CHICAGO — Today marked the first Sunday that many of the area’s 2.2 million catholics attended church since the archdiocese announced a major reorganization plan.
The plan would affect two dozen of the more than 300 parishes in the Chicago area, where some catholics said churches are struggling.
“There are not enough people attending,” said Chris Warjas. “So I believe that’s why they’re merging, to get all the people together.”
At St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr Parish, Warjas was one of a handful of parishioners who received the news with the Sunday bulletin, that his church would be merged with St. Genevive.
“It’s a sad moment for us,” Warjas said. “Only location will change, I guess.”
The catholic church is facing a host of stubborn issues; financial pressures, dwindle congregation and a shortage of priests.
The reorganization is the culmination of a process that started back in the fall of 2019, as a commission analyzed demographics, finances and geography.
This week, the Archdiocese of Chicago announced it would close seven churches and merge many other parishes in the city and suburbs.
A total of two dozen churches are part of the consolidation plan, which the archdiocese is calling “renew my church.”
"The Renew My Church process will transform the archdiocese over the next several years by working with groupings of parishes to determine how they will achieve the goal of having vibrant, life-giving faith communities accessible to all Catholics,” the archdiocese said in a statement.
All corners of the archdiocese will be affected with the hope that someday soon, the remaining parishes will be filled will worshipers on Sundays.
The changes will go into effect on July 1. Merged parishes without names will submit their proposals for permanent names.