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Archdiocese announces church unifications in Back of the Yards and in south suburbs

The archdiocese hopes to produce “vibrant, life-giving faith communities accessible to all Catholics.” 

Cardinal Blase Cupich
Cardinal Blase Cupich
AP file

The Archdiocese of Chicago on Monday announced consolidations that will affect several parishes in the Back of the Yards, as well as in the south suburbs of Harvey and Markham.

Holy Cross Immaculate Heart of Mary, St. Joseph and St. Michael the Archangel — three parishes in the Back of the Yards on the Southwest Side — will unite as one new parish with a new, as yet undetermined name, no later than July 1, 2021, according to a statement issued Monday by the archdiocese.

Holy Cross and St. Joseph will be Sunday worship centers. St. Joseph will be designated the parish church where the sacramental records will be kept.

Additionally, an archdiocesan commission that reviewed unification recommended that St. Michael the Archangel continue to host one Sunday Mass each weekend. Immaculate Heart of Mary will not be used for regular worship activity.

The decisions were made by Cardinal Blase Cupich in consultation with staff and advisers.

In Markham and Harvey, three other parishes were chosen to unite as one parish: Ascension St. Susanna, St. Gerard Majella and St. John the Baptist. The unification will take place no later than July 1, 2021. A name for the unified parish has yet to be determined.

The commission recommended ceasing regularly scheduled Masses at Ascension-St. Susanna and St. Gerard Majella and transitioning all regularly scheduled Masses to St. John the Baptist no later than the first Sunday of Advent 2021. Local leadership will set a specific timeline for this transition.

“The sustainability of maintaining multiple worship sites while fostering unity and growing mission outreach will be a focus going forward,” the statement said.

The ongoing reorganization of parishes is part of “Renew My Church” — a campaign the church is undertaking to ensure “vibrant, life-giving faith communities accessible to all Catholics.”

The decisions were made, in part, after reviewing demographic data, financial summaries, and parish trends.