The newly unified parish comprising St. Mary in Riverside, Mater Christi in North Riverside and St. Hugh in Lyons will be known as St. Paul VI Parish, effective July 1, the Archdiocese of Chicago announced last week.
Rev. Thomas May, who is pastor of St. Mary’s and will be the pastor of the consolidated parish, said the decision was announced May 4 at a meeting of the Presbyteral Council.
Parishioners had submitted six names – three saints and three names involving the Blessed Mother – to the council, which sought Cardinal Blase Cupich’s final decision. The cardinal, said May, shied away from “Mary” names, even though St. Mary and Mater Christi already invoke her, in sensitivity to parishioners of St. Hugh.
St. Paul VI, who was canonized in 2018 and would be known to any parishioner older than 50, served as pope from 1963-78 and oversaw the implementation of mandates from the historic Second Vatican Council.
“Pope Paul VI was very into evangelization,” said May. “The whole point of the Second Vatican Council was branching out.”
Similarly, said May, the Archdiocese of Chicago’s parish consolidation initiative, known as Renew My Church, seeks to reinstill that fundamental philosophy.
“The whole process of Renew My Church is consolidating to make us stronger so we can do our main mission of evangelization, to focus on that once again.”
St. Mary Church and Mater Christi Church will remain individual worship sites and retain their names, with St. Mary Church serving as the primary parish church and administrative center. St. Mary School will serve as the parish school.
St. Hugh Church will celebrate its final Mass on June 27, which will also serve as St. Paul VI Parish’s unification celebration. Following that Mass, St. Hugh will cease to function as a church and the archdiocese may sell the property.
One potential buyer, said May, could be the Czech Mission of Saints Cyril and Methodius Church, located at 9415 Rochester Ave. in Brookfield.
“There’s nothing official yet,” May said.
The Mater Christi School building will be renamed the St. Hugh Faith Formation Center and will be used for religious education, adult faith formation and youth ministry for the St. Paul VI Parish.
Mater Christi’s pastor, Rev. Matthew Nemchausky, will remain on staff as associate pastor of St. Paul VI Parish and will continue to live in North Riverside. St. Hugh’s pastor, Rev. Robert Marchwiany, is awaiting his new assignment from the archdiocese.