Parish Renewal

Structural Change

Many of our parishes have been spending most of their resources simply maintaining their buildings, unable to afford the ministry staff needed for the mission of making and forming disciples.

Our goal is a local Church fully alive with parish communities brimming with the joy of serving Christ. To achieve this goal, we have developed a carefully guided process of grouping, uniting and even closing some parishes, so that resources can be refocused to create stronger, more vibrant parishes in the future.

To do so, we evaluate business structures (how we operate), buildings, staffing and financial requirements of existing parishes, in order to build a firm foundation for the work of evangelization in our new missionary age … all to bring more people to Jesus Christ as His disciples, strengthened and formed through the vibrant, sacramental life of His Church.

Pastoral Accompaniment

Every parish and parishioner will experience change in a different way.

As parishes undergo structural change, usually resulting in unification with another parish, there are often feelings of loss or confusion. Pastoral Accompaniment helps us listen with the heart of Jesus and hear those concerns with deep empathy. Many pastors, staff and parishioners have been trained in Pastoral Accompaniment in order to help their fellow parishioners on this journey and bring a deeper level of understanding and peace to their new communities.

Training sessions are ongoing. Learn more and register for a session.

Parishioners, parish staff, pastors and associate pastors

English or Spanish

Free of charge

Registrants will receive a Zoom link via email 1–2 days before the scheduled training.

Contact Cathy Walz
Director of Pastoral Accompaniment
[email protected]

Discernment and Decisions

In considering structural change, we prayerfully evaluate the needs of the communities and reimagine the Catholic presence in the midst of the people.

Early in the Renew My Church movement, parishes across the archdiocese were formed into about 100 groupings. Within each grouping, a “grouping feedback and discernment team (GFDT),” was selected by the pastors of those parishes. The GFDT reflects upon and discusses the current realities of their communities and different scenarios – potential models of parishes and schools in that grouping configured to best work together in the future. This team consults with their parish communities for feedback and provides a summary report to an archdiocesan commission, which reviews the pastoral rationale for any proposed changes and makes a recommendation to Cardinal Cupich.

Cardinal Cupich makes the final decision regarding any structural changes affecting the grouping parishes based on the recommendations and information he has received from each grouping, the presbyteral council, and the archdiocesan commission.


  • Grouping Conversations:
    • Grouping leaders discuss the strengths and challenges within each of our faith communities, review the facts about the situation within the grouping’s communities, and discern feedback on the pros and cons of each possible scenario
    • Feedback and insights are incorporated into a pastoral rationale summary report, which is submitted to the Archdiocesan Renew My Church Commission. The Commission then makes a recommendation to Cardinal Cupich
  • Parish Conversations:
    • Meetings take place between grouping leaders and their respective parishes
    • Parishioners are informed by the pastors and grouping teams about the scenarios being discussed
    • Parishioners provide input to the team that informs the feedback summary report for the commission and Cardinal Cupich
  • Decrees: Once a decision has been made, Cardinal Cupich issues a formal decree to communicate changes to parish configurations.

Organization Transition

When structural changes are necessary, a dedicated support team from the archdiocese works on-site to help pastors and parish leaders create a unified parish, manage the transition and the new parish has strong, sustainable operational foundations and resources, upon which the great work of ministry can be built.

The archdiocese’s support team helps pastors and parish leaders:

  • Form exceptional parish leadership teams to assist the pastor
  • Streamline financial operations to ensure resources for ministry
  • Create viable and sustainable facility plans


Parish Spiritual Renewal

All parishes, whether they experience structural change or not, are called to embark upon creating a culture of evangelization and a long-term pastoral plan to make disciples, build community and inspire witness. This is done primarily through a sequence of five strategic efforts.