CHICAGO - The Archdiocese of Chicago announced Thursday it would be closing four suburban Catholic schools and consolidating several parishes on the South Side and in nearby suburbs.
The schools closing are:
- Christ Our Savior School in South Holland;
- Sacred Heart School in Melrose Park;
- St. Ann School in Lansing; and
- St. Joseph School in Summit.
The closures go into effect June 30, the archdiocese said in a statement.
"Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, made the difficult decision to close the schools based on their low and steadily declining enrollment levels and large financial deficits," the archdiocese said, noting a combined 31% decrease in enrollment over the last four years and a $1.12 million combined deficit during the current school year.
"School closures are always difficult because we recognize the impact they have on students, their families and our staff," said Dr. Jim Rigg, superintendent of Catholic Schools. "The archdiocese will work with each affected student and employee to assist them in finding places at other Catholic schools wherever possible."
Additionally, St. Benedict School in Blue Island and St. Walter School on the Far Southwest Side will become one school, known as the "St. Walter-St. Benedict School" until a permanent name has been decided, the archdiocese said. The new school will continue to utilize both campuses, which are about a mile apart, with upper grades attending classes at the St. Benedict campus and lower grades at the St. Walter campus.
The unification of St. Benedict and St. Walter is one of several consolidations that come as part of the "Renew My Church" campaign, which will affect several parishes on the South Side, as well as in southwest suburban Summit, the archdiocese said.
The archdiocese said the aim of "Renew My Church" is to ensure parishes "achieve the goal of having vibrant, life-giving faith communities accessible to all Catholics."
St. Clotilde, St. Columbanus and St. Dorothy — parishes in Chatham and Park Manor — will unite as one new parish with St. Columbanus serving as the parish church, the archdiocese said.
In Summit, St. Blase and St. Joseph Parish and School will unite to form a new parish with a new name at two worship sites, the archdiocese said. St. Blase will be the designated parish church where sacramental records are kept. St. Joseph school will be closed permanently at the end of the current academic year.
The new, united parish will continue to support ministry in Polish, Spanish and English, the archdiocese said.
In Bronzeville, Hyde Park and Washington Park, five parishes are slated to consolidate.
St. Ambrose, St. Anselm, Corpus Christi, St. Elizabeth and Holy Angels Parish and School will form one parish, the archdiocese said. Holy Angels will be the main worship site where all sacramental records are kept. No changes will be made to Holy Angels school.
The reorganizations are effective July 1, the archdiocese said.