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Office of the Archbishop

835 North Rush Street

Chicago, Illinois 60611




Changing demographics have affected the size and wealth of the Archdiocese of

Chicago and the vitality of her parishes. This is particularly true in the City of Chicago itself,

where the total population fell by nearly 21% since 1970, from 3,366,957 to an estimated

2,686,530 in 2020. The archdiocese has many vacant, old, and underused parochial buildings

and fewer priests to pastor our faith communities.

According to the US Census Bureau, the Archdiocese of Chicago (Cook and Lake

Counties in Illinois) had an estimated total population of 5,881,250 in 2018. The 20^8 Annuario

Pontificio indicated our archdiocese had 345 parishes serving a Catholic population of

2,512,000: an average of 7,281 Catholics per parish. According to the same source, the

Archdiocese of Los Angeles had a total population of 11,519,517, with 287 parishes for a

Catholic population of 4,362,000: an average of 15,199 Catholics per parish. For the

Archdiocese of New York, the figures were 2,656,987 Catholics in 294 parishes, an average

9,037 Catholics per parish. A good number of our parishes were founded in the first half of the

last century or earlier. Many were established for national, linguistic, or ethnic groups that no

longer reside in the archdiocese or in the neighborhoods where they once flourished.

Many of our parishes are unable or barely able to support themselves. Consequently,

many have been receiving financial subsidies from the archdiocese. From fiscal year 2012

through fiscal year 2020 the Archdiocese of Chicago provided $177,109,682.00 in support to

parishes and Catholic schools: $46,332,584.00 to 106 parishes and $130,777,098.00 to 83

Catholic schools. This was an increase of $14,777,155.00 over a single year: $3,711,999.00

more to parishes and $11,064,156.00 more to Catholic schools. Completely due to the

generosity of the faithful people of the archdiocese and other gracious donors, these subsidies

cannot continue at this high level, especially in times of enormous economic strain. Our mission

is to convert our parishes, helping them to become more vital, that is, active centers of Christian

discipleship, evangelical mission, scholarship, and charitable outreach. For this the parishes

need a growing and stable membership and the financial means to support themselves.

Nearly six years ago, inspired by the experience of St. Francis of Assisi before the cross

of the ruined church of San Damiano and the Holy Father's dream of "a missionary option ...

capable of transforming everything" (Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, n.

27, November 24, 2013), and with wide and continuing consultation among the clergy and lay

faithful of the Archdiocese of Chicago, particularly in the Presbyteral Council, we embarked on

the inauguration of Renew My Church (RMC). This is our multi-year process aimed at

converting our parishes for mission. It is the intention that every parish join with some of its

neighbors (groupings) to plan the future. Careful planning will create a menu of possibilities.

We are identifying parishes to be reconfigured through pastoral coordination with neighboring

parishes, divisions, unions, and other structural and governance changes.

This decree concerns two parishes located within a territory of less than two and onequarter

square miles in the Logan Square and Avondale neighborhoods on the Northside of the

City of Chicago: St. Sylvester Parish (founded in 1884), 2915 West Palmer Street, Chicago,

Illinois 60647-3856; and Our Lady of Grace Parish (founded 1909), 2455 North Hamlin Avenue,

Chicago, Illinois 60647-2229.

Today the two parishes serve an area of the City having a significant Spanish-speaking

Catholic population for more than 40 years. Recently the area has been experiencing the

phenomenon of gentrification, with properties being improved for sale and occupancy by mostly

English-speaking and more affluent individuals and families. In 2019 the average Sunday

assembly St. Sylvester Parish was 1,031 (28% English-speaking, 64% Spanish-speaking, and

8% bilingual). In the same year the average Sunday assembly at Our Lady of Grace Parish was

982 (15% English and 85% Spanish). There were significant declines in Sunday attendance

over the last 10 years in both parishes: 37% at St. Sylvester Parish (from 1,637 to 1,031) and

33% at Our Lady of Grace Parish (from 1,474 to 982).

In Fiscal year 2019, St. Sylvester Parish had an operating deficit of $128,807.00, unmet

capital needs of $1,620,950.001, a total debt of $979,047.00, and savings of $40,841.00. In the

same fiscal year. Our Lady of Grace Parish had no operating deficit, unknown capital needs

(assessment being completed February 2021), a total debt of $432,291.00, and savings of

$87,291.00. Neither parish had sufficient assets or income to meet either its present or future


Following consultations last year with lay and clergy members of the parishes, including

input from parishioners at large, a report was submitted to the Archdiocesan Standards and

Recommendations Commission, a group of lay and clergy representatives from across the

Archdiocese of Chicago. Recently, the Commission submitted its recommendations to the

pastoral leadership of the archdiocese. Due to the small size of the territory of each parish,

fewer priests to serve a pastors, significant and ongoing decline in active participation at Sunday

Mass, operating deficits, declining incomes, and unmet capital needs, the area can no longer

sustain two parishes serving the same demographics. Consequently, the recommendations

proposed that St. Sylvester Parish and Our Lady of Grace Parish be extinguished as separate

juridic persons in the Church and united to form one new juridic person, a territorial parish within

the combined territories of the two parishes, with St. Sylvester Church as the parish church.

THEREFORE, know that I, Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, according to

the norms of canon 50, canon 127 §§1 &3, canon 166, and canon 515 §2 of the Code of Canon

Law, have before me the proposal that St. Sylvester Parish and Our Lady of Grace Parish, both

on the Northside of the City of Chicago, be extinguished as a separate juridic persons in the

Church and united to form one new juridic person, a territorial parish within the combined

territorial boundaries of the two parishes, with St. Sylvester Church to be designated the parish

church. Know also, I convened the Presbyteral Council of the Archdiocese of Chicago via video

conference over the internet on January 15, 18-19, 2021. Then, after hearing the Presbyteral

Council and receiving its vote of 34 for and 1 against the proposal, I accepted the Presbyteral

Council's advice and now, Invoking the Holy Spirit,

decree the following:

1. Effective July 1, 2021, the above-mentioned St. Sylvester Parish and Our Lady of

Grace Parish will be extinguished as separate juridic persons in the Church and united to form

one new juridic person, a territorial parish within the combined territorial boundaries of the two

parishes, and called, ad interim, Our Lady of Grace and St. Sylvester Parish;

2. The missions of the extinguished parishes will be subsumed into those of the new Our

Lady of Grace and St. Sylvester Parish;

3. Each and all the parishioners of the extinguished St. Sylvester Parish and the

extinguished Our Lady of Grace Parish, along with the faithful domiciled within the new parish

boundaries, will be parishioners of the new Our Lady of Grace and St. Sylvester Parish;

4. The temtory of the new Our Lady of Grace and St. Sylvester Parish will be as

described and depicted in the documents and map attached to this decree;

5. Subject to the intention of founders and donors, and with due regard for any acquired

rights, the goods and patrimonial rights of the extinguished St. Sylvester Parish and the

extinguished Our Lady of Grace Parish, together with any obligations with which they may be

burdened, will be those of the new Our Lady of Grace and St. Sylvester Parish; (see canon


6. The churches of the extinguished St. Sylvester Parish and the extinguished Our Lady

of Grace Parish will be churches of the new Our Lady of Grace and St. Sylvester Parish, and St.

Sylvester Church will be designated the parish church of the new parish;

7. The data submitted to the Presbyteral Council on this matter, together with the minutes

of the Council meeting of December January 15,18-19, 2021, are to be attached to this decree

and will become available upon request to those eligible to receive them;

8. The sacramental records and other materials relevant to historical research pertaining

to the extinguished St. Sylvester Parish and the extinguished Our Lady of Grace Parish will be

collected and maintained at the St. Sylvester Church campus, unless othenfl/ise determined by

the expert staff of the Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Archives and Records Center of the

Archdiocese of Chicago; and

9. Notification of this decree shall be given immediately through the official website of the

Archdiocese of Chicago. The decree shall be conveyed to the pastors of St. Sylvester Parish

and Our Lady of Grace Parish. As soon as possible, the pastors shall inform their parishioners

through the parish bulletin or other suitable means.

Before hierarchical recourse (appeal) may be taken against this decree, a written, dated,

and signed petition to revoke or amend the decree must be delivered to me within ten (10)

useful days from notification of the decree (C\C cc. 1734, 1735, 1737).

Given this 11'^ day of February, A.D. 2021.

From Holy Name Cathedral,

Chicago, Illinois

Explanation of the Decree of Unification


Dear parishioners,

In this weekend’s bulletin, you will see a decree signed by Cardinal Cupich. 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.

The decree states that Our Lady of Grace and St. Sylvester will form a new parish on July 1, 2021. The decree states the new parish will have an ad interim name. This means that the parish will be called Our Lady of Grace and St. Sylvester Parish until we propose a new name to Cardinal Cupich for his consideration and approval. 

When you read the decree, you will notice the decree states St. Sylvester Church will be the parish church of the new parish and that the church of Our Lady of Grace will be a church of the new parish. A couple of notes on this:

One implication of St. Sylvester being designated the parish church means that the sacramental records of the new parish, as well as the past sacramental records of each of St. Sylvester and Our Lady of Grace will be maintained at the offices on the St. Sylvester campus. For the current time, each parish’s records will remain at their current locations, and we will update everyone when the records are fully brought together at the office on the St. Sylvester campus.

Second, the decree states that each of the churches of St. Sylvester and Our Lady of Grace 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 churches. As shared at the announcement on Jan. 20, both St. Sylvester and Our Lady of Grace will continue to have a regular schedule for Mass. The specific Mass schedule after July 1 is an important topic we will discuss with parish leadership in the coming months.

Regarding the name of the new parish, there will be a process to include everyone. We will keep you updated on the timeline of when this process to consider a parish name will begin.

Until then, let us hold fast to the Lord’s promise that He is with us always, and trust in the fact that He is at work in a special way within our faith community and is creating something new for all of us.  

Explicación del Decreto de Unificación


Queridos feligreses,

En el boletín de este fin de semana, verán un decreto firmado por el Cardenal Cupich. Un decreto es un pronunciamiento o documento que formaliza una decisión dentro de la Iglesia. En este caso, el decreto incluido aquí se refiere a la decisión de que nuestras parroquias se unifiquen como una sola parroquia nueva después del discernimiento de nuestra agrupación durante “Renueva mi Iglesia”.

El decreto establece que Nuestra Señora de Gracia y San Silvestre formarán una nueva parroquia el 1 de julio. El decreto establece que la nueva parroquia tendrá un nombre provisional. Esto significa que la parroquia se llamará Parroquia “Nuestra Señora de Gracia y San Silvestre” hasta que propongamos un nuevo nombre al Cardenal Cupich para su consideración y aprobación.  

Cuando lean el decreto, notarán que el decreto establece que la Iglesia de San Silvestre será la iglesia parroquial de la nueva parroquia y que las iglesias de San Silvestre y Nuestra Señora de Gracia serán iglesias de la nueva parroquia. Un par de notas sobre esto:

Una de las implicaciones de que San Silvestre sea designada como la iglesia parroquial significa que los registros sacramentales de la nueva parroquia, así como los registros sacramentales anteriores de cada una de las parroquias, San Silvestre y Nuestra Señora de Gracia se conservarán en las oficinas de las instalaciones de San Silvestre. Por el momento, los registros de cada parroquia permanecerán en sus ubicaciones actuales, y actualizaremos a todos cuando los registros estén completamente reunidos en la oficina en las instalaciones de San Silvestre.

Segundo, el decreto establece que cada una de las iglesias San Silvestre y Nuestra Señora de Gracia serán iglesias de la nueva parroquia. Cuando se forma una nueva parroquia, todos los bienes de cada parroquia anterior pasan a formar parte de la nueva parroquia. Esto incluye las iglesias. Como se informó en el anuncio del 20 de enero, tanto San Silvestre como Nuestra Señora de Gracia continuarán teniendo un horario regular para la Misa. El horario específico de la misa después del 1 de julio es un tema importante que discutiremos con la dirección de la parroquia en los próximos meses.

En cuanto al nombre de la nueva parroquia, habrá un proceso que incluirá a todos. Los mantendremos informados sobre el calendario de cuándo comenzará este proceso para considerar el nombre de la parroquia.

Hasta entonces, aferrémonos a la promesa del Señor de que Él está siempre con nosotros, y confiemos en el hecho de que Él está trabajando de manera especial dentro de nuestra comunidad de fe y está creando algo nuevo para todos nosotros.


Screen Shot 2020-10-21 at 8.58.56 AM.png

 Logan Square-Avondale Renew My Church Update: January 20, 2021 

Discernment Process 

St. Hyacinth Basilica, Our Lady of Grace and St. Sylvester Parishes engaged in the Renew My Church (RMC) discernment process through the fall of 2020. The Grouping Feedback and Discernment team (GFDT), which was made up of members from each parish, met to review and discern the future parish structure for the area. Our deepest appreciation goes to the GFDT who prayerfully discerned the parish grouping structure during this challenging time. 

Based on their meetings and feedback gathered from the larger parish communities, they submitted feedback to the archdiocese. The Archdiocesan Standards and Recommendations Commission, which includes representatives from across the Archdiocese of Chicago, reviewed the feedback and other information, including financial summaries and parish trends. 

Cardinal Cupich and Bishop Lombardo are grateful to Fr. Baldeon Lope, Fr. Jankowski, 

Fr. Mukundi and the Grouping Teams who gathered throughout the past few months, and all parishioners who offered feedback through the recent discernment process. 


In the past few weeks, Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, the archdiocese’s auxiliary bishops, and the archdiocese’s Presbyteral Council met to discuss the Commission’s recommendation. Based upon those discussions and prayerful consideration, Cardinal Cupich made the following decisions regarding the parish structure in Logan Square-Avondale: 

  • • St. Hyacinth Basilica will remain in its current structure and continue under the leadership of the Resurrectionist Fathers. 


  • • Effective July 1, 2021, Our Lady of Grace and St Sylvester will unite as a new parish, continuing to use both churches for Mass. 


  • o As one parish, the two communities will have one pastor and one pastoral team. Fr. Samson Mukundi will be pastor of the united parish. 


  • o The united parish will receive a new name. The local community will discern possibilities for the new name, within guidelines provided by the archdiocese, and submit three to five options to Cardinal Cupich. Until Cardinal Cupich decides on a permanent name for the new parish, the new parish will have an interim name – Our Lady of Grace and St. Sylvester Parish. 


  • o St. Sylvester will be the parish church where all sacramental records are kept. 


  • o The Mass schedule at each worship site will be reviewed by the pastor in consultation with parish leadership between now and July 1. It may differ from the current schedule. 


  • o Similar demographics in this new parish provide rich opportunity for a united effort in the work of evangelization. 


  • o During the discernment process, concerns were raised regarding financial stability and the ability to sustain two campuses. To address these concerns, the RMC Commission asks the united parish’s leadership to conduct an annual review of the sustainability of two campuses, beginning in 2023. This allows the next two years to focus on unification and renewal. 


  • • Our Lady of Grace School and St. Sylvester School will continue to operate under their current programs. 


Next Steps 

St. Hyacinth Basilica and the united parish formed by Our Lady of Grace and St. Sylvester will embark upon the next phase of renewal, focusing on strong evangelization to the world around us. The renewal process calls us to become a stronger, more sustainable presence for the future, capable of reaching more people in their work of making disciples of Jesus Christ, building communities with one another and inspiring witness in the world around us. 

 Actualización de Renueva Mi Iglesia sobre Logan Square-Avondale: 20 de enero del 2021 

Proceso de Discernimiento 

La Basilica St. Hyacinth, Our Lady of Grace y St. Sylvester se reunieron y participaron en el proceso de “Discernimiento y Decisión” de Renueva Mi Iglesia (RMI) hasta este pasado otoño del 2020. El equipo de la Agrupación de Retroalimentación y Discernimiento (GFDT), que se creó con miembros de cada comunidad parroquial, se reunió para revisar y discernir cual sería la mejor estructura parroquial para esa área. Nuestro profundo agradecimiento al GFDT, que, bajo oración, pudo discernir y elegir la mejor estructura parroquial para la agrupación durante estos tiempos desafiantes. 

En base a estas reuniones y a las opiniones recopiladas dentro de la comunidad parroquial en general, se envió un resumen de estos comentarios a la arquidiócesis. La Comisión de Normas y Recomendaciones de la Arquidiócesis, que incluye representantes de toda la Arquidiócesis de Chicago, revisó el resumen y la información recopilada, incluidos reportes financieros, las necesidades de capital y las tendencias parroquiales. 

El cardenal Cupich y el obispo Lombardo están muy agradecidos con el P. Baldeon Lope, P. Jankowski, P. Mukundi y con los Equipos de las Agrupaciones, quienes se reunieron durante los últimos meses, así mismo con todos los feligreses que ofrecieron sus comentarios y sugerencias a través del reciente proceso de discernimiento. 


En estas últimas semanas, el Cardenal Blase J. Cupich, arzobispo de Chicago, los obispos auxiliares de la arquidiócesis y el Consejo Presbiteral de la arquidiócesis se reunieron para discutir la recomendación de la Comisión. En base a estas sugerencias y bajo oración, el cardenal Cupich tomó las siguientes decisiones con respecto a la estructura parroquial de Logan Square-Avondale: 

  • • La Basílica de St. Hyacinth permanecerá en su estructura actual y continuará bajo el liderazgo de los Padres Resurrectos. 


  • • A partir del 1 de julio de 2021, Our Lady of Grace y St Sylvester se unirán como una nueva parroquia, continuando el uso de ambas iglesias para la misa. 


  • o Como una parroquia, las dos comunidades tendrán un párroco y un equipo pastoral. El P. Samson Mukundi será el párroco de la parroquia unida. 


  • o La parroquia unida recibirá un nuevo nombre. La comunidad local discernirá las posibilidades para el nuevo nombre, dentro de las directrices proporcionadas por la arquidiócesis, y presentará de tres a cinco opciones al cardenal Cupich. Hasta que el cardenal Cupich decida un nombre permanente para la nueva parroquia, ésta tendrá un nombre provisional: Parroquia Our Lady of Grace y St. Sylvester. 


  • o St. Sylvester será la iglesia parroquial donde se guardan todos los registros sacramentales 


  • o El horario de las misas en cada lugar de culto será revisado por el párroco en consulta con el liderazgo de la parroquia entre ahora y el 1 de julio. Puede diferir del horario actual. 



  • o Demografías similares en esta nueva parroquia proveen una oportunidad valiosa para un esfuerzo unido en el trabajo de evangelización. 


  • o Durante el proceso de discernimiento, se plantearon inquietudes con respecto a la estabilidad financiera y la capacidad de sostener dos campus. Para responder a estas preocupaciones, la Comisión RMC pide a los líderes de la parroquia unida que lleven a cabo una revisión anual de la sostenibilidad de dos campus, a partir de 2023. Esto permite que los próximos dos años se centren en la unificación y la renovación. 


  • • La Escuela de Our Lady of Grace y la Escuela St. Sylvester continuarán operando bajo sus programas actuales. 


Siguientes Pasos 

La Basílica de St. Hyacinth y la parroquia unida formada por Our Lady of Grace y St. Sylvester se embarcarán en la siguiente fase de renovación, centrándose en una fuerte evangelización del mundo que nos rodea. El proceso de renovación nos llama a convertirnos en una presencia más fuerte y sostenible para el futuro, capaz de llegar a más personas en su labor de hacer discípulos de Jesucristo, construir comunidades entre sí e inspirar el testimonio en el mundo que nos rodea. 



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