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Renew My Church

Archdiocese of Chicago


October 2, 2022




September 18, 2022


The Naming Process Has Begun!

Will we remain “Ascension-St. Edmund Parish” or will we unite under another parish identity?

 Until September 25, 2022, we are seeking your suggestions and rationale for this very important decision for our faith community. Remember, the names of the Catholic churches and the Catholic schools in Oak Park will retain their names. Both parishes in Oak Park are prayerfully seeking their own future identities. St. Catherine-St. Lucy/St. Giles also began their naming process this past weekend. 

Forms for your suggestions are located at the church entrances, at the Parish Offices, are available at all parish meetings, and can be entered electronically using this link: .Parishioners with special needs may contact the Parish Offices and their contribution can be added verbally. The office staff will write down your information and forward it to the Unification Team.

 Everyone is invited to participate.

Talk to your friends, ministry colleagues, your children, your parents, and your grandparents. Once all suggestions are received, a list will be compiled of names that meet the criteria established by Cardinal Cupich, especially that names may not duplicate other locations in the archdiocese. The list and rationale for each suggestion will then be provided to the parish through a Feedback Survey. There will be a two-week response period before the top selection(s) are then presented to the Presbyter Council (attended by the Cardinal) in early November. The rationale for your choice may be a deciding factor for Cardinal Cupich, who will make the ultimate decision.  

What happens then?

Once our parish name is decided, we can proceed with our unification celebration, share our stories, further develop our Mission Statement, proceed with unified branding of our parish, update banking accounts, combine our bulletin and websites, establish our unified Parish Council and Finance Committees, and address our ministries. Some ministries will combine, others may be pertinent to only one campus, others may be added. We must let the Spirit guide us.  

For questions, comments, concerns: .


September 9, 2022

The Parish Naming Process Begins

The name of our new, unified parish will be the way we identify ourselves in our parish Bulletin, on our checkbook and contracts, in the way we talk about ourselves in our Catholic community, and even more important, the spirit we share and what we represent to others.  

The Unification Team encourages all parishioners to suggest names that will convey an inspiring message. We want it to be a name that we hold in our hearts and that we are proud to project to our neighbors and friends.  

The naming process begins with your suggestions, which we will gather over the next few weeks. After that, there will be a survey among parishioners to determine the most popular of the qualified names submitted.  

The plan is to present the top three names to the presbyteral council of diocesan and religious priests who advise the Cardinal. Usually, three names are recommended to the Cardinal. Most often he selects one of these recommended names. On rare occasions, after prayerful discernment, the Cardinal may determine a different name. We expect to have a final determination of our name by year’s end.



 This is your opportunity to bring forward names that you feel will represent and inspire our community. You will receive a suggestion form at all Masses in coming weeks, stating the weekend of September 10 and 11. You will also have the choice to enter your suggestions online, as indicated on the form.  

Here are some guidelines that you will see on the form:

·         Names that already exist as names of parishes or any buildings of the Archdiocese of Chicago will be eliminated from consideration.

·         Names must represent either various names of Jesus, names of saints (including various names of Mary) or solemnities and feast days of the Church, such as the Assumption of Mary.

Here are some resources that may spark ideas:


·  List of saints canonized by Pope Francis  

· List of saints by pope


The names of the churches and new parishes in the following lists and the names of schools or other buildings in the Archdiocese will not be accepted:

· List of churches in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago %E2%80%93




On rare occasions, after prayerful discernment, the Cardinal may determine a different name. We expect to have a final determination of our name by year’s end.




August, 7, 2022

Time to talk about our Unification

We will be having several information meetings to explain and discuss the unification process for Ascension and St. Edmund parish. While the new combined parish offers exciting possibilities, it is also difficult to let go of the parishes that we have held dear for generations. The meetings will give parishioners an opportunity to share their concerns, their hopes, and their dreams for the future. There are endless possibilities for what we can become as we move forward to strengthen our church for future generations. We are making history. Several meetings are planned in September:

Ministries Meeting, September 7 at 7pm in the Pine Room on the Ascension campus.

  • This first meeting is intended for the leaders of the parish who are active in our various ministries and commissions. We will provide an overview of the process of unification, review the current status of ministries and commissions, and open discussions for future possibilities so that we can continue to meet the needs of our evolving parish.

All Parishioner Meetings Thursday, September 15 at 7pm in the church at St. Edmund campus and Sunday, September 18 at 1:00pm in the Pine Room at the Ascension campus.

  • These meetings are being scheduled both during the week and on a Sunday to accommodate as many parishioners’ schedules as possible. The intent of these meetings will be to provide an overview of the process of unification to date, identify immediate needs, and discuss the anticipated process going forward. These meetings will include brief presentations followed by small group discussions. Questions, concerns, and hopes of parishioners will be shared.


June 26, 2022



May 8, 2022


_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

February, 2022




Renew My Church—What’s Next?

Join us Virtually or In Person on Tuesday, March 8th to Find Out

 Dear Community Members,

You are invited to a special meeting on March the 8th at 7 PM in Saint Giles McDonough Hall or to participate in the meeting on line via a Zoom link. The purpose of this gathering is to share information and help understand our continuing Renew My Church Process. We will learn more about how this journey is both Spiritual – reencountering Jesus Christ as disciples and parish communities – as well as Structural – ensuring our parishes have adequate resources for vitality. We will learn more about this current phase, Organization Transition, which will move us into the third phase: Building Our New Reality. There will be one meeting for all four parishes as we are unified into two new parish realities. Please plan now to join us for this informative meeting, Tuesday, March 8th at 7 PM. Please note Please note that the Zoom link will be available in an upcoming bulletin.




January 28, 2022 

Important Renew My Church Information for Parishioners 

Dear Parishioners,

We are pleased that Bishop Kevin Birmingham, our regional bishop and Cardinal Cupich’s representative to our region of the archdiocese, will be with us on Friday, January 28, at 8:00pm, to join us in prayer and share an important update on the future of our parishes. This will be held online. Please go to  for details about how to access the meeting from your computer or smartphone.


December 5, 2021





November 21, 2020




September 22, 2021


Dear St. Edmund Members,


We invite you to lend your voices and efforts to the possible ways in which our communities are being called to the Renew My Church process (RMC). Renewal requires envisioning, planning and creating new ways to bring Jesus Christ to others. To the end, below are some offered scenarios  showing potential models of how our parishes could be configured in the near future. These scenarios are being shared with you for your review and were discussed at meetings scheduled for each parish community  October 3rd or October 4th  Please consult your parish website or bulletin for the time and location of your parish community’s meeting. Please know NO DECISIONS HAVE BEEN MADE.  Also, these scenarios do not affect parish schools.


We hope you take the time to read through the scenarios, consider them and what might be the best structure that enables us to breathe renewed life into our efforts to make disciples, to build our communities and to inspire witness to who we are as followers of Jesus Christ. Please send you comments and recommendations to


Fr. John McGivern

Pastor, St. Edmund Church

Administrator, St Catherine/St. Lucy Parish



July 18, 2021

Renew My Church Update

The Renew My Church parish grouping process has begun. An important initial step is a discovery process as members of each of the 4 Oak Park parishes (Ascension, St. Catherine/St. Lucy, St. Edmund, and St. Giles) make formal visits to the other parishes to learn more about each worshipping community. St. Edmund will be hosting two visits – one after the 11am mass on Sunday, July 25 and another on the evening of July 27.

Parishioners are invited to prayerfully consider what our particular parish strengths are in order that we may share them with the grouping “teams” from the other parishes during these meetings. Feel free to discuss your thoughts with any member of the parish grouping team (Don Giannetti, Thomas Mackey, John Martin, Denise Walsh, and Tom Wheeler). You may also share any suggestions with John Martin via email at

Thank you.


June 10, 2021

Parish Renew My Church Grouping Begins to Meet

Dear St. Edmund Parishioners,

 The heart of our Renew My Church effort is the parish grouping process—the goal of which is to ensure that all parishes across the archdiocese have the vision, leadership, resources, and operational foundation necessary to create an effective culture of evangelization that makes disciples, builds communities, and inspires witness.

 Changing church attendance patterns over many decades has left many parishes heavily burdened by operational and financial concerns that limit their ability to have expansive ministry programs around evangelization and discipleship formation. A decreasing number of priests available to serve at parishes creates a need to rethink our leadership model to include a stronger lay leadership core team with proper governance structures for accountability. There is a need to ensure that we have a common understanding of proven evangelization programs and processes that are rooted in Catholic teaching.

 All 344 parishes in the diocese have been joined into 98 groupings. Within these groupings, parishes will determine opportunities for collaboration and unity following a structured process for discernment, transition, and building a future together.  

Many of today’s challenges require looking and working beyond our individual parish. The only way to make sustainable change in our communities is to work together in new and bold ways. Groupings are called to greater collaboration to take on these challenges with bold vision.

 Our grouping consists of the 4 Oak Park parishes. Grouping parishes together allows for local-level ownership and planning to take place and ensures that local feedback is present within the process of renewal. Grouping allows for assessment of new parish models. Additionally, parish groupings help strengthen relationships between parishes, provide a better evaluation of the current realities within their community, make for a clearer discernment of what configuration would be best for their community, and more effectively identify what they each have to share and what the spiritual renewal in their community will look like. 

A set of parishes is considered a good grouping if they: are reasonably close geographically. serve the same broader community (e.g. the parishes serve the same public-school district). have obvious commonalities and affinities (e.g. parishioners occasionally attend mass at more than one parish in the grouping).

 Here at St. Edmund Parish, after much consultation and consideration, the 5 members of our parish grouping are: Don Giannetti, Thomas Mackey, John Martin, Denise Walsh and Tom Wheeler. Don Giannetti is the parish Pastoral Staff Member on the group and all 5 of the individuals have demonstrated leadership and wisdom in a variety of ways in the parish.

 The first meeting took place on Tuesday, June 8th. There will be several gatherings throughout the course of the next several months. Our goal is to create a few scenarios for what the new Catholic footprint will be in the Oak Park area. Once submitted, Cardinal Cupich will make the final determination as to what changes will actually be made.

 I will continue to update you with information when it is made available. Please pray for the success of these proceedings and that they will indeed serve to make a more vibrant, healthy and sustainable Catholic community for everyone who currently worships at the 4 Oak Park parishes.



May 23, 2021

An Update on Renew My Church

A Letter from the Priests of the Oak Park Parishes to the People We Serve in all 4 Parishes

 Dear Parishioners and Friends,

   Beginning in June, the 4 Oak Park parishes, which make up 1 grouping, will begin the process of discerning the future of the Catholic Church in Oak Park. Change is challenging and difficult, but when it comes to the vitality and the future of the Church we love, we must remain open to what that future may hold.

   All of the parishes are in the process of developing a team of 5 parishioners (not including the pastor or administrator) who will regularly gather throughout the next several months, all with the goal of developing possible scenarios which will help in the revitalization of the local worshiping communities. There is a trained facilitator who will lead the groups in their discernment.

   It would be inaccurate simply to understand this process as a means by which parishes may merge, consolidate or even close. The ultimate goal is to develop worshipping communities that are sustainable in every way. Yes, that certainly includes financially, as well as taking an honestlook at the health and safety of our buildings. Even more than that, however, we must be sure that all of our resources—be that priest personnel, parish staffs, and our lay leadership are all being utilized in the most effective and efficient ways, that will create even greater life-giving and vital worship communities for all of you.

  This process requires that everyone let go of a too narrow, parochial perspective of what it means to be Church and to embrace what a new, revitalized, Catholic footprint would look like. This is not an easy task for anyone to accept, including us, your priests. After much prayer and reflection, however, we have come to believe that it is the right and necessary task. The current model of parish life in Oak Park is not sustainable for much longer, and a new vision is especially needed. We welcome this opportunity for us to grow, to evolve and to change together, and we invite you to join us on this new and important journey. We need you to accompany us on this journey and we can not imagine embarking upon it without you.

   This can be an exciting and life-giving opportunity, but it requires that everyone set aside the “this is how it has always been” mentality and embrace what may come. Yes, there will be challenges and changes, and yes, the future is frightening and uncertain, but what awaits us will be revitalizing, exciting and sustainable for Catholics today and the new generation of Catholics who are soon to follow.

   It seems appropriate that on this occasion of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit filled the first disciples with hope and strength, and set them afire to share their faith in the Lord Jesus, that we reach out to you today. Symbolic of our desire to walk together into a renewed, sustainable and Spirit filled Church in Oak Park, beginning this weekend, all 4 of our parishes will begin to pray the following petition at mass every weekend, reminding us that we are all one faith community and that we must all grow together.  

For all the Catholic parishes of Oak Park, and the

people they serve, that as we enter the Renew My

Church process, we may be open to developing new

opportunities for unity and the deepening of our

shared lives of faith, we pray…

   Please know that we pray for each of you every day. Let us always remember to pray for one another, and for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we now embark on this holy task of renewal and revitalization of the faith communities and people we so love.


Fr. Carl Morello, Pastor, St. Giles Parish; Administrator, Ascension Parish

Fr. Rex Pillai, Associate Pastor, Ascension Parish

 Fr. John McGivern, Pastor, St. Edmund Parish; Administrator, St. Catherine/St. Lucy Parish






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St. Edmund Parish, 188 South Oak Park Avenue, Oak Park, Illinois 60302
Phone 708-848-4417 //  Fax Line: 708-848-0049
Parish contact: Christine Rousakis (" // Web site editor: Michael Guerin (
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Website established September 1, 2001