St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Parish
6020 W. Ardmore Avenue
Chicago, IL 60646

Religious Education Welcome


Archdiocesan Renew My Church Website –


NEW PARISH NAME – The Archdiocese of Chicago Announces St. Elizabeth of the Trinity as the Name of the Newly Formed Parish and School in the Milwaukee Avenue North Renew My Church Grouping.
St. Cornelius, St. Tarcissus and St. Thecla Parish and School and Pope Francis Global Academy’s North Campus will unite to form one new parish and school, effective July 1, 2020.

The Archdiocese of Chicago announced St. Elizabeth of the Trinity as the name of the newly formed parish and school created by the unification of St. Cornelius, St. Tarcissus and St. Thecla Parish and School and Pope Francis Global Academy North Campus. Parishioners proposed options and voted on the new parish and school name. Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, reviewed their collective input and accepted the final name.

“The decision of a new parish name marks the first step in building a new and vibrant culture of community and identity as disciples of Christ,” said Rev. Jason Malave, the cardinal’s delegate for Renew My Church.

St. Thecla School and Pope Francis Global Academy’s North Campus will unite as the St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Parish School at the St. Tarcissus campus starting with the 2020/21 school year.




Parish groupings will afford the opportunity to begin to look at how parishes might work together, support one another, and share personnel, programs and ministries. Our grouping has been identified as: St. Tarcissus,
St. Cornelius, and St. Thecla parishes.
 Also, the St. Thecla School and Pope Francis Global Academy’s North Campus are included in this grouping.

St. Cornelius Parish – 5430 West Foster Avenue –
St. Thecla Parish – 6725 West Devon Avenue –

In November 2016, a joint meeting for parish council leaders among the three parishes was convened here at St. Tarcissus. That meeting was simply an introduction to the idea of this grouping, as well as an opportunity for all the council leaders to get to know one another and look at some of the things we have in common with each other, and to also examine some of the challenges we face as parishes today.



Some priest news announcements. While Fr. Greg Rom was considering coming to the new St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Parish as an associate pastor he has decided to retire. You can read this week’s and last week’s bulletin from St. Thecla’s website for a full explanation from Fr. Greg, but I’ll quote a little here: “After thought and prayer, I have decided to not be the associate pastor of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Parish. While I am in good physical health, I am mentally and spiritually tired after 45 years of active ministry”.

Fr. Rom will stay living at the rectory of St. Thecla for some time and help as he can while he plans his retirement future. Please thank him for his many years of service to God’s people and for his leadership in this merger. I imagine going forward he will be back to help with weddings, funerals and other Masses as needed because he very much wants to be helpful. Please pray for him and again, thank him.

Also, Fr. Dan Fallon from St. Cornelius has announced that he is retiring. He will also stay on at the rectory at St. Cornelius and help with the ongoing Masses there until we merge them all here. They have just entered Phase II at St. Cornelius so I know there is the desire to have a First Communion, baptisms, weddings, funerals and some sense of closure there as well with final celebrations as those are possible. Fr. Dan also wants to help in the transition and will be back as requested for funerals, weddings etc… even in retirement. Please pray for and thank Fr. Fallon as well for his many dedicated years of priestly service to the Lord and His people.

In the rectory here you should know that I did receive an appointment letter from Cardinal Cupich giving me the standard six-year term, so God willing I’ll be the pastor of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity for at least six years and will retain my room in the rectory. Also, Fr. Dan McCarthy is doing well and staying on and will continue the training of the altar servers, being a chaplain at Resurrection and Notre Dame High Schools while continuing his sacramental assistance at the parish. He is the hardest working retired priest I’ve ever met. Fr. Griffiths is at retirement age soon but is still discerning his future.

While we have plenty of gracious retired/resident priest help, we will need an associate pastor to help in the St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Parish. I’ve been interviewing some quality priests who expressed interest in working here and I’m told we can expect an associate, but not a newly ordained since their assignments were made months ago before I knew of Fr. Greg’s retirement. The RMC process, while challenging, allows for more priests to be in the associate pastor pool which strengthens the remaining parishes, so I am told I can be confident that we will get an associate pastor. Praise God!

We are looking forward to a simple First Communion and Mass for our North Campus PFGA graduates who have all waited patiently and born with the awkward Covid times that we are in. Please pray for them too.

Friends, these times require us even more to pray and thank God that we have a savior in Jesus Christ, and to be more faithful to Him than we have ever been before. In this week’s Gospel the Lord reminds us: “Fear no one. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.” Let us not be afraid and may renewal in holiness in the Church begin in our own hearts.

Keep the faith,
Father Mike Grisolano
Pastor of St. Tarcissus Parish 
and Future Pastor of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Parish



I have good updates on the St. Elizabeth of the Trinity School. I know parents have many concerns and questions. The future school budget was approved and projects a roughly $90,000 deficit with the current parish subsidy amount of $30,000 built into the budget. That might not sound like good news but given where things were, it isn’t too bad and we’re planning to shave down some utility and administrative costs off of that number this year. We also froze tuition for this coming year and slightly increased the multi-student discount to ease the burden on families a bit, so overall this is a good budget.

The school budget approval from the Archdiocese allowed for the teacher contracts to be offered this past week. The teachers have two weeks to review and sign their contracts so we should be able to announce the faculty by the end of May which is within the usual time frame. There will likely be 2-3 good teachers from St. Thecla coming over as part of the merger which the teachers from this site have known about all along. Sadly, enrollment levels will likely not allow every interested teacher to be hired back.

The new principal, Dr. Kristine Hillmann has been part of the process behind the scenes, but won’t officially start until July 1st. We now have a St. Elizabeth of the Trinity School page in the bulletin to help give you updates. This weekend’s page (Bulletin) has a good FAQ section that was sent in the PFGA Howler this past Thursday, be sure to check it!

The Archdiocesan operations team and I have reviewed some of the engineering drafts for the convent parking project and I have some excellent news to report. We can get 45 quality spots there, two of which are handicapped! We’re still in the early stages of the draft process but parking spots will be at least as wide as those in our inner lot, the Produce Center or Phil’s diagonal. The design also includes a wrought iron fence, access to one or two electric hubs for events, possible lighting as needed and of course, some landscaping that will make it more beautiful. The design will have 2 different two-way entrances from Ardmore but no alley access for safety reasons. So, imagine the Produces Center number of spaces and configuration, but with more beauty and slightly wider stalls and a couple more spots!

Of course, parking, school budgets and teacher hiring are all connected with the ultimate mission of the parish which is to form Catholic disciples of Jesus Christ as He wishes us to. There are many unknowns right now. As of the writing of this article I don’t know when I can unlock the church for prayer or small gatherings of 10 or less for baptisms, weddings, funerals or confessions. If you’d like a confession now you can email or call me and we can walk around the campus at social distance… if you can pick up a pizza or groceries safely, certainly I can absolve you from six feet away!

We are also trying to coordinate many things like First Holy Communion, graduation celebrations, last Masses at the merging parishes etc… I ask for your patience and understanding in these challenging times. May we all remember that Jesus Christ is truly risen from the dead, that He is in charge and is with us in these strange times. If you don’t pray the rosary daily please do so at least in this, Mary’s month. Keep the faith.

God bless you,
Father Mike Grisolano
Pastor of St. Tarcissus Parish 
and Future Pastor of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Parish



As of the writing of this bulletin article the Archdiocese hasn’t yet released the new sacramental guidelines based on the new 10-person limit on public gatherings that the governor allowed. I promise to let you know as soon as I find out and I know this would be especially important for upcoming baptisms, funerals and weddings. We will probably be able to open the church soon as well for prayer and a more normal experience of the sacrament of confession. I am available for walking, socially distanced confession now if you’d like to schedule a time.

Our unification committee from the three parishes met again last night for the second time and some good work is being done. We are reviewing when good dates might be for last Masses at each of the sites, including St. Taricssus Parish. While our church building will remain open and used, St. Tarcissus parish will officially be closed and St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Parish will be created on July 1st. Our St. Tarcissus Parish last Sunday Mass will be on June 28th. We haven’t worked out the details of what kind of remembrances or special things could be done to help offer a sense of closure, but I will keep you posted. Even in June we may not be able to have large gatherings yet so it may be a live streamed Mass, but we’ll do what we can.

Last week I had the privilege of being at the St. Cornelius Food pantry and see some of the amazing work being done in these hard times to help those in need. Deacon John Rottman and other volunteers from St. Cornelius along with our own Dave McNaughton, Melisa and Alex Moroko and Kim Hyland were hard at work organizing and distributing food. I had the chance to visit with the people looking for help in those days and was able to talk and pray with them and give them a blessing. I even was asked for a confession.

Some people who were alone at home were also glad for a little company and someone to talk to. It was a very moving experience and I can tell you that many of the patrons never had the need to go to a food pantry before. They were so grateful for the kindness and help. Our time and generosity given to those in need really is doing the Lord’s work and means so much, please continue to contribute in the ways that you can. The coach Lou G. drop boxes are located in the convent courtyard for your convenience.

In today’s first reading we heard the Apostle Peter say: “It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to wait at table.” There’s no more basic bodily need than for food. And yet even this was not the only concern of the Apostles. Because the Apostles had been commissioned by Christ to preach the Gospel which includes meeting the needs of body and soul. That’s why the Apostles decided to “devote themselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

As we try to help each other financially or with food, we know we have other needs as well. We might be lonely and want a visit and someone to talk to. We might be afraid or anxious about the future and are looking for hope. Ultimately, only the Lord is in charge and can address these deeper needs that we have. May we in Jesus’ name try to help each other as best we can so that the Lord can say of us “Look how my disciples love one another.”

God bless you,
Father Mike Grisolano
Pastor of St. Tarcissus Parish 
and Future Pastor of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Parish



Happy Easter! The Lord is still risen which is good to be reminded of in these uncertain times. Some good updates to report. I found out this week that Cardinal Cupich has approved for Fr. Greg Rom (the current administrator of St. Thecla) to be the future Associate Pastor of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity starting on July 1st. We’ll be blessed to have him and he’s very excited to come… he’s been spreading the word all week. Fr. Greg has such a nice way with those who are sick, the homebound and works so well with grieving families who have lost loved ones. We will have increased sacramental needs when the three parishes merge with nearly three times the number of current funerals.

Fr. Greg Rom won’t move in right away but will hold the fort at the St. Thecla property until an interested tenant or buyer is found after the church building has been relegated for such purposes. Also, as you may know Fr. Griffiths is nearing the age when he could retire from the marriage tribunal but he may stay on for some time there. He might be thinking of warmer winter climates! You can ask him personally about his plans if you’d like to know more. Fr. Griffiths has been a blessing to St. Tarcissus and we’re all grateful for his time here so be sure to tell him that because I bet he’d like to hear it from you. We’re of course also grateful for all that Fr. McCarthy does and will continue to do in the new parish of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity.

I want to thank you for your generosity to the parish in this difficult time. Our offerings are down to about 75% of what they were which is pretty good when compared to how other parishes are doing financially throughout the Archdiocese. We’ve cut costs where we could. The heat is turned off in the convent, church and set to 50 degrees in the school. If your means allow please consider a one-time gift and also getting enrolled in our electronic giving service, Faith Direct.

A positive from the last few weeks has been the tremendous outpouring of support for the Food Pantry at St. Cornelius. We now have two drop boxes in the convent courtyard so that you can easily bring non-perishable food to support local people who need it. You can make a donation as well made payable to the St. Cornelius Food Pantry and can drop it off at the rectory mail slot or mail it directly to St. Cornelius. If you would like to get involved as a volunteer in the food pantry please email: or call the rectory at St. Cornelius.

We’re still live streaming daily and Sunday Masses but every time I try to add some improvement to sound, WiFi or the camera we’ve had a day where the recording didn’t work well or at all. I’m sorry for these challenges, we do have some professional help on this going forward. A special thank you to George Van Durme who has been the videographer for the Triduum and Sunday Masses and has been tireless in trying to get the best internet connection we can for the live streams.

Remember friends, during these crazy and at times scary times we’re in, that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that He has truly, bodily, risen from the dead giving us hope! Keep the faith.

God bless you,
Father Mike Grisolano
Pastor of St. Tarcissus Parish 
and Future Pastor of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Parish



Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ – Happy Easter,

At the time of writing this letter to you we are still under the “shelter in place” quarantine and I’m sure all of us are getting a bit antsy. Sadly, we couldn’t celebrate the Holy Triduum together as a parish but only with Fr. McCarthy and I through video. You have all been in my prayers in this difficult time and I ask that you keep me in yours. While we are now in the Easter season celebrating Jesus Christ’s resurrection in some ways it still feels like Lent. The literal meaning of the word “quarantine” comes from a period of forty days that Italian ships had to be kept offshore as a precaution against the plague. So, in a sense, our “forty days” continues as we’re quarantined.

Perhaps, for many of you the sense of suffering and sacrifice that accompanies Lent is felt by you in a keener way as we approach the merging of the three parishes starting July 1st. Here at St. Tarcissus, while this site was chosen for the new parish, there is still loss. The old convent will be converted to parking, the name of the parish will change, the church will likely be renovated in time, and the school will have a third name in five years. Change often means loss which is a source of sadness. I know this is a challenging time and that many of your have families have been at St. Tars since the church was built in 1953 or even when the parish was founded in 1926. I share in your grief; I didn’t come here to be the last pastor of St. Tarcissus Parish.

Since we’re dealing with something of a prolonged experience of Lent it’s good to be reminded that Lent always concludes with hope, with Jesus’ resurrection at Easter. During this time of grief, fear and transition good things are being planned, too, for our future parish. A Unification Committee has been formed with parish leaders from St. Thecla, St. Cornelius and St. Tarcissus that will help advise me and unify the three parishes into St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Parish. The three parish pastors and deacons have already had multiple productive meetings. We will hire staff from all three of the parishes as well. Of course, the goal is to be stronger on every level as a parish which means your continued prayer and involvement in the future of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Parish. If your resources allow, please consider a financial contribution to the parish since we still have all of our normal operation expenses even in these difficult times. You can mail in your offering envelopes or drop them in the rectory mailbox. You can also donate electronically using

Friends, though we suffer in many ways with Christ right now, we know that the Lord is truly risen and will give us strength to endure. Whether you are grieving the loss of a loved one, struggling financially, or fearing change or uncertainty, the Lord can help. The second Sunday of Easter is also called Divine Mercy Sunday which is associated with the encouraging Divine Mercy image with the words; Jesus, I trust in you. The deeper our trust, the deeper will be our peace and joy. May God bless you all and keep you safe.

The Lord is Risen,
Father Mike Grisolano
Pastor of St. Tarcissus Parish 
and Future Pastor of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Parish



Thanks to Colleen Stieve we have a new parish logo! I had a part to play with some of the symbols used and would like to describe their meaning a little bit. The goal was to have something dignified that would represent the parish and school well for the future. I’ll go through each color and symbol to describe the rationale that went into each.

The fluer-de-lis was chosen as a spacer on the sides of the crest for two reasons. Firstly, St. Elizabeth of the Trinity was born and raised in Dijon, France and the fluer-de-lis is emblematic of France and it’s historically being a Catholic country. Secondly, the fluer-de-lis is usually portrayed with three Lily flowers bound together which is also used itself as a symbol for the Holy Trinity. So, this symbol seemed a natural fit for our new logo.

The shield was chosen to be in the background for two reasons. Firstly, St. Paul tells us, “Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Eph. 6:16). Faith is the theological virtue by which we believe everything that the Lord has revealed to us. Also, St. Elizabeth was nicknamed the “little captain” as a child because of her strong will and personality so the military imagery of the shield has a slight personal connection with our patroness as well

The cross is in the middle of the shield of faith because we’re meant to have faith in Jesus. At the heart of the cross is the main Trinitarian image, the “Trinity knot”. This symbol was chosen not so much for its Celtic origins but because it is so widely understood by its design and name as being a symbol for the Holy Trinity. The trinity symbol laid over the cross reminds us that we wouldn’t know about the central mystery of faith, that there is one God in three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, if Jesus Christ, the Son of God, hadn’t come in the flesh and revealed it. Notice too that the only gold color used in the logo is reserved for the trinitarian images of the fluer-de-lis and especially the trinity knot in the center.

Why was the color purple chosen? I went through the school and asked students what color they would want for uniforms/jerseys and why. The majority of the children voted for purple and some explained a touching rationale. They said that the former school colors of St. Cornelius (red) and St. Thecla (blue) makes purple. And a child shall lead them! The kids are showing us how to be open hearted in this parish and school merger. Purple is also a liturgical color and one that is fairly unique for parishes and schools. Both purple and gold are traditionally connected with royalty and so are fitting for the Lord.

I hope you like the new parish and school logo. As you can see, some thought went into its design. I tried to get as much feedback from people on it but due to time constraints with uniforms we couldn’t do more extensive polling. The circle design of the logo allows for it to fit nicely on uniforms and possibly the gym floor, too. May God bless this unification process.

Your brother in Christ,
Father Mike Grisolano 
– Pastor of St. Tarcissus Parish



My bulletin article last weekend was largely about parking but there’s a little more to say. There seems to be some excitement over the new diagonal parking being planned on Moody. But while most people I’ve talked to seem fine with the demolishing of the convent to create a parking lot there are some who seem troubled or even upset by that. Last weekend somebody even put flyers on people’s cars and in the vestibules saying that we shouldn’t tear down the convent. So, I would like to explain this decision in a bit more detail.

Firstly, the old convent is barely used and is certainly not used in the way it was originally intended and built for. Nuns used to live in small rooms (cells) on the second floor and they haven’t lived there for over 25 years. The second floor is never used now except when I go to the chapel. The first floor is used only by the SPRED ministry, SVDP and Girls Scouts all of which meet about once a month. The lower level is used by the Shawl Ministry, some spiritual direction and the AA groups. Only AA meets weekly. The youth group hasn’t used the room downstairs in years.

So, there isn’t a lot of activity at that building. Each ministry will be relocated and is aware of the coming transition. Our school building used to have over 700 students and we’re planning to enroll about 200-220 for the coming year. While we certainly want that number to grow, we have more than enough classrooms to spare a couple for parish ministries in need of a new space to meet.

Also, the convent costs a lot to maintain, with utilities it’s the most expensive building on campus to heat with last month’s bill coming in at about $1,900! Also, the combined costs of tuckpointing and roofing for the convent would be over $500,000 based on the facilities assessment that was done as part of the RMC process. Even if we paid for capital repairs and utilities, we’re still just left with an old convent, not even a renovated space for meetings for the future parish. I know it’s a majestic old building and they don’t build them like that anymore. But the solid plaster walls, asbestos, old pipes, and old boilers would make it costly to renovate into something more useful for us.

Some people have said we should convert the convent to rental property of some type. Again, what we need at this site is more parking not rental income. The merging parishes of St. Cornelius and St. Thecla give us the chance to have ongoing lease income. Between the churches, schools and convents from those sites we will have plenty of buildings to lease and/or sell for income.

The buildings should serve the needs of the parish, not the other way around. I know that St. Tars has gotten by over the years with street parking, but families generally own more cars now than they did in the past and certainly the people from St. Thecla and St. Cornelius are concerned about parking. We no longer need a convent, but we could use more parking that is conveniently located right across the street from the school and church. I hope this helps explain why we’re demolishing the convent for parking. I promise not to take up a whole bulletin article with this topic again but I thought it needed addressing.

This is the First Sunday of Lent, if we try to live by every word that comes from the mouth of God and pass on the Catholic faith meaningfully to our children, then we won’t need to tear down more convents in twenty years, we’ll be building them. Let us fast and pray with Jesus Christ our Lord so that it might be so!

God bless you,
Father Mike Grisolano 
– Pastor of St. Tarcissus Parish



A parking update: just so everyone knows, the owners of the Produce Center property are not interested in selling the property right now but would rather find new tenants. The diagonal parking project on Moody has been approved by the city and should be completed by July 1st at the latest, maybe a bit sooner. That conversion will give us a total of 19 diagonal spots, 13 in front of the junior high and six in front of the gym. The project will cost approximately $65,000 so if you’d like to help you could make a check payable to St. Tarcissus with “capital needs” or “diagonal parking” in the memo field and 100% of your donation will go toward the project.

To that end, we just started our monthly second collection this weekend that will be used specifically to raise money for our capital improvements on campus. All the money donated in this collection will be used to improve the campus. You can also donate through our electronic giving option using Faith Direct, there will be a “capital needs” option available soon. I will try to be very specific about where your donations are going so that you can get excited about the projects and see that your money is being well spent.

Since the Produce Center property is not available for the foreseeable future, to increase our parking we will demolish the Parish Life Center (the old convent) and convert it into parking. I know it is a beautiful building and oozes nostalgia but it does cost a lot to maintain with utilities, it has about $550,000 worth of repairs needed, and is not remotely being used for what it was built for, to house nuns. So, with the help of the Arch operations team, we are planning to have the building demolished by the summer at the latest. However, given city permit requirements, etc… a parking lot may be ready by next winter, but maybe not. The estimate right now is that we’d get anywhere from between 28-32 parking spots. No design has been finalized yet though… I’ll keep you posted.

Let me make clear that the ministries currently meeting in the old convent will all be relocated to new homes on the campus. SVDP, SPRED, Prayer Shawl ministry, Girl Scouts, and the AA meetings will all be able to continue. One of the parish mottos going forward might be “no ministry left behind.”

I know this is a lot of menial, administrative talk about buildings and parking but we have to get the new home ready for everyone for the sake of the mission of Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself would feed hungry people so that they could then listen to His teaching and be converted. Right now people have all kinds of questions about the new St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Parish and School. As we stabilize the temporal situation of parking, teachers at the school, ministry locations, staff, Mass times etc… then we can focus more energy on the actual point of Renew My Church, helping make disciples of all nations, passing on the Catholic faith and sacraments that Jesus Christ gave us!

I know this transition has been very hard for many people and might continue to be so for a time. May Christ’s words we heard this weekend help soften any bitterness in our hearts: “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father.

Keep the faith my friends, with God’s grace we’ll get there.

God bless you,
Father Mike Grisolano 
– Pastor of St. Tarcissus Parish



Some RMC school and parish updates. On the school side the transition from PFGA North into the new St. Elizabeth of the Trinity School is coming along. Just to remind you that the new school being formed here will be the parish school of the new St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Parish. Meaning, it will be run and operated by the new parish with the local pastor, yours truly, watching over it. Of course, we will have a principal in place, we already have a search committee underway. I have no intention of being directly involved with the curriculum (other than religion classes of course!)

I had a nice meeting last week with about ten St. Thecla School families to answer some questions and concerns they might have. They seemed encouraged by the openness to accommodate them into this new parish/school home. They were also happy to hear that even if the St. Thecla school were leased in the future it would remain the property of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Parish and we would be able to have use of the gym, meeting spaces and practice fields according to the terms we set in the lease. We also hosted twenty-one St. Thecla students for a “shadow day” at PFGA North. They attended Mass, had a Q&A with me, got to meet the teachers and other students and have a pizza lunch together. It was a great bridge builder. I will be offering the February 9th, 10 am Mass at St. Thecla with a Q&A afterwards for any interested parishioners, please keep that in your prayers.

There seems to some degree of warming to the new parish and a lot of that certainly has to go to the hard work of Kathy Collins, the marketing and operations director at St. Thecla. Kathy will ultimately work here next year. Kathy Collins will give tours to new families this year and will also be the operations director of the new parish when the time comes. She is very loved and trusted at St. Thecla and she will be an amazing part of the leadership team of the new parish!

I offered my first Sunday Mass at St. Cornelius last weekend at the 9 am Family Mass. The people were warm and welcoming. I tried to address some of their hurts and fears going forward. Like the people of St. Thecla, they are concerned about parking. As you know we are considering options to accommodate that need, both with diagonal parking on Moody and possibly demolishing the convent for parking. The Produce Center Property is not for sale. People at St. Cornelius also have a wonderful Food Pantry that our own St. Vincent de Paul Society supports and a budding/thriving Spanish Community. These great ministries will continue! The goal is to make the new parish a home for all three merging parishes which might be challenging at first, but I believe we’ll be stronger for it.

I meet weekly with an operations team from the Archdiocese, they’ve already secured URL’s for the new parish and school and are helping set up the framework for the new websites. A lot is happening behind the scenes but probably the most important thing we can all do is pray and try to build relationships of trust with our neighbors and be hopeful for what Christ is doing in this merger. We will have a tri-parish Lenten mission on March 1-3 where each of the three parishes hosts the dinner/hospitality beforehand in the Auditorium here. Please make sure to come and try to engage others and keep praying!

God bless you,
Father Mike Grisolano 
– Pastor of St. Tarcissus Parish



I’m glad to say that my bulletin article last weekend was incorrect, and we now already know the new parish name: St. Elizabeth of the Trinity! The voting was very close for the top few names so the cardinal consulted with his advisors and now we are blessed with our name, and just in time for Catholic Schools Week. We are conducting a principal search as we speak and are ramping up marketing for the new school. I think St. Elizabeth of the Trinity will be a great patroness for our parish and school. I hope you’re excited too.

St. Elizabeth was especially devoted to and wrote prayers to the Holy Trinity. How fitting for us since the three parishes of St. Thecla, St. Tarcissus and St. Cornelius will soon come together as one. The Trinitarian imagery of us all being raised into the inner life of God, the God who is love, is moving. So, we’ll be able to honor the past traditions of the three parishes while building new ones together in the Lord.

Now, let me share with you a little about this wonderful saint. Elizabeth was born in France in 1880 and died only 26 years later in the Carmelite monastery in her hometown Dijon. She came from a good Catholic family but nobody at first thought that she would be a nun. She was nicknamed the “little captain” by her family because she was so strong willed and given to temper tantrums. At one point her mother wanted to send her to a special school for discipline and at a confession when she was about 11 years old and told the priest about her latest tantrum, apparently he said that she would either be a great saint or a demon, there wouldn’t be no middle ground with her.

She also manifested signs at an early age for deep prayer, study and helping others. She wanted to work on her passionate nature and did sense the Lord calling her. She received her first Holy Communion at age eleven and was noticeably impacted, she said “God has fed me”. She visited the local Carmelite monastery and the prioress told her what her baptismal name meant. Elizabeth means “House of God”. Elizabeth was moved by this and thought she should begin really living as a proper dwelling for God.

Her mother wanted her to get married so Elizabeth promised that she would not enter the Carmelite monastery until after she turned twenty-one. She did go to parties and socialize and was good at the piano, but no young man could win her heart. During this time, she also taught catechism to troubled youth in the neighborhood, visited the sick and her longing for a deeper life of prayer and union with God grew.

She read an early manuscript of St. Therese’s Story of a Soul. The Little Flower had only died a few years earlier. This writing helped Elizabeth greatly in her discernment and she entered the Carmelites about two weeks after her twenty first birthday. Like the Little Flower, she didn’t live long and suffered greatly physically. Elizabeth died of Addison’s disease. At the end she could hardly eat or drink and her body burned with pain but she wanted people to ask for her help in those moments, she offered herself to Christ crucified and always thought of others! She left behind letters on prayer and suffering.

She is a patron saint of sick people and those who have lost parents. We are also blessed because I think what we need most is summed up in St. Elizabeth of the Trinity’s view of how she wants to help us from heaven: “I think that in heaven my mission will be to draw souls by helping them to go out of themselves in order to cling to God by a wholly simple and loving movement, and to keep them in this great silence within, which will allow God to communicate himself to them and transform them into himself.”

Isn’t that what we really need, a deeper interior life of prayer where we let the Lord, Father, Son and Holy Spirit change our hearts to be like His?

St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, pray for us!

God bless you,
Father Mike Grisolano 
– Pastor of St. Tarcissus Parish



Well, the ballots are in and there are clearly four names that people selected that are much more popular than the other four. In alphabetical order, the top four names voted on for the new parish are: Christ the Teacher, Early Christian Martyrs, Our Lady of Good Help, and St. Elizabeth of the Trinity. These names were submitted to Cardinal Cupich and will have been reviewed by him and the episcopal council on Friday, January 17. Then the Cardinal’s preferred selection will be presented to the Presbyterial Council. I just found out that I will be told the new name on Monday, January 27 which is the first day of Catholic Schools Week.

What’s in a name? I’d again like to remind how important it is that we get a new name. This is a merger of three parishes, not simply a closing of two. I have spoken to a number of people from St. Cornelius and St. Thecla and there is a fear that they won’t be made to feel that we are building a new home together. That’s how we have to see this, we are building a new parish, with more people, together. The people, the assets, and the ministries of St. Thecla and St. Cornelius will be blending/adding to St. Tarcissus. We will have tripled our parish territory by July 1st! God often gives a new name for a new sense of mission for an individual or a people. Saul became Paul, Simon became Peter, Abram to Abraham. We can honor the past traditions while starting new ones together with God’s grace: “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old” (Mt. 13:52).

Our Gospel this weekend brings us back to St. John the Baptist acknowledging Jesus Christ as the one whom he was telling them about: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. He is the one of whom I said, ‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’” People had been waiting for the messiah for centuries and John the Baptist had been preparing people for His coming. Then the day arrived when John saw the Holy Spirit descend on the Lord and said basically, “that’s him, he’s arrived.” Some people were probably excited and ready, but many were uncertain and afraid.

I can’t help but notice some parallels with our current situation. We’ve been preparing the result of the Renew My Church process, the new name etc… Now that it is upon us all, some may feel excited and ready for the new thing God is providing, others might be uncertain. It took time and the Holy Spirit’s help for the early disciples to come to know, love and follow Christ.

I know that instability can be frightening but Christ is with us in this process. It will take time and the Holy Spirit’s help for us to come to know and love each other in this new parish and ultimately come to know and love the Lord Himself more deeply.

God bless you,
Father Mike Grisolano 
– Pastor of St. Tarcissus Parish



Today, the Baptism of the Lord, marks the official liturgical end to the Christmas season, though I know some people often leave their decorations up a little longer. The Christmas season is usually such a warm and joy-filled time that it’s understandable that we want that good spirit to linger. But children have already been back in school for a week and most people’s vacations have ended so it’s fitting that even liturgically we enter “ordinary time.”

There’s nothing ordinary though about what’s happening with our parishes/schools merging, it’s all new and both exciting and scary. A number of people have been asking about how we are reaching out to the other parishes especially the school families at St. Thecla. I can assure you that I have not been idle over this Christmas break regarding this, and some good things are happening. There are specifically two upcoming events for St. Thecla families for them to learn about the school and meet me as well.

In the evening on Tuesday, January 21st I will go to St. Thecla to meet some of the interested parents of St. Thecla school to introduce myself as the new pastor, present some of the school/parish vision already in place, and welcome them. The goal is to build a bridge of trust and answer questions that they might have. Although I don’t know exactly how much, it seems fair that a tuition scholarship could be offered to current St. Thecla students for next year, especially considering the amount of assets they bring with them in this merger.

Also, they need to hear, just as the St. Cornelius parishioners do, that we are working on getting more parking available for the campus. There will likely also be a very open and accommodating spirit in terms of school uniforms for next year. The bottom line ultimately is that people from St. Thecla and St. Cornelius need to feel valued and welcome by us in this merger and that we should reasonably do what we can to make this a new home for everybody. They will also need to know they have input in planning this new future which they will have in the unification committee to be formed.

On January 22nd there will be a “shadow day” where any student from St. Thecla interested in coming here next year can come for a day, meet teachers and students, enjoy a pizza lunch and also have time to ask questions or voice their own ideas/concerns. So there are concrete steps being taken and I will be as transparent about our progress as we go along. There seems to be a much more hopeful spirit about the future in this school merger, so keep praying and keep faith in the Lord.

Just one final note about our feast day, the Baptism of the Lord. This event of Jesus’ life is so consistent with the Christmas season in that it shows the humility of God. The infinite God made Himself small in the womb of the Virgin Mary; He was humble. Today the sinless Son of God allowed Himself to be baptized as an example for us even though He had no need to be baptized. Christ has no sins to be forgiven and already has the fullness of divine life in Himself because He is truly God. But for our sake He was humble. May we be able to learn from Our Lord’s humility.

God bless you,
Father Mike Grisolano 
– Pastor of St. Tarcissus Parish



We are in a new calendar year, so it is fitting to begin with some parish/Renew My Church updates. In case you haven’t already heard, I will be appointed the pastor of the new parish being formed on July 1st. I am both very exited and a little nervous at the opportunities and challenges the new parish faces. I think the Lord is planning something good for all of us through this process. There are some really faithful and good people here at St. Tarcissus and I know there are the same at St. Thecla and St. Cornelius. My primary goal initially is plan opportunities for our three parishes to begin to connect and build relationships which will help us to actually grow into being one parish for real. The parish is the people first not primarily the campus or buildings.

I have also met with the Archdiocesan operations transition team for Renew My Church. For the next twelve months or so this team will help the parishes unite on so many levels. They will help with websites, bank account merging, sacramental records merging, staff transitions, etc… We will be developing a unity committee as well that will have parishioners from all three current parishes on it. I am also glad to hear that the Archdiocese is very committed to trying to help make our school a success and realizes the sensitive nature of the school merger. There are so many moving parts right now but having already spent nearly half a day with the operations transition team I can see that they are trying to set the future parish and school up with a solid, unified foundation.

As the current and future pastor, I promise to be transparent with you and to keep you informed about the process as best I can. Also, while I have lots of ideas and a sense of the vision that the Lord is leading us with, the goal is to have as much parishioner involvement as possible. The Holy Spirit more often works at the grass roots level so please pray about your own involvement in ministries and let us know about inspirations you think the Lord has for the new parish. We are in this together. I also want you to know that I intend to take full advantage of all the various offices and professional help the Archdiocese has to offer in its various departments. They realize that this is a challenging situation and are not leaving us all alone in this delicate time of transition.

While administration of the three properties, staff, and new parish school weigh on my mind, the most important thing is still for us to ask the Lord to help us unite as a people. The Archdiocese is helping tremendously to address the operations questions. We will also begin some form of unity Masses and other events to begin building the bridges… more on this to come.

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Epiphany and we might consider the magi for a moment. Traditionally they are depicted in art and statues as coming from the three continents that merge in the Middle East; Europe, Asia and Africa, the known world at the time. This shows that in Christ all are united regardless of race, language or any other differences. Jesus loves us all and saves us all and the Church He established is meant to be a home for all. No matter how different parishes might feel in the city of Chicago historically, what binds us together in Christ is far stronger. May we journey together to Christ as the magi did.

God bless you,
Father Mike Grisolano 
– Pastor of St. Tarcissus Parish



We have the final RMC decision that was announced on Friday, November 8th at St. Thecla. Cardinal Cupich has decided that: “St. Cornelius, St. Tarcissus, and St Thecla Parishes will unite to form a new parish and school effective July1, 2020. The new parish and school will have a new name.” This is a very difficult time right now for the closing parishes. As I said at all the Masses last weekend; “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15). We must acknowledge the tremendous Christ-like sacrifice that the parishioners of St Cornelius and St. Thecla are being expected to make. Can we have humble and welcoming hearts in recognizing their loss for the good of the whole, for the good of our future parish together? Here is the rationale behind the cardinal’s decision as the official statement says:

  • St. Tarcissus campus offers a central location in the new parish’s territory, including proximity to public transportation.
  • The archdiocese believes focusing the parish at St. Tarcissus’s campus is the most prudent use of assets for the long-term, based on the potential for how each campus could be used for ministry or marketed for sale/lease to generate revenue to be reinvested in the new parish.

You can get a hard copy of the full statement in the vestibule or read it in the ARTICLE BELOW. Obviously, not everyone from St. Cornelius or St. Thecla agree with the outcome so please try to be as understanding of the anger and hurt that they are experiencing.

Also, on Monday, November 18th, parish staff and leadership will gather to meet with the Priest Placement Board to give input about the desired qualities of the new pastor. This will be a more expedited process and the new pastor should be named in the coming weeks. There will be a chance for you to have input into this process. CLICK HERE to open / print a short questionnaire in PDF format that you can submit directly via email or fax to the Priest Placement Board.

All three parishes will also have input in a discernment process over the new name of the parish. Here are the basic parameters:

“The name of a new parish should be a title of Christ under a title already accepted in the liturgy or that speaks to a mystery in His life; the Blessed Virgin Mary under a title already accepted in the liturgy; the Trinity; the Holy Spirit; one of the angels; or a canonized saint. Parishes may choose a name based on a special devotion to a particular saint or because the saint represents a certain cultural or ethnic perspective.”

Cardinal Cupich has asked that newly united parishes do not consider a name that is already in use as the name of a parish, school, mission, or shrine in the archdiocese. The name for the new parish should have a feast day for the new parish to celebrate. Please consult the updated Directory of the Chicago Archdiocese to see the current list of parish names:

The full parish naming process will be posted on this page for you to read through and we’ll have more summaries in the bulletin. Additional details are also summarized on page six. After considering a list of names suggested by us, Cardinal Cupich will make a final decision on the new name.

I know you probably have a million more questions about this time of transition. We’ll try to keep you posted as best we can. The archdiocese will be providing an operations transition team to help with questions of staffing, the school, merging records and so forth. Please pray and stay committed and connected to the Lord and to one another.

God bless you,
Father Mike Grisolano – Pastor of St. Tarcissus Parish



November 8, 2019

The Milwaukee Avenue North Renew My Church grouping includes St. Cornelius Parish, St. Tarcissus Parish, St. Thecla Parish and School, and Pope Francis Global Academy’s North campus, all of which are located in Chicago.

DISCERNMENT PROCESS – The Milwaukee Avenue North grouping began the review and discernment process in spring 2019. The Grouping Feedback and Discernment Team, which was made up of representatives from each of the parishes and schools, met to review and discern the future parish and school structures for the area. Based on their meetings and discussions with the larger parish community, they submitted a feedback report for the Archdiocesan Standards and Recommendations Commission, which included representatives from across the Archdiocese of Chicago. The commission met to review the feedback report and other materials and information, including demographic data, financial summaries, and parish and grouping trends.

OUTCOME – Over the course of the past several weeks, Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, the archdiocese’s auxiliary bishops, and the archdiocese’s Presbyteral Council met to discuss the commission’s recommendation. Based upon those discussions and prayerful consideration, Cardinal Cupich made the following decisions:

St. Cornelius, St. Tarcissus, and St. Thecla Parishes will unite to form a new parish and school effective July 1, 2020. The new parish and school will have a new name. The leadership and parishioners of the new parish and school will discern possibilities for the new parish and school’s name, within guidelines provided by the archdiocese, and submit their considerations to Cardinal Cupich for his decision on the permanent name of the new parish and school. The intended timeline is for the new name to be confirmed prior to Catholic Schools Week in January 2020.

St. Tarcissus Church will be designated the parish church.

St. Thecla School and Pope Francis Global Academy’s North campus will unite as a newly named parish school at the St. Tarcissus campus for the 2020/21 school year (beginning July 1, 2020).

Additionally, the Renew My Church Commission recommended all regularly scheduled Masses transition to St. Tarcissus Church no later than November 28-29, 2020 (First Sunday of Advent 2020).

The Spanish Mass currently celebrated at St. Cornelius Church will continue with the new parish, transitioning to St. Tarcissus Church no later than November 28-29, 2020.

The archdiocese’s Priests’ Placement Board is working to identify a pastor whose gifts and skills will support the community’s needs to grieve, heal, and unify with a fresh start as a new parish. The Board will propose a candidate for Cardinal Cupich who will make the final appointment decision.

RATIONALE – Current parish structures limit our ability to invest in ministry. Uniting as one parish will support focused investment in ministry.

The recommendation to transition all regularly scheduled Masses to St. Tarcissus Church supports the vision of building a united community by worshipping together in one church. This also supports a reasonable Mass schedule based on priest availability for Masses.

It is our hope that uniting St. Thecla School and Pope Francis Global Academy’s North campus will provide a strong foundation for Catholic education as a parish school. Through the grouping’s discernment process, the feedback was clear it would be better to locate a school at one campus rather than attempt an upper campus / lower campus model.

When discerning which campus would be most suitable for the long-term future of the new parish, the following considerations influenced the decision to choose the St. Tarcissus campus as the parish church and school campus:

  • St. Tarcissus campus offers a central location in the new parish’s territory, including proximity to public transportation.
  • The archdiocese believes focusing the parish at St. Tarcissus’s campus is the most prudent use of assets for the long-term, based on the potential for how each campus could be used for ministry or marketed for sale/lease to generate revenue to be re-invested in the new parish.
    • All assets of the three current parish communities become assets of the new parish. Revenue generated from sale or lease remains with the new parish for re-investment in the new parish.
  • The archdiocese recognizes concerns about current parking constraints at St. Tarcissus. The archdiocese’s operations transition team will prioritize supporting the new parish’s leadership to evaluate the best option for increasing parking for the new parish at St. Tarcissus campus. Addressing concerns about the ease of physical accessibility into the church is also a priority in the transition period.

The Spanish Mass currently celebrated at St. Cornelius will continue with the new parish, transitioning to St. Tarcissus Church, considering the growth in the worshipping community and limited availability of Spanish Masses in nearby parishes. Questions about a Polish Mass were asked during the discernment process. Based on the availability of Polish Masses in nearby parishes, a Polish Mass will not be started in the new parish.

NEXT STEPS – Over the next few months, the archdiocese, Frs. Grisolano, Fallon, and Rom, who are the current priest leaders of the Milwaukee Avenue North grouping parishes, and school leadership will support the communities to transition to the new parish and school structure. The archdiocese’s Renew My Church Accompaniment Team will work alongside the pastors and school leadership to ensure that the uniting faith communities and staff members are supported through this time of change.

All parishes of the grouping will embark upon the next phase of the renewal process to become a stronger, more sustainable presence for the future capable of reaching more people in their work of making disciples of Jesus Christ, building communities with one another and inspiring witness in the world around us.



OBJECTIVE – Engage each of the uniting parishes in a prayerful process to generate three to five possible names for the new united parish entity. The process is led by the current pastors assisted by the Naming Team made up of representatives from the RMC Grouping Team and/or Parish Pastoral Council members, deacons or staff. The Naming Team will present to Cardinal Cupich a list of 3 – 5 suggested names and rationale for selecting each name.


  1. Pastors of uniting parishes receive the Naming a New Parish packet containing guidelines and timeline and prayer service for naming a new parish.
  2. The new pastor will the other current pastor creates a Naming Team. The Naming Team members could be selected from members of the Renew My Church Grouping Team from each parish, and/or Parish Council members from each of the uniting parishes, or another transition team with parishioners from each of the parishes created by the pastor. The pastor invites the Naming Team to an Initial Naming Team meeting for prayer and reflection and to receive an outline of the New Parish Naming Team Process.
  3. The role of the Naming Team is to engage the staffs and various parish groups from both parishes to generate potential names and the rationale for the potential names for the new parish. Naming Team Responsibilities for the New Parish Naming Process include: method, timeline, collating suggestions, and communication.
  4. Pastors announce the beginning of the New Parish Naming Process. The New Parish Naming Process is communicated to parishioners through bulletin announcements, pulpit announcements, website announcements, email, special flyers, posters or any other communication methods that meet the needs of the parish communities. Individuals and parish groups at each of the parishes are invited to suggest names and the rationale for choosing this name for the new parish to the pastor and the Naming Team. These Suggested Names will be compiled into a Survey that will be distributed at all Masses one weekend for feedback from the entire parish community.
  5. Pastors and Naming Teams select a date to conclude the New Parish Name Suggestion period. Pastors and Naming Team compile suggested names and the rationale for each suggested by parish groups and individual parishioners. The Naming Team submits Name suggestions and the rationale for each name to Fr. Jason Malave, Cardinal Cupich’s Liaison to Renew My Church, to Fr. Jason Malave will verify that all your suggested names meet the guidelines, and that there are not multiple Groupings interested in the same names. If multiple Groupings are interested in the same name, Fr. Jason will contact the pastors. For different pastoral reasons, a name proposed by a parish community may need to be removed from the list before the Parish Name Surveys are prepared. If this situation would arise, the pastor would be contacted by Fr. Jason Malave. After review, parishes will be notified by Fr. Jason Malave that they can prepare New Parish Name Surveys for parishioners.
  6. Parish wide Name Survey at weekend Masses: All parishes uniting into one new parish should conduct the parish surveys at the same time. Parishioners can be surveyed al the weekend Masses in the Easter season or early summer.
  7. Naming Team gathers and collates the results of parishioners’ Name survey. If possible, based on reported interest in each name, the Naming Team may be able to list the names and their rationale in an order of preference. Prepare a list of the top 3-5 suggestions and the rationale for choosing each name to be the name of the new parish.
  8. Present the top 3-5 choices following the parish survey to Fr. Jason Malave at All names submitted will be presented by Fr. Jason Malave to Cardinal Cupich and the Bishops who will discuss the names and the rationale for each of them at the Episcopal Council meeting. A decision will be announced following the Episcopal Council Meeting.


But now says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name. You are mine. Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you…Fear not, for I am with you.” – Isaiah 43: 1, 4, 5

A newly formed parish will be given a new name to mark the beginning of a new community.

What names are appropriate for parishes?

The name of a new parish should be a title of Christ under a title already accepted in the liturgy or that speaks to a mystery in His life; the Blessed Virgin Mary under a title already accepted in the liturgy; the Trinity; the Holy Spirit; one of the angels; or a canonized saint.

Parishes may choose a name based on a special devotion to a particular saint or because the saint represents a certain cultural or ethnic perspective.

One place to obtain a list of names and a short description of each saint is

Other helpful links, listed below, can direct your attention to saints who have been more recently canonized and by which pope.

Is there any special guidance for proposing a new name for a new parish from Cardinal Cupich?

Yes, Cardinal Cupich has asked that newly united parishes do not consider a name that is already in use as the name of a parish, school, mission, or shrine in the archdiocese. The name for the new parish should have a feast day for the new parish to celebrate. Please consult the updated Directory of the Chicago Archdiocese at

Could the name of the new parish be the name of one of the current parishes?

Normally newly formed parishes will receive new names. However, in some circumstances the Cardinal may decide to retain the name of one of the parishes for the name of the newly formed parish.

Could the name of the new parish combine both existing parish names such as Holy Name and St. Mary?

There is no hard and fast rule about this, but often there are advantages to choose a new name for the new community. New beginnings often call for new names. There are examples in the diocese of the new parish reflecting the names of the uniting parishes. On the Near North Side, the parish is Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph Parish. In Northbrook, the parish is St. Norbert and Our Lady of the Brook.

Who will choose the name of the parish?

Cardinal Cupich, after receiving input from the community, will name the new parish community. Ordinarily, Cardinal Cupich will receive three names for consideration from the community. It is possible he may choose a name outside of the names submitted for his consideration.

Who will be involved in giving suggestions about the new parish name?

The Naming Team, created by the pastor, will lead a prayerful process which will generate names and rationale for the naming of the parish. Parish leaders and parishioners will be invited to express a preference for the name of the new parish entity.

Will our church building have a new name?

No. Once a church building is dedicated, it keeps its name. For instance, in Waukegan, the united parish is named: Most Blessed Trinity Parish with three worship sites: Holy Family, Immaculate Conception and Queen of Peace.




“For I know well the plans I have in mind for you… plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11

With trust in our Lord, we step forward to be led by the Holy Spirit toward our future.

What’s Next for our Parish? – Now that the specific decision concerning our grouping and parish has been shared, the next effort will focus on supporting all that needs to occur during the transition. A dedicated team from the Archdiocese will provide hands-on assistance to ensure the most effective and positive implementation of any necessary changes, such as financial and facilities planning.

  • Members of the archdiocesan team will be on-site in the coming months to introduce themselves, provide an overview of the support process, and gather feedback from staff.
  • Specific and meaningful guidance will be provided regarding the parish naming process. Recognizing the emotional and personal nature of this – we are, in fact, seeing the birth of a new, unified parish community – there are very helpful steps that the Church provides.
  • We will hold opportunities for parish-wide prayer and liturgies, reflection, and sharing.

Keeping an Eye on Why We Need Renewal – With each step forward, we must keep reminding ourselves why this is so important to our parish, our families, and our own faith lives. Look around and what do you see? Fewer and fewer people attending mass. An alarming number of people choosing to reject any religious affiliation. A broken world that doesn’t even know it’s broken.

  1. Jesus is calling us to follow Him more closely and seek out His lost sheep. As Catholics baptized into the life and love of God we are called – and commissioned – to discern our part in making disciples. What do we need to do to ensure we are not the last Catholics in our family? How do we practically evangelize others and promote/encourage vocations to the priesthood, religious life and married life?
  2. Stretched, limited resources have challenged parish ministries; even parishes with abundant resources struggle to engage youth and young adults. Christ is calling us to discern what parish and school vitality means in today’s world and to build communities. How do we work together, across parishes and throughout the Archdiocese, to strengthen each other today and create Catholic communities that are sustainable for the future?
  3. As Christians, we bear Christ’s light and hope in the world. Just as Jesus moved among the people, Pope Francis implores us to go out to the world and to those on the margins. How can we work together in new ways to inspire witness within a world that is numb to the real presence of God?

We Are a People of Great Faith and Hope – With any discernment process comes an element of change and self-giving infused with great hope knowing that what our Lord Jesus Christ has in store for us is so much bigger than what we could imagine for ourselves. The future will be strong and vibrant for the current generation, as well as many more to come!

We are excited and eager to see the fruits of this work come to life. At the same time, we are fully aware of how difficult this change will feel. For many of us, you can’t get much more personal than how, where, and when we practice our faith and encounter Jesus in the sacraments. Fortunately, He is our faithful Shepherd who teaches us that “with God all things are possible.” We will truly marvel at His handiwork in all of this. Please continue to pray for a successful transition and renewal that will lead to greater discipleship, community and witness for our parish, your loved ones, and our entire Church.

– The Renew My Church Team of the Archdiocese of Chicago


Renew My Church: A Prayer

As followers of Christ, all that we do – the very work of our mission – must be rooted in prayer. Let us take a look at the prayer specifically written to bless our Renew My Church efforts:

Lord Jesus, you speak to us today, as you spoke to holy men and women who have gone before us.

In every age and in our own time, you call to us and say: Renew My Church.

Pour out the gift of your Holy Spirit upon us, and so enable us to hear you clearly
to listen to each other attentively
to imagine our future boldly
to discern your direction wisely
to persevere in your holy will courageously
to stay together in charity
to surrender our own plans readily
to embrace the greater good
to hand on your gifts to future generations.

May we remain in the holy company of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the apostles, and all the saints.

May their example and presence inspire us with patient confidence in the work of your grace.

We ask this of you who live and reign with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

In these words, we acknowledge that our Lord is bringing us into a family activity that spans the life of the Church; we are united in the communion of saints, as well as the holy men and women who laid the bricks of our parish Churches and built the faithful heritage of the archdiocese.

We beseech the Lord to pour out the Holy Spirit so that we are graced with what is necessary to truly renew beginning with the ability to hear and listen to God and our neighbor. This is so fundamentally important as it reminds us that our focus must be on what the Lord is speaking to us and what our fellow Catholics in our neighboring parishes and across the archdiocese are sharing with us. Once we can open our ears and our hearts to God and neighbor, we can imagine a future that is bigger than what we’re holding onto right now.

We invite you to reflect upon each line of this prayer slowly and deliberately. Thousands of people across our archdiocese and beyond are praying these words on behalf of our local Church. Allow this to become your prayer, as well.

Renew My Church Team – Archdiocese of Chicago


Renew My Church: The San Damiano Cross Keeps Our Focus

A while back, we shared the story of St. Francis hearing Jesus call to him from the San Damiano cross. Praying before this icon of our Lord, St. Francis of Assisi heard Jesus call to him: “Go repair my Church, which, as you see, is falling completely into ruin.”

At first, St. Francis initially took this to mean he was to repair the church buildings of San Damiano. However, he eventually discerned that Jesus was calling him to rebuild the spiritual life and vitality of the entire earthly Church. Likewise, we must see that the future of the Catholic Church is bigger than any of our parish buildings.

This icon of Jesus helps us remain focused on three very important realities as we renew our faith lives, parishes and the archdiocese:

  • It portrays Jesus speaking to us even though he is dying, which serves as a reminder that we need not be afraid to take up this work even if it costs us something, for Jesus is with us always.
  • Jesus is surrounded by others, highlighting the fact that, as we take up the challenge of renewal, our unity should not be diminished but strengthened.
  • Jesus is also featured as the Risen One at the top of the cross – a sign of hope to us that in this renewal, which will require us to die to ourselves and familiar patterns, Jesus is offering us new life and vitality for the future.

Allow the image of St. Francis hearing Christ call to him from the San Damiano cross to guide your own prayer for Renew My Church as we take up the work of renewal together.

Renew My Church Team – Archdiocese of Chicago