CHICAGO — The Archdiocese of Chicago announced plans to close churches and schools, and broke the news to parishioners Wednesday evening.
Six schools will be consolidated into three and one church will close, possibly with more to follow.
The school at St. Barbara will be consolidated with St. Therese Chinese Catholic School. Both campuses will remain open under the St. Therese name, according to the Chicago Tribune. St. Lucia-Santa Maria Incoronata and St. Jerome Croatia will become one parish. Santa Lucia Church is slated to close in 2020.
Church officials were expected to announce the parish and school closings Wednesday at St. Barbara, as the Archdiocese of Chicago planned further consolidation to address aging infrastructure and priest shortages. According to the Chicago Tribune,
Prior to the meeting, it was known that the consolidation would include nine Catholic churches and schools in the Chinatown, Bridgeport and Canaryville neighborhoods:
- All-Saints St. Anthony
- St. Barbara
- St. Gabriel
- St. Jerome Croatia
- Santa Lucia-Santa Maria Incoronata
- St. Mary of Perpetual Help
- Nativity of our Lord
- St. Therese Chinese Catholic
- Bridgeport Catholic Academy
St. Barbara, St. Gabriel, St. Jerome, Santa Lucia-Santa Maria and St. Therese all have elementary schools.
The restructuring is a concerted effort by the Archdiocese to not only save money, but also revitalize the church. With changes slated to begin with the next academic year, Cardinal Blaise Cupich told an audience at the City Club of Chicago earlier Sunday that closings are inevitable.