Archdiocese of Chicago Announces New Parish Structures for the Bridgeport-area Renew My Church Grouping
As part of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s revitalization initiative, Renew My Church, the leadership of parishes in the Bridgeport grouping have been meeting to discuss the future church, parish and school structures for the Bridgeport, Canaryville and Chinatown areas of the city. The Renew My Church Bridgeport grouping includes the following parishes and schools, all located in Chicago:
- All Saints-St. Anthony Parish
- St. Barbara Parish and School
- Bridgeport Catholic Academy
- St. Gabriel Parish and School
- St. Jerome Croatian Parish and School
- St. Mary of Perpetual Help Parish
- Nativity of Our Lord Parish
- Santa Lucia-Santa Maria Incoronata Parish and School
- St. Therese Chinese Parish and School
In November 2018, Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, requested additional time for further discussion and consultation regarding the parishes of All Saints-St. Anthony, St. Barbara, St. Mary of Perpetual Help and St. Therese Chinese. Based on the additional discussions and discernment time, decisions regarding the parish structures have been finalized. These decisions were made by Cardinal Cupich, the auxiliary bishop, and the archdiocesan Presbyteral Council, based on the local grouping team feedback, archdiocesan Renew My Church Commission’s recommendations and other considerations.
St. Therese Chinese Parish and St. Barbara Parish will unite to form one new parish, effective July 1, 2019. Both churches will remain open as active worship sites of the new parish. All Saints – St. Anthony Parish and St. Mary of Perpetual Help Parish will unite to form one new parish, effective July 1, 2019. St. Mary of Perpetual Help Church will serve as the worship site of the new parish. All Saints – St. Anthony Church will close no later than June 30, 2020. These decisions were shared with parishioners and school families during this evening’s Renew My Church community meeting.
Additionally, Cardinal Cupich, archdiocesan leadership, and the archdiocese’s Office of Catholic Schools affirmed the decision regarding the Bridgeport-area schools, as well as the other Bridgeport-area parishes, announced in November 2018. Those decisions are as follows:
St. Barbara School and St. Therese Chinese School
St. Therese Chinese School will assume responsibility for St. Barbara School, retaining campuses at both the existing St. Therese Chinese school building and the existing St. Barbara school building, under the St. Therese Chinese School leadership and name. The academic program will include expanded early childhood (pre-K) at the St. Barbara campus with pre-K through 8 at both sites pending enrollment. School leadership structure will consist of one principal with two administrators - one at each site. The school will be led by the current St. Therese Chinese School principal. The current St. Barbara School principal will serve as an administrator at the St. Barbara campus and will remain involved in leadership decisions. Current St. Barbara School students, who are in good standing with St. Barbara School, will be automatically accepted into St. Therese Chinese School. St. Barbara School faculty and staff will be given priority status in filling positions at the expanded St. Therese Chinese School.
St. Jerome Croatian Parish and School and Santa Lucia-Santa Maria Incoronata Parish and School
St. Jerome Croatian and Santa Lucia-Santa Maria Incoronata Parishes will unite to form a new parish, effective July 1, 2019. St. Jerome Croatian Church will serve as the active worship site for the new parish, and Santa Lucia-Santa Maria Incoronata Church will close no later than June 30, 2020 at a time determined in consultation with parish leadership, the pastor of the new parish and Archdiocesan leadership. The new parish will have a single school housed on the current campus of St. Jerome Croatian School. Thus, Santa Lucia School will close, effective June 30, 2019. The new parish will be staffed by the Croatian Franciscans.
Nativity of Our Lord Parish, Bridgeport Catholic Academy and St. Gabriel Parish and School
The faith communities of Nativity of Our Lord and St. Gabriel Parishes will unite to form one, new parish. Both churches will remain open as active worship sites. Bridgeport Catholic Academy and St. Gabriel School will unite as one school with two campuses to serve this new parish. For the 2019/2020 school year, each campus will be led by its own principal, both reporting to the new pastor of the new, unified parish. Both campuses will provide programming for grades pre-K through 8, and all current students will be invited to re-register. The two campuses will operate under one, combined financial plan. One tuition rate and financial aid process will apply for both campuses. Faculty and support staff will remain employed at both sites assuming they remain in good standing, wish to return, and enrollment levels remain approximately the same. The new pastor and parish and school leadership will continue to evaluate the best long-term leadership and operational structure of the two campuses.
Over the next few months, the archdiocese will work with the faith communities of each parish to ensure an orderly and smooth transition to the new structures. The archdiocese’s Priest Placement Board will also work with the communities to identify pastors to lead the new parishes.
The archdiocese will employ the following processes and procedures to ensure a successful transition for all school families affected by these school changes.
- Students and school families in good standing will be automatically accepted to the paired school noted above for the 2019/20 school year. Special consideration will be provided for applicants from other closing/unifying schools within the grouping.
- Families from closing/unifying schools will follow the re-enrollment process/timeline of the welcoming school for the 2019/20 school year.
- Welcoming schools will host re-enrollment activities at closing/unifying schools.
- 2019/20 tuition for families with a child currently enrolled at a closing/unifying school will be whichever tuition + fees is lowest between the closing and pairing school.
- Welcoming schools will work with closing/unifying school families needing financial assistance; families must apply via the welcoming school’s financial assistance process.
- All schools will refrain from accepting mid-year transfer students among schools in the grouping, so students have a chance to complete the year with their classmates.