Editor’s note: This letter to the editor is in response to this editorial.
How sad that a pillar of the Forest Park community has allowed itself to succumb to sensationalism to garner readers.
Your “view” of the St. Bernardine parish church and community is short sighted and worse, it is inaccurate. St. Bernardine parish remains a dynamic, multi-cultural, financially stable and physically beautiful place of worship. Mass attendance remains constant, despite Covid-19 and the regions overall decline in Catholic mass attendance. Donations are robust and have recently supported a $450,000 renovation of the parish hall.
It is true that St. Bernardine and St. Luke parishes are currently in a discernment process to determine the best option for continuing to provide Catholic services and education to invested families in both communities. It is also true that Cardinal Cupich asked the pastors at both St. Bernardine and St. Luke to identify a “Group Discernment and Feedback Team” comprised of members from both worship sites to research, discuss, pray, and ultimately share recommendations on what both communities feel is needed to continue offering Catholic worship in these difficult times.
The team has spent months meeting together, sharing details, strengths, concerns, and potential scenarios for a combined St. Luke/St. Bernardine Parish. Actual data was used during the evaluation process to objectively discern an optimal approach going forward, vs. the unenlightened opinion of the writer of the Our View editorial.
The Renew My Church process is archdiocesan wide and not exclusive to the communities of Forest Park and River Forest. The necessity of this process in not directly related to either parish and the writer would know this if they spent even a few minutes researching the facts.
The members of St. Bernardine Parish are understandably upset by the necessity to change; it is likely that members of St. Luke Parish are, too. We go to church to worship and we go to church to commune with our Catholic friends. Unless you are immersed in either community, it is naïve and frankly unkind to impose your poorly constructed and inaccurate opinions on the readers of the Forest Park Review.
Group Feedback and Discernment Team Members
Rev. Stanislaw Kuca, Pastor