Renew My Church
The Archdiocese of Chicago has decreed that, effective July 1, 2021, St. Luke and St. Bernardine will be united into one parish with the title of St. Luke and St. Bernardine Parish. Both churches will remain open as worship sites at least until a review of the parish operations will be undertaken in three years.
Rev. Stan Kuca was appointed pastor of the new unified parish, and he will work on the next phase of transitions with facilitators from the archdiocesan Renew My Church staff and a lay leadership team that is being formed now.
Mass schedules and current pastoral staff will remain in place until the new parish structure is completed. There are no changes to St. Luke School, which will continue to serve the unified parish and the wider Catholic community around it as the school celebrates its 100th anniversary.
The decree concluded the first phase (Discernment & Decisions) of the Renew My Church process for our two churches. We are now in the Operations Transition Phase, which may take until the end of 2021 to develop a new vision and strategic plan for the parish with the ultimate goal of creating an evangelizing culture that deepens discipleship and equips them to bring others into an encounter with Our Lord.
This will take stepping out of our comfort zone, our patterns of behavior that have become familiar and comforting; letting go of our particular designs, so that a greater good can flourish and so that the work is most evidently the work of God and not the work our hands."
A decree is a pronouncement or document that formalizes a decision within the Church. In this case, the decree included here concerns the decision for our parishes to unify as a new parish after our grouping’s Renew My Church discernment.
In our case the decree states that St. Luke Church will be the parish church of the unified parish and that St. Bernardine will be a church of the new parish.
A couple of notes on this:
When two or more parishes unite as one parish, Rome requires that the united parish’s sacramental records be kept in one place and for that location to be designated in the decree as the parish church. Thus, in the future the sacramental records of the new parish, as well as the past sacramental records of each of St. Luke and St. Bernardine will be maintained at the office on the St. Luke campus.
Second, the decree states that each of the churches of St. Luke and St. Bernardine will be churches of the new parish. When a new parish is formed, all of the assets of each former parish become part of the new parish. This includes the church buildings. Also, Canon Law requires that the patron saint who was closest to our Lord's lifetime be ranked first in any new title. Since St. Luke was a Gospel writer of the 1st century, his name is used first in the parish's new name. (St. Bernardine was a 15th century Franciscan in Italy.)
For the immediate future, all calls and correspondence may be sent to the same office you are used to contacting -- St. Luke's or St. Bernardine's. Any online giving accounts, such as GiveCentral.org, will continue as is, and any checks may be written out to St. Luke or St. Bernardine Parish. These will change when the IRS approves a new federal identification for the merged parish entity. We will keep everyone informed as any changes are needed.
Click here to read a comprehensive overview of the Renew My Church initiative, and consult these resources for more explanations of Renew My Church as it affects our unified parish and the entire archdiocese:
Renew My Church Main Website
Facts and Stats for the Archdiocese
Renew My Church FAQs
A Prayer For
Renew My Church
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.