The Archdiocese has made their decision, and nothing can be done. The parish is gone, and the church will be closed.
Parishioners have a right to appeal the decree of the Archdiocese. Per Canon Law, valid reasons exist for OLV to challenge this decision
The church is closing because OLV’s parishioners are not financially supporting the church and unable to pay for basic expenses.
OLV is solvent, as parishioners are able to pay for all the complex’s expenses. Additionally, buildings in the church complex have been underutilized as multiple documented sources of income were not utilized by the Archdiocese.
Parishioners pledged MORE than their fair share to other churches in the “To Teach Who Christ Is” campaign, purportedly a way to raise money for other parishes who were in need of help.
Parishioners have also provided the Archdiocese monetary assessments that are incremental to these expenses. In 2020, the amount was over $135,000.
The assets from Our Lady of Victory (including the ultimate sale of the property) will be applied to any outstanding debts incurred by OLV
Our Lady of Victory has NO debt, as parishioners have completely paid for the entire property. The assets will be given to the new parish consolidation of St. Barts/St. Pascals, which carries significant debt.
The church and the associated properties are falling apart; an estimate of projected repair expenses will be well over $1 Million.
The church and buildings are of high integrity and in excellent condition for their age. An independent financial study that projected the expenses included elements beyond essential repairs. It also included elements that were not critical, such as replacement of cabinetry, décor, and appliances that are functional but dated.
OLV Parishioners are not as supportive financially as parishioners at other churches
Per person, OLV parishioners gave an average of 2X what parishioners at other Northwest Side parishes gave (including those parishes in the consolidation)
Financial risks and deficits are entirely related to church attendance and changing demographics
Per Moody’s Ratings Financial Analysis of the Archdiocese, much of the financial issues are related to preemptive bankruptcies [driven in large part by sexual abuse claims].
The Archdiocese made great efforts to retain members at Our Lady of Victory and bring new parishioners into the fold
The Archdiocese has made virtually no efforts to retain members or to recruit new membership to Our Lady of Victory
There is no opportunity for attendance at Our Lady of Victory to grow
There are as many as 2000 new residents moving within walking distance to OLV within the next few years, as approximately 900 new apartment units are in the planning phases for Jefferson Park
OLV’s parishioners will ALL be invited to one newly created parish, as it will be included within the new territorial boundaries
OLV will be completely dissolved, and territorial boundaries will SPLIT the parish permanently between 2 new parishes of either Barts/Pascals OR Constance/Robert Bellarmine
Parishioners will easily be able to get to a new parish
Most current OLV parishioners will be well over a mile from their new parish – a challenging walk, especially for the elderly
There are ample Spanish masses on the NW Side of Chicago, so Our Lady of Victory’s space would never be needed for this.
While 34% of Portage Park residents and 18% of Jefferson Park residents speak Spanish in the home, there are no official Spanish masses north of Irving Park Road.
The Renew My Church Program allowed for objective rationale that could have potentially let OLV stay open
RMC Program did not have a viable option that allowed OLV to stay open – from the very beginning, it had already been pre-determined
Our Lady of Victory will be permanently closed later this year
Our Lady of Victory will technically remain open as a place of worship – the Archdiocese is choosing not to celebrate Sunday Mass. It should remain open until it is deconsecrated. The Arch is required to allow OLV to hold mass on two days: The Feast of Our Lady of Victory (October 7), and the date of initial consecration of the church (May 12 for the lower church and October 3 for the upper church.)
Our Lady of Victory was constructed and maintained at great cost, for over 100 years. The faithful in the community made great sacrifices, and donated with pennies, nickels and dimes. It is a cornerstone in our neighborhood. It is also a community center, providing everything from a food pantry, shelter, counseling and education. While parishioners built and financed OLV, it was given to the Archdiocese of Chicago, to steward, maintain, and staff for use in perpetuity, as a sacred space. They have a responsibility to those who built it and who maintained it, including the descendants of those who created the parish from the ground up. Our Lady of Victory belongs to the people: the current and former parishioners, as well as everyone in the community.