Cook County churches unite to form new parishes

Chronicle Media

Priests celebrate Mass at St. Celestine Parish in Elmwood Park. Although the church will remain an active worship site and retain its name, it is being combined with St. Cyprian Parish in River Grove to create St. Mother Theodore Guerin Parish. Unification efforts will create three other new parishes in the Archdiocese of Chicago. (Photo from St. Celestine Parish)

Four new Catholic parishes will be created in the Archdiocese of Chicago this summer as churches will be united.

Although parish resources will be combined as of June 30, the churches in all four parishes will continue to be active worship sites and will retain their consecrated names.

The new parish names, which were announced during Masses this weekend (May 12-13), were selected by and voted on by parishioners. The pooled parishes were created through the archdiocese’s Renew My Church initiative.

New parishes are:

  • San Jose Sanchez del Rio — Uniting St. Philomena, Maternity B.V.M. and St. Francis of Assisi parishes, all in Chicago.
  • St. Mother Theodore Guerin — Uniting St. Celestine Parish in Elmwood Park and St. Cyprian Parish in River Grove. St. Cyprian School will be closing at the end of this school year as part of the consolidation.
  • Divine Mercy — Uniting Sacred Heart Parish in Winnetka and St. Philip the Apostle Parish in Northfield.
  • Our Lady of the Lakes — Uniting St. Bede Parish in Ingleside and St. Peter Parish in Antioch.

“The new parish names help mark new beginnings for these Catholic communities,” said the Rev. Jason Malave, Cardinal Blasé Cupich’s delegate for Renew My Church. “Throughout history, when God bestows a new name on someone it is always as part of a new mission. These parishes are embarking on the mission of Renew My Church: Make disciples, build community and inspire witness to strengthen and grow our faith in new, creative ways.”

In a January letter to St. Cyprian and St. Celestine parishioners, Cupich announced the closure of St. Cyprian School.

“St. Cyprian School, which has faced low enrollment and financial difficulties in recent years, will unfortunately close at the end of this school year,” Cupich wrote. “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.”

Renew My Church is an effort to transform the archdiocese over the next several years by grouping parishes to determine how to achieve the goal of having vibrant, life-giving faith communities accessible to all Catholics, according to archdiocese leaders.

To learn about Renew My Church, visit


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