Renew My Church

Jesus Christ calls us to constantly renew His Church. Renew My Church is the Archdiocese of Chicago’s response to His call and our invitation for renewal. Called by Jesus Christ we are making disciples, building communities and inspiring witness. Renew My Church  fosters belonging, particularly among young people, and invites them to have a true encounter and relationship with Jesus Christ. Renew My Church  supports vibrant parishes and schools that cultivate bonds with each other and provoke active participation in His Church. Renew My Church  asks us to come together in solidarity and spread the light and hope of Jesus Christ in order to transform the world. – CLICK HERE for more information in the Archdiocese Website.

Through the new parish structure, St. Celestine and St. Cyprian Parishes will unite their resources to create a vital, life-giving parish with two worship sites and a strong school. With this viable structure in place, the new parish, in collaboration with St. William, will work on new ways to implement the Renew My Church  vision: to make disciples, build communities and inspire witness.

Combined Parish Name and Mass Schedule – AS OF JUNE 30, 2018


The new name of our combined parish will be St. Mother Theodore Guerin Parish with St. Cyprian and St. Celestine churches and St. Celestine school.

St. Celestine Worship Site in Elmwood Park – 3020 North 76th Court in Elmwood Park, Illinois

  • Saturday at 5:30 PM
  • Sunday at 7:30 AM, 10:30 AM, and 4:30 PM
  • Weekdays – Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at 8 AM
  • Confessions on Saturday from 4:45 to 5:15 PM

St. Cyprian Worship Site in River Grove – 2601 Clinton in River Grove, Illinois

  • Saturday at 4 PM
  • Sunday at 9 AM and 11:30 AM
  • Weekdays – Tuesday and Saturday at 8 AM (Mass) and Thursday 8 AM (Communion Service)
  • Confessions on Saturday from 8:30 to 9 AM

New Birth and a New Name – Both Spring and our Easter season are marked by birth and rebirth, both of which are apt descriptions of what God is giving us as the parishes and faith communities of St. Cyprian and St. Celestine unite to form a new, larger Christian family.

The Church has called our new community to give voice to a new parish name. It is a wonderful way in which we, once again, are invited to cooperate with the Holy Spirit… to listen to Him within our hearts and respond to His grace with joy and humility.

After many months of discussion, discernment, and prayer, I am happy to share that the name of our newly combined parish will be St. Mother Theodore Guerin, beginning July 1, 2018.

The name of St. Mother Theodore Guerin reflects the meaningful significance for River Grove and Elmwood Park. Guerin Prep High School, named after her, educates students from both St. Cyprian and St. Celestine.

It is important to remember that the names of our churches do not disappear. We will continue to hold up and embrace the names of St. Cyprian and St. Celestine retaining all the devotion and heritage that comes with it. These names are important to all of us, to our local community, to the bishops and Cardinal Archbishop Cupich, and to the faithful of the entire Archdiocese.

You may still ask: Why does the parish need a new name if the names of our church buildings do not change? Our combined parish family has a new name to celebrate the new life in Christ we share, and our specific churches retain their names to celebrate and honor the history and life of our communities and the prior generations that built these churches. Just as each person is baptized and consecrated to our Lord by name, so too are church buildings – hallowed ground where we meet our God in His Sacraments – consecrated in a name. And while our churches will always be known as St. Cyprian and St. Celestine, which will never change, our new parish community served by a larger geographic area will be known as St. Mother Theodore Guerin.

Throughout history, when God bestows a new name on someone it is always as part of a new mission. The parish of St. Mother Theodore Guerin has a mission: we are to make disciples, build community and inspire witness to strengthen and grow our faith communities in new, creative ways.

The Lord reminds us… See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? – Isaiah 43:19

Appointment of the Pastor of the New Parish – March 11, 2018


Since the decision to unite with our fellow Catholic brothers and sisters to form a new parish, a big question has been, “Who will be the pastor of the new parish?”

Cardinal Cupich is pleased to announce the appointment of Fr. Paul Cao as pastor of the new parish beginning July 1, 2018. Fr. Paul is currently the pastor of St. Celestine parish and knows the surrounding parishes and communities well.

The Cardinal, the entire Renew My Church  team, and I are excited to see the future of our parish under Fr. Paul’s pastoral care. This is a special time in the life of our Church, and I ask that you continue to pray for me, for Fr. Paul, and all of our priests in the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Rev. Jason MalaveCardinal’s liaison for Renew My Church

From the Archdiocese of Chicago Renew My Church Update and Next Steps – March 4, 2018


WHAT’S IN A NAME?

See, I am doing something new!
Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
Isaiah 43:19

Our Lord is at work in a special way within our parish community and He is creating something new for all of us. As we move forward in the Renew My Church  process, part of this work is identifying a name for the new parish we are forming with St. Cyprian. This is an opportunity to look forward with a new beginning and, as such, step forward together with a new name that reflects the faith, hope and love of the entire, new and larger community. We have a group that will help lead this process, and are gathering suggestions. We invite everyone in our parish to participate in this process – recognizing that there are canonical (Church) rules around what is allowable. Cardinal Cupich makes the final decision on the parish name.

It is important to know that individual churches, the specific the worship sites coming together, retain their names. So, what would that look and sound like? An example could be “St. John the Baptist Church of All Saints parish.” A few more words than we are used to, for sure. But the beauty in this is the fact that the beloved names of the churches and sites remain, while we all get to contribute to the naming of our new, collective parish community.

In scripture, when God bestows a new name on someone it is always as part of a new mission – a new work that He has in mind for that person to build up His kingdom. The following passage from Isaiah is a wonderful reminder of the importance of a name and that God is faithful and will be with us as we move forward in this journey:

But now says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name. You are mine. Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you… Fear not, for I am with you.”  – Isaiah 43: 1, 4, 5

The process of renewal is an emotional one. For many of us, it is a time of significant change. The naming of a new parish is just one piece, with more new beginnings to come, such as the assignment of new pastors for newly formed parishes. We will touch upon that subject and process in a future message.

For now, let us continue to trust in the Lord and prayerfully discern possibilities for our new parish name. The team spearheading this effort will continue to keep everyone apprised of the process and developments. And know that, ultimately, we belong to Christ and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit we will be renamed in love just as Simon was when Jesus gave him the new name of Peter.

Sincerely,
Rev. Paul CaoPastor, St. Celestine
Rev. Jason Malave – Cardinal’s liaison for Renew My Church

Letter from the Pastor of St. Celestine – February 25, 2018


Dear Parishioners and Friends,

Name for our new parish – On February 17-18, you received a bulletin insert explaining the process for naming the combined parish of St. Celestine and St. Cyprian. The Grouping Team has suggested six possible names for our new combined parish.

  1. St. Celestine–St. Cyprian: This name retains the two original names of the parishes and is in alphabetical order.
  2. St. Cyprian–St. Celestine: This name retains the two original names of the parishes. Since St. Cyprian has the longer history, its name is first out of respect.
  3. Our Lady of Elm Grove: We honor Mary as the mother of Jesus and claim her as our own mother. Since our parish spans Elmwood Park and River Grove, we combine these to create Elm Grove.
  4. St. John XXIII: St. John XXIII called forth the Vatican II Council to “open the windows” of renewal in the church. Our parish is now at a time of renewal.
  5. St. Augustine: St. Augustine was the son of St. Monica who notably prayed for his conversion. The use of this name calls us to conversion and renewal of faith as disciples of Jesus.
  6. Annunciation: Mary said “yes” to the will of God. We follow her witness as we willingly journey together as one parish.

At all of the masses on March 3 and 4, we will engage in a selection process whereby each person will prayerfully select three names for our parish. The Grouping Teams will then meet on March 15 to write a letter to Cardinal Cupich submitting to him our top three choices and the reasons these names represent our parish. The Cardinal will then choose a name for our parish.

I ask you to please continue to pray for a smooth transition and for the success of Renew My Church.

In prayer,
Fr. Paul Cao

Letter from the Pastor of St. Celestine and Cardinal’s Liaison for Renew My Church – February 18, 2018


Dear Parishioners and Friends,

As you know, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Cardinal Cupich and the Archdiocesan leadership team are guiding our area parishes through the Renew My Church  movement with incredible support and input provided by many of our own parishioners along the way. Thank you for your participation in the process so far!

What’s Next for Renew My Church?

Now that the specific decision concerning our grouping has been shared, the next effort will focus on supporting all that needs to occur during the transition. A dedicated team from the Archdiocese will provide our grouping with hands–on assistance to ensure the most effective and positive implementation of any necessary changes, such as financial and facilities planning.

As first next steps:

  • Members of the Archdiocesan team will be on–site in February and March to introduce themselves, provide an overview of the support process, and gather feedback from staff.
  • Specific and meaningful guidance will be provided regarding the parish naming process. Recognizing the emotional and personal nature of this – we are, in fact, seeing the birth of a new, unified parish community – there are very helpful steps that the Church provides.
  • Opportunities for parish–wide prayer and liturgies, reflection, and sharing across the grouping will be made available in the coming months.

All of the forthcoming activities to evaluate, integrate and adjust how our parish moves forward are essential to lay a solid foundation for building the future of our community in union with our Catholic brothers and sisters within the grouping.

Where We’re Going – Why We Need Renew My Church

It is important to keep reminding ourselves why this is so important to our parish, our families, and our own faith lives. Look around and what do you see? Fewer and fewer people attending mass. An alarming number of people choosing to reject any religious affiliation. A broken world that doesn’t even know it’s broken.

  1. Christ is calling us to follow Him more closely and seek out His lost sheep. As Catholics baptized into the life and love of God we are called – even commissioned – to discern our part in making disciples. What do we need to do to ensure we are not the last Catholics in our family? How do we practically evangelize the next generation and foster an increase in vocations?
  2. Stretched resources have challenged parish vibrancy; even parishes with abundant resources struggle to engage youth and young adults. Christ is calling us to discern what parish and school vitality means in today’s world and to build communities. How do we work together, across parishes and throughout the Archdiocese, to strengthen each other today and create Catholic communities that are sustainable for the future?
  3. As Christians, we bear Christ light and hope in the world. As Christ moved among the people, Pope Francis implores us to go out to the world and to those on the margins. Christ is calling us to discern what it means to inspire witness today. How can we work together to inspire a world that seems numb to the wonders of God?

We Are a People of Great Faith and Hope

With any discernment process comes an element of change and self–giving infused with great hope knowing that what our Lord Jesus Christ has in store for us is so much bigger than what we could imagine for ourselves. He reminds us in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you … plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.” For our own grouping, the future will be strong and vibrant for the current generation, as well as many more to come. And a vibrant future is only possible with your continued and active support in taking the wonderful legacy of our parish into a new future within our new, larger parish community.

I am excited and eager to see the fruits of this work come to life. At the same time, I am fully aware of how difficult this change will feel for all of us. For many of us, you can’t get much more personal than how, where, and when we practice our faith and encounter Christ in the sacraments. Fortunately, Jesus Christ, our faithful Shepherd, teaches us that “with God all things are possible.” We will truly marvel at His handiwork in the Renew My Church movement. Please continue to pray for a successful transition – one that will lead to greater discipleship, community and witness for our parish and across the Archdiocese. This is certainly a time of growth and renewal, and though change can be difficult, our God has a wonderful plan in store for all of us.

Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Rev. Paul Cao – Pastor, St. Celestine Parish
Rev. Jason Malave – Cardinal’s liaison for Renew My Church

Renew My Church Phase 4 Kickoff Frequently Asked Questions – February 2018


What does it mean for us to become one parish with multiple active worship sites?

Uniting as one parish means bringing all that we are and hope to be together as one Catholic community. Our gifts, our talents, our hopes, our prayers, our needs … they are all shared to the benefit and vitality of the entire, unified parish community led by one pastor. Mass and the sacraments will continue to be celebrated regularly at each individual church (future adjustments to mass and/or confession times are a possibility and will be clarified and communicated in advance of any changes taking effect).

The congregations of each location will now have the benefit and resources to work together on new ways to implement the Renew My Church  vision: to make disciples, build communities and inspire witness.

What does it mean to be an active worship site?

Worship sites are churches where regular Mass will continue to be celebrated as part of the combined parish. Future adjustments to mass and/or confession times are a possibility and will be clarified and communicated in advance of any changes taking effect.

What will be the name of the new parish? What happens with our parish name?

This is an opportunity to look forward with a new beginning and, as such, step forward together with a new name that reflects the faith, hope and love of the entire community. The new parish community can propose possibilities for the new name. Cardinal Cupich makes the final decision on the parish name.

The specific churches of the uniting parishes will keep the names they received at their dedication. Nonetheless, if there is a good reason, the good of the faithful allows the archbishop to grant a dispensation (that is, he may allow a change of name for a remaining church). If a change of name is desired, the community may request such a dispensation from Cardinal Cupich.

Why do we need structural changes like closings and mergers to Renew My Church?

As we have begun to see through the recent decisions concerning the first set of parish groupings, there is no cookie-cutter approach to how the Holy Spirit will lead our Archdiocesan-wide Renew My Church  movement. Some parishes will see structural changes, and some will not. But all are being called to renewal, which will take shape in many forms. In those instances in which parish and/or school structural changes do occur, there are many factors that lead to those thoughtful and forward-looking decisions (e.g., changing demographics, the conditions and affordability of our buildings and our resources). Any changes are intended to establish a more secure and sustainable foundation for ministerial renewal and vitality. As an Archdiocese we are called to make disciples, build communities and inspire witness, and our starting point to do so is prayer – prayer for the wisdom and humility to be good stewards of what God provides today so that we may sow an abundant harvest for generations to come.

What happens with parishes that are not joining with another parish? Are they unaffected?

For parishes that will not experience structural changes, such as closings or unifications, the next steps for those communities will focus on the very catalyst for this Archdiocesan-wide Renew My Church  movement: making disciples, building community, and inspiring witness. Much more will be shared in the coming months about how we will bring this vision to life in our own parish and for the benefit of the entire Archdiocese. All of our parishes, regardless of decisions, are responding to the call of Jesus Christ to renew His Church in the Chicago Archdiocese, and will do so by: evangelizing and forming new and existing Catholics in the faith; increasing vocations; improving leadership development and support; increasing parish and Catholic school mission vitality; and, building solidarity.

How and when will the pastor be selected?

The Archdiocese’s Priest Placement Board is working to identify a pastor whose gifts and skills will fit well with the particular needs of the new community. The Board will propose a candidate for Cardinal Cupich who will make the final appointment decision.

Pastors are generally expected to be named in mid-March; however, it is possible that some placement assignments will take more time to complete.

All priests across the archdiocese, including the current pastors, may apply to become pastor of the new parish.

What will happen with Mass times?

Mass times will be reviewed in a manner that is both in the interest of the parishioners as well as the schedule of the local pastor and available priests. It is the goal to review the schedule of Mass times and adjust, as necessary, to support a new Mass schedule on the weekend after the start of the pastor’s assignment on July 1st.

Will our parish organizations merge? What will combine and what won’t?

For parishes that are combining and unifying, some elements will necessarily merge, such as finance, operations, human resources and facilities management. Regarding parish ministries, how those groups work together and strengthen each other will be addressed by the pastor, with support from the Archdiocese, during integration of the new parish community.

Now that the decision has been shared, what will happen next?

An Archdiocesan operations team will support parishes undergoing reorganization. This team will work with parish staff during the transition to help set up new parish structures including financial planning and facilities management. In the weeks ahead, this team will work to schedule a meeting to introduce the support team and provide an overview of the transition schedule.

What happens with our current funds?

As we unite to form one parish, our assets will come together under the new parish. The new parish will have one budget and one Finance Council to serve our entire community. A dedicated Archdiocesan Finance Manager will support the financial planning aspects of reorganizing a new parish, which will likely include setting up new bank accounts and financial accounting systems. The Archdiocesan operations team will support the best practices in financial management, which can be found on our Financial Services page.

What will happen with our To Teach Who Christ Is (TTWCI) funds?

When a parish is impacted by a structural change after conducting To Teach Who Christ Is, the parish portion (60%) of campaign gifts received, along with all other parish assets, will transfer to the receiving parish. For example, if St. Mary Parish and St. John Parish unite to form one new parish, all assets of St. Mary and St. John, including all campaign gifts, become the assets of the newly formed parish.

As each payment is received, the 40% allocated to Archdiocesan-sharing funds are used and, therefore, cannot be refunded. As parishioner contributions are made, the 60% parish-level funds are deposited into a parish savings account and are used as approvals for projects are granted. It is up to the local pastor to determine if local parish funds are available to be refunded to a donor. If funds are returned, an IRS 1099 Form will also be issued since the return of contributed funds is deemed by the IRS as a taxable income event.

Letter from Cardinal Blase J. Cupich – January 24, 2018


Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

This letter begins with a word of thanks to all who have participated in the Elmwood Park Grouping for Renew My Church. In your encounters you learned more about each other and listened to Jesus’ call for a kind of renewal that involves making disciples, building communities and inspiring witness.

These are the aims of Renew My Church, with the goal of fostering a greater sense of belonging, especially among our young people, with the hope of achieving vibrant and sustainable parishes and schools that are life-giving and which form existing and new members. In a word, Renew My Church  asks us to come together in solidarity and bring the light and hope of Jesus Christ to a world in need.

You have undertaken the task of reviewing the structures of your area with an eye to determining the best way to organize your efforts for greater ministerial vitality supported by increased financial stability.

Having studied the report based on months of your review, discussions, feedback, and discernment, regarding the future church, parish and school structures for your area, I am affirming the decision that St. Celestine and St. Cyprian Parishes will unite to form a new parish, effective July 1, 2018, retaining both churches as active worship sites of the new parish. St. William Parish will continue in its current parish structure, with a full-time resident pastor. St. Celestine School will continue, now as a ministry of the newly united parish. St. William School will continue as a ministry of St. William Parish, with annual enrollment and financial benchmarks established to ensure sustainability into the future. St. Cyprian School, which has faced low enrollment and financial difficulties in recent years, will unfortunately close at the end of this school year.

We realize this is difficult for impacted families, faculty and staff at St. Cyprian School. We are committed to working with them on their journey to find the right new school for students and new employment for faculty and staff.

Through the new parish structure, St. Celestine and St. Cyprian Parishes will unite their resources to create a vital, life-giving parish with two worship sites and a strong school. With this viable structure in place, the new parish, in collaboration with St. William, will work on new ways to implement the Renew My Church  vision.

Over the next few months, as part of the next phase of Renew My Church, the Archdiocese will work with all involved to ensure an orderly and smooth transition to these structural changes. Your cooperation with the implementation phase is appreciated.

Again, I thank you for your work, time, and dedication throughout this process. You are in my prayers, and I ask you to keep me in yours.

Wishing you every blessing, with kind regards I remain,

Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Cardinal Blase J. Cupich – Archbishop of Chicago

Renew My Church: Elmwood Park Grouping Update – January 2018


The Renew My Church  Elmwood Park grouping includes St. Celestine Parish and School (Elmwood Park), St. Cyprian Parish and School (River Grove) and St. William Parish and School (Chicago).

Discernment Process


The Elmwood Park grouping began the Renew My Church  review and discernment process in fall 2017. The Grouping Feedback and Discernment Team, which was made up of representatives from each of the parishes, met to review and discern the future church, parish and school structures for the Elmwood Park area. Based on their meetings and discussions with the larger parish community, they submitted a report for the Archdiocesan Standards and Recommendations Commission, which included representatives from across the Archdiocese.

The Archdiocesan Commission met to review the feedback report and other materials and information, including demographic data, financial summaries, and parish and grouping trends.

Decision


Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, and the Archdiocese’s Presbyteral Council met, and based on the Archdiocesan Commission’s recommendation and other considerations, the Cardinal made a final decision regarding the grouping’s structure.

St. Celestine and St. Cyprian Parishes will unite to form a new parish, effective July 1, 2018, retaining both churches as active worship sites of the new parish. St. William Parish will continue in its current parish structure, with a full-time resident pastor.

St. Celestine School will continue, now as a ministry of the newly united parish. St. William School will continue as a ministry of St. William Parish, with annual enrollment and financial benchmarks established to ensure sustainability into the future.

St. Cyprian School has faced low enrollment in recent years, which has caused a strain on the school’s finances. With less tuition revenue, the school is not able to cover its costs and has incurred an operating deficit. In fall 2017, the Archdiocese and St. Cyprian parish and school leadership established that the school, by January 15, 2018, needed to secure 128 registered students for next school year (2018/19) and secure $500,000 cash to cover operating costs for this school year (2017/18) and next school year (2018/19). Despite best efforts, the enrollment and financial targets fell short with 101 students registered for next school year and $85,000 raised. As part of the Renew My Church  review and discernment process, the Archdiocese engaged with the Elmwood Park grouping, which includes St. Cyprian School, regarding the enrollment and financial struggles at the school. As a result of enrollment and financial targets not being met, coupled with community discussions regarding the lack of long-term viability of the school, St. Cyprian School will close at the end of this school year, effective June 30, 2018.

Next Steps


Through the new parish structure, St. Celestine and St. Cyprian Parishes will unite their resources to create a vital, life-giving parish with two worship sites and a strong school. With this viable structure in place, the new parish, in collaboration with St. William, will work on new ways to implement the Renew My Church  vision: to make disciples, build communities and inspire witness.

Over the next few months, the Archdiocese will work with all involved to ensure an orderly and smooth transition to the new structure. The Archdiocese’s Priest Placement Board will work with the community to identify a pastor to lead the new parish formed by St. Celestine and St. Cyprian.

The Archdiocese will work with St. Cyprian School faculty and staff to find future employment within the Archdiocesan system. In order to assist school families in this transition, the Archdiocese will work closely with near-by Catholic schools to assist them with the transition to their next Catholic school.

A Prayer for “Renew My Church”


Lord Jesus, you speak to us today, as you spoke to holy men and women who have gone before us. In every age and in our own time, you call to us and say: Renew My Church.

Pour out the gift of your Holy Spirit upon us, and so enable us to hear you clearly, to listen to each other attentively, to imagine our future boldly, to discern your direction wisely, to persevere in your holy will courageously, to stay together in charity, to surrender our own plans readily, to embrace the greater good, to hand on your gifts to future generations.

May we remain in the holy company of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the apostles, and all the saints. May their example and presence inspire us with patient confidence in the work of your grace.

We ask this of you who live and reign with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen