No two snowflakes are exactly alike, but in general, they are known to have some sort of 6-sided symmetry. In the same way, all parishes in Chicagoland are participating in the same phases of the Renew My Church process to achieve the ultimate goal of spiritual renewal for our Archdiocesan Church. But each organization is unique in how we are called to work with the Holy Spirit in new and creative ways to Make Disciples, Build Communities, and Inspire Witness. We offer a huge THANK YOU to all who have and who continue to participate in bringing St. Brigid Parish together as a new community.
Highlights of Our Renew My Church Journey as of November 2023:
Parish Unification: In July 2022, the parishes of Our Lady of Humility and St. Patrick were united into one new parish by decree of the Archdiocese of Chicago. Committees were formed, we started to get to know one another, polls were taken, and the new name of St. Brigid Parish was approved. This led to the initiation of the next two standard phases of Operational Changes and Building the New Reality.
Operational Changes: The essentials of operating as one entity needed to be addressed, and much has been accomplished. Here are some of the current/upcoming milestones that will bring this phase to a close.
- Last week the combined Finance Council published our united Annual Financial Report. Due to legal/tax requirements, it will still be a bit longer before we can all start writing checks and paying bills under the common name of St. Brigid Parish for everything.
- Coming soon there will now be ONE PARISH BULLETIN distributed at both churches.
- In the near future, the two parish websites will change to ONE NEW WEBSITE with the St. Brigid name. All web content will be brought “up to date” as quickly as possible.
- In the coming weeks, our NEW PARISH LOGO is being launched. It is expected that all forms of parish communications will adopt this logo in the coming months.
Building the New Reality: This began in 2023, but is not a “project phase” with a deadline to meet. It is about putting the right resources and teams in place to foster an environment that meets the ongoing needs of a living, breathing, vibrant parish community that will continue to evolve over time. These are some of the activities in process now:
- Many existing ministry teams are already in various stages of learning about one another, and some are coming together with common meetings and/or practices, while others will continue to co-exist in their current formats. The growing comradery was quite evident in the wonderful Parish Picnic and Mass in August, as well as the beautiful All Souls Day Mass in early November.
- The Liturgical ministries will continue to explore how to best coordinate across two churches and St. Patrick Historic Church. There will be a renewed focus on the Ministry of Care which serves those who are unable to come to Mass.
- Faith formation is so much more than religious education programs and sacramental preparation. The optimal environment provides readiness-based programs to meet the needs of individuals or families wherever they are in their faith lives and faith maturity, and attends to both hearts and minds and is not simply instruction. To begin this evolution:
- RCIA has one combined team, and this year is focusing on getting the participants actively involved in parish life.
- The two Religious Education offices combined into one program for this year, and enrollment has expanded. Three Thursday night classes have been added for children who did not receive sacraments at the usual age.
- A new SPRED program for adults will begin in 2024.
- Father Wojciech is also forming a parish leadership team comprised of both staff and parishioner members to provide structure and points of contact to assist him in guiding the parish to a new reality which includes not only the areas mentioned above, but also the numerous opportunities for hospitality, outreach, and social life.
Other new ministry needs are also being identified and addressed as resources permit. As we move into 2024, watch for the ways that all our various ministries will be featured.