X.

We are in wave 5 of Renew My Church, which means many parishes have already gone through this process, and we can benefit from what they have learned. The RMC Grouping Team Members from all four parishes are now evaluating five possible scenarios with a possible sixth yet to be determined.  There will be one pastor for each parish, defined as the community of people, and a parish may consist of more than one church, defined as the buildings that resulted from this first structural renewal process.  Something to note is the pastor of Our Lady of Czestochowa is a Redemptorist priest whose immediate superior is the leader of the Redemptorists.  While there are some differences in worship style, Redemptorists follow the Roman Catholic teachings.  Our Lady of Czestochowa’s Pastor, as a Pastor of a Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Chicago, answers to Cardinal Cupich, although he also must first and foremost answer to his superiors in the order of Redemptorists.

Ms. Cornacchia then distributed a packet with the map and explanation of each scenario. After presenting each scenario and their respective potential strengths and weaknesses as observed by team members, questions were taken.  The following is a composition of questions as related to the scenarios:

Will there be one pastor? Yes.  However, we are not yet sure how St. Mary of Czestochowa will work considering the Redemptorist structuring.  We do know they are committed to the area and this process.

Why are we just hearing about this now? We are guided by the Archdioceasan RMC leaders and we are following their process.  We were specifically told to wait util we had more information available before we began these types of meetings so we were able to answer your questions as best as possible.  

Are the meetings of the four parishes in English?  Are the participants bilingual? Parish meetings are held in both English and Spanish and both groups are receiving the same information.  

How many students are enrolled at St. Leonard?  210   

How many students are enrolled at OLC?   231

Does OLC school get any outside financial help? Schools get a tax credit from the government. OLC has received more than St. Leonard. Both schools can get scholarship money from the archdiocese.   

Does the archdiocese consider OLC’s large parking lot and large field behind the rectory strengths of OLC?  Yes

Will the mass times change?  More than likely yes

Ms. Cornacchia polled those in attendance for their thoughts on the best scenario which resulted in a resounding Scenario 3 which is St. Leonard, St. Pius X and Our Lady of Charity combining. There were many concerns expressed with combining with St. Mary of Czestochowa.