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St. Edmund Parish Rectory Renewal 2019

Our Rectory/Parish Center Prayer

O God of all Goodness and Love, We thank you for the people and places that offer us welcome and belonging. As we embark upon our rectory and parish center reconstruction, we ask your blessing, not only that we may bring this project to completion, but that it, too, may become a place of welcome and belonging. Please bless and keep safe the laborers who will rebuild our parish home, and may we always remember that in keeping Jesus Christ as our surest foundation, we remain safe and secure in your loving care. We ask this through Christ who is our foundation and our support. Amen.

_ _ _ _

A Message from Fr. John McGivern

January 20, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

Last weekend, we initiated our capital campaign to raise funds to make our parish rectory a safe and healthy place for future priests to live and work, and for our par-ish staffs to serve our parishioners. I am aware that not every parishioner was able to be in attendance, and the snowfall may also have kept some people away, so I shall recap what I shared at all the masses last weekend. First, it seems important to state at the outset that I have prayed and prayed, and consulted numerous individuals in ascertaining how to move forward with the rectory. I, along with the Parish Council, the Finance Council, the Parish Staff, and the many others with whom I have spoken, have determined that the best course of action is to complete the project that we began several years ago. You can see that we have a beautiful worship space. Our school building is overall in good working order, and Murphy Hall functions well (though the temporary office space has taken away 1/2 of its previous size). The only real problem among our parish facilities is the rectory. Several years ago, at the time we were prepared to initiate a rectory capital campaign, the Archdiocese intervened and explained that every parish must support the To Teach Who Christ Is Campaign. Our own plans were put on hold, but the 60% of the raised revenue from the campaign was earmarked exclusively for the rectory project. Our share of the revenue came to $520,000. There were a few parishioners who made direct donations to the parish for the rectory, and we were also able to save some money, bringing our grand total saved for the rectory currently $980,000. This includes the $100,000 in expenses for professional architectural and also demolition ser-vices. The challenges have been many; here are the main ones:

• The rectory is inhabitable due to toxic mold and air-borne asbestos.

• One-half of Murphy Hall was needed for new office space. The Tuesday night homeless shelter ministry was therefore forced to move to another location. (I hope that we can bring the shelter ministry back here once the rectory is again operational.)

• Prior to beginning the rectory project, we also had the difficult task of eliminating our $1.2 million debt to the Archdiocese. (Currently, we have a $500,000 debt to the Arch, stemming from our challenges with the former parish school.)

• Our progress was delayed by several years as the To Teach Who Christ Is Campaign pledges had to be ful-filled by parishioners. Additionally, we received only 60% of the revenue from that campaign. Now, we are finally poised to take this final push to complete the rectory project. This time…

• 100% of the revenue raised will stay at St. Edmund’s. • If every parish family shares in the cost of the project, raising $700,000 will not be overly burdensome. For example, if 300 parish families support the campaign, then each family would need to donate $2,333. Divided by 3 years, that comes to $65 monthly for 36 months.

 Most of you have heard about the Archdiocesan Re-new My Church initiative. In order to have vital and sustainable parishes, over the course of several years, the Archdiocese will be combining and/or closing parishes. It is an important endeavor and one I support. We do not know with certainly what the future is for St. Edmund Parish, or for any parish of the Archdiocese of Chicago. What I do know, however, is the following:

• We, you and I, have a responsibility to take care of our parish buildings for the future use of the Church.

• In doing so, we are being the good neighbors that we are called to be—today.

• We are well more than half-way to our goal and all of the revenue already received is earmarked for the exclusive use of the rectory project.

• We are a vibrant, active and also the most visible Catholic presence here in the heart of Oak Park.

• We serve our parishioners and the local community through the sacramental life of the parish and through numerous and ongoing social justice initiatives and endeavors. To name only a few:

o Our ministry to the homeless;

o Our support of those who are poor and marginalized; o Our outreach to the hospitalized and homebound;

o Our commitment to the rights of the unborn and all vulnerable human beings;

o Our advocacy for women and children seeking a way out of domestic abuse;

o Our commitment to protecting the environment; o Our commitment to ending gun violence;

o Our commitment to ending the sin of racism;

o Our support for those who are grieving and our commitment to bury our beloved dead

 The Church needs what we do and so, I feel very confident that whatever changes may come, there will always be a Catholic presence right here where we are now planted. In making the rectory functional and safe, and with accessibility for everyone, including those with disabilities, we are paving the way for a bright future. Whatever that future may precisely look like, we cannot know for sure, but with all that we do know today, it is my hope and prayer that you will join me in this important endeavor. St. Edmund Parish will, of course, always be more than its buildings. What makes it most attractive is its beautiful, beating and generous heart, found in the people of every age, race and background who are welcoming to all and whose shared faith makes us one. Sincerely,

In the weeks to come, you will find regular rectory project updates in the bulletin, on the parish web-site, its Facebook page and in mailers. The rectory has been gutted and we’re ready for the construction. To see more photos of the current state of the rectory, please check out the St. Edmund Parish Facebook page.



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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