By: Kaitlin Larson
The Parish Transformation Committee continued working together this past week for their second meeting.
The steering committee members gave a historical overview of the parish. St. Joseph (1846) and Immaculate Conception (1859) churches are two of the oldest parishes in Chicago. Historically, both parishes’ parishioners have been primarily of German and Irish decent. Both original churches were destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire and reestablished in their respected places today. When Immaculate Conception-St. Joseph School was reopened in 2001, each parish reminded open to preserve their separate and historical identities, being two of the oldest parishes in the Archdiocese. Our website has more information on the parish history, and the four ministries (Music, Liturgical, Outreach, Education) our parish has to offer.
A financial overview was presented. Currently there are 175 active, registered parishioners at St. Joseph and 450 at Immaculate Conception. On average about 525 parishioners attend mass on the weekends. About 40% of the families registered with the parish are also associated with the school. The committee discussed the importance of weekly collections, as it offsets the costs of maintaining and keeping the two parishes up and running. The weekly Sunday collection goal for IC is $8,200 and $3,000 for SJ. Members discussed the idea of electronic donations on the parish website for parishioners to donate if not in attendance. The committee is also looking into posting weekly collection amounts in the bulletin, recommended family donation amount, and a breakdown of what the money is used for inside each parish.
Members of the committee shared their hopes and concerns for the parish moving forward. We hope that these hopes and concerns will help drive our thinking and planning while continuing throughout the transformation process. Some of our current goals and common themes include keeping our small community feel while trying to expand out and advertise in our growing community around us, increase our visibility in the neighborhood, increase our mass and parish membership, and to continue to identify as a whole community versus the separate parish identification. We are viewing ourselves as one parish community with two locations.