By Bob Uphues
Oct. 21 was a big day for parishioners of the newly merged Sts. Barbara and Louise de Marillac Parish, which serves Roman Catholics in Brookfield and the northeast part of LaGrange Park, one they'd been waiting for since July when the Chicago Archdiocese officially made them a single entity with two worship sites.
It was the day the parish assumed its new identity as Holy Guardian Angels Parish.
In a sense, the formal name change represented the end of a long journey, which began about two years ago as part of the Chicago Archdiocese's first wave of parish consolidations under its Renew My Church initiative.
It's been more than a year since the archdiocese announced that St. Barbara and St. Louise de Marillac would form a new parish that maintained a pair of worship sites under the guidance of a single pastor.
The newly unified parish, under its temporary name St. Barbara-St. Louise de Marillac Parish, began its journey on July 1, with Rev. Denis Condon – formerly pastor of St. Louise de Marillac – at the helm. He continues on as pastor of Holy Guardian Angels Parish.
"Our name will probably take us some time to get used to. That is normal," said Condon in his message to parishioners published in the Nov. 3 parish bulletin. "However, the new name will help us appreciate that we are one community united in Christ for the ministry of the Gospel."
Condon, who did not respond to multiple messages from the Landmark, also used the Nov. 3 bulletin to emphasize that the naming of the new parish marked a new beginning, not an end.
"I understand why many wished to keep the name they have known for years, but our new name speaks to the reality of our communities uniting to work for a better future," Condon wrote.
One of the first new, unified ministries, Condon announced, would be the participation of the newly combined Youth Ministry in the Appalachia Service Project, where kids under the direction of two adult leaders spend a week helping the poor in Appalachia by repairing homes.
St. Louise Parish had been participating in the service project for several years and now it's also open to those who formerly were part of St. Barbara Parish.
"This is a great way for our teens and adults of Holy Guardian Angels to get to know each other," Condon wrote in the Nov. 3 bulletin.
Cardinal Blase Cupich decreed the new name for the parish after being sent a list of three finalists chosen by parishioners during a four-month period earlier this year. The top three names were Holy Guardian Angels, St. Clare of Assisi and St. Mary Magdalene.
Cupich selected the Holy Guardian Angels, which had been the runaway winner among parishioners.