23 ARCHDIOCESAN SCHOOLS WILL CLOSE IN JUNE; PLAN SEEKS TO SOLIDIFY VIABILITY OF REMAINING SCHOOLS
CHICAGO (February 24, 2005) – Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago, has accepted the recommendation of the Archdiocesan Office of Catholic Schools that 23 Catholic schools and two school campuses will close in June. In addition, two Catholic schools will consolidate to form one new school, and one Catholic school will be merged into a nearby school. These actions are part of an overall plan that will strengthen the long-term viability of remaining archdiocesan schools.
These 23 Catholic schools will close:
- BERWYN: St. Mary of Celle, 1448 S. Wesley Ave.
- CHICAGO: St. Bride, 7765 S. Coles Ave.
- CHICAGO: St. Camillus, 5434 S. Lockwood Ave.
- CHICAGO: St. Clotilde, 321 E. 84 th St.
- CHICAGO: Epiphany, 4223 W. 25 th St.
- CHICAGO: St. Felicitas, 1501 E. 83 rd Pl.
- CHICAGO: Good Shepherd, 2725 S. Kolin Ave.
- CHICAGO: St. Helena of the Cross, 10115 S. Parnell Ave.
- CHICAGO: Immaculate Heart of Mary, 3820 N. Spaulding Ave.
- CHICAGO: St. James, 2920 S. Wabash Ave.
- CHICAGO: St. John Berchmans, 2511 W. Logan Blvd.
- CHICAGO: Santa Maria Addolorata, 1337 W. Ohio St.
- CHICAGO: St. Martin De Porres, 5072 W. Jackson Blvd.
- CHICAGO: Our Lady Gate of Heaven, 2330 E. 99 th St.
- CHICAGO: St. Philomena, 4131 W. Cortland Ave.
- CHICAGO: Pope John Paul II Catholic School, 4325 S. Richmond St.
- CHICAGO: Resurrection Catholic Academy, 2845 W. Barry Ave.
- CHICAGO: St. Simon the Apostle, 5135 S. California Ave.
- CHICAGO: St. Thomas More, 8130 S. California Ave.
- CICERO: Our Lady of the Mount, 2400 S. 61st Ave.
- NORRIDGE: Divine Savior, 7750 W. Montrose Ave.
- NORTH RIVERSIDE: Mater Christi, 2400 S. 10 th Ave.
- OAK PARK: St. Edmund, 200 S. Oak Park Ave.
Two schools will close one of their campuses (the schools themselves will remain open at other campus locations):
- CHICAGO: Northside Catholic Academy will close its St. Henry Campus at 6325 N. Hoyne Ave. (there are two other sites);
- DES PLAINES: Our Lady of Destiny Catholic School will close its North Campus at 795 Center St. (there is one other site).
These two schools will consolidate to form one new yet-to-be-named school:
- WAUKEGAN: Immaculate Conception, 510 Grand Ave. (site of new school);
- WAUKEGAN/NORTH CHICAGO: Lake Shore Catholic Academy, 510 Tenth St., Waukegan.
One school will merge with a nearby school:
- CHICAGO: St. Paul/Our Lady of Vilna Catholic School, 2114 W. 22 nd and 2315 W. 24 th Pl., will merge with St. Ann Catholic School, 2211 W. 18 th Pl.
“After extensive consultation, research and review among archdiocesan officials and parish and school leadership, a recommendation was made to Cardinal George that 23 schools close in June,” said Dr. Nicholas Wolsonovich, superintendent of Catholic schools of the Archdiocese of Chicago. “A decreasing number of Catholics in certain areas has resulted in a significant decline in enrollment, making it economically unfeasible to continue operating many of our schools. It is important that archdiocesan schools respond to these realities of demographic shifts and economic problems if we are to protect the long-term viability of our remaining schools and ensure that Catholic education continues to be available to all residents of Cook and Lake counties.”
The demographic shifts of the past 30 years in the Chicago area have sparked a variety of challenges that have hindered enrollment growth and contributed to financial deficits in the
schools, including challenging economic conditions, escalating costs and a decrease in the number of parishioners in some areas who are choosing to send their children to Catholic schools. Nevertheless, archdiocesan leadership has remained committed to the ministry of Catholic education.
“We understand the emotion these decisions evoke in the children and families that are affected by these changes,” noted Wolsonovich. “We sincerely appreciate the commitment by the faculty and staff of each of these schools to continuing their tradition of excellence by providing a high-quality program through the end of the academic year.”
The faculty and staff of all of these schools are committed to working with families of current students to assist them in making a transition to another Catholic school. Working with archdiocesan leadership, plans have been made to help those families explore options for enrollment in the fall in other area Catholic schools.
“Each student in these schools will receive a packet of information on area Catholic schools that will welcome them next year,” Wolsonovich explained. “There are at least five, and in some cases as many as 17, Catholic schools located within a three-mile radius from each closing school, and they have the capacity to welcome all students affected by the closings.”
There will be 210 Catholic elementary schools and 40 Catholic high schools in September in the Archdiocese of Chicago with students of many races, faiths and backgrounds. They will continue to be staffed by faculty and administrators who instill faith, teach discipline and achieve strong, consistent academic results.
“The Archdiocese will work to maintain the long-term viability of our remaining schools, so that future generations can enjoy the advantages of a Catholic education,” Wolsonovich emphasized. “At the same time, I would like to express my gratitude to the staffs of the schools that will be closing for all the time and energy they have invested in keeping their doors open for many years. Each school has a rich legacy, providing many thousands of young people over the past decades with an excellent academic and faith-based foundation for lifelong learning. Their presence and contributions will be missed in the Archdiocese of Chicago.”