Renew My Church: Westfield Park Grouping Update
The Renew My Church Westfield Park grouping includes Divine Infant parish and school, Divine Providence parish and school, St. Louise de Marillac parish and school, and St. Barbara parish.
The Westfield Park grouping began the Renew My Church review and discernment process earlier this year. The Grouping Feedback and Discernment Team, which was made up of representatives from each of the parishes, met to review and discern the future church, parish and school structures for the Westchester, Brookfield and La Grange Park areas. Based on their meetings and discussions with the larger parish community, they submitted a report for the Archdiocesan Standards and Recommendations Commission, which included representatives from across the Archdiocese.
The Archdiocesan Commission met to review the feedback report and other materials and information, including demographic data, financial summaries, and parish and grouping trends.
Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, and the Archdiocese’s Presbyteral Council met, and based on the Archdiocesan Commission’s recommendation and other considerations, the Cardinal made a final decision regarding the grouping’s structure.
No church buildings will close.
St. Barbara and St. Louise de Marillac Parishes will unite to form a new parish, effective July 1, 2019, retaining both churches as active worship sites of the new parish. St. Louise de Marillac school will continue with its current structure and programming as a ministry of the newly united parish.
Divine Infant and Divine Providence Parishes will unite to form a new parish, effective July 1, 2019, retaining both churches as active worship sites of the new parish. This new parish will have a single school housed on the current campus of Divine Providence School. Thus, Divine Infant Jesus School will close, effective June 30, 2019.
Student enrollment has been dropping at Divine Infant Jesus School for several years, and this has created significant financial challenges. Despite best efforts to recruit students and restore the school to viability, finances have not improved. Based on this and local demographic projections, moving forward with a single school to serve the united parish was determined to be the best way to ensure long-term quality and sustainability in Catholic education.
Through these new parish structures, St. Barbara and St. Louise de Marillac Parishes will unite their resources, as will Divine Infant and Divine Providence, to create vital, life-giving parishes with multiple worship sites, each parish with a strong school. With these viable structures in place, the new parishes, will work on new ways to become a stronger, more sustainable presence for the future capable of reaching more people in their work of making disciples of Jesus Christ.
In the coming months, the Archdiocese will work with all involved to ensure an orderly and smooth transition to the new structures. The Archdiocese’s Priest Placement Board will work with the community to identify pastors to lead the new parishes.
The Archdiocese will work with both Divine Infant School faculty and staff to find future employment within the Archdiocesan system. In order to assist school families in this transition, the Archdiocese will work closely with near-by Catholic schools to assist them with the transition to their next Catholic school.