What we build on: Our community’s history of faith and service
The Ignatian Mission Center would build on the decades of faith and community service in the parishes of Rogers Park and Edgewater. Catholic social teaching reminds us that we are integrated beings, requiring both spiritual and physical nourishment and deserving recognition of our innate dignity. The mission center aims to nurture the people of our community, helping them fill the needs required to flourish in all ways. This will mean not just increasing access to food, counseling services and other types of social services for those in need; the mission center also will provide opportunities for neighborhood residents to be of service to their fellows. While one arm of the mission center will focus on social services, the other will work to bring area Catholics together for spiritual formation, religious retreats, devotions and lectures on spiritual topics.
The mission center has its origins in a parish discernment process that St. Ignatius Parish undertook in fall 2019. In the Renew My Church process undertaken by St. Ignatius, St. Jerome and St. Gertrude parishes in 2020, members of the three parishes endorsed the idea of creating a mission center to serve their neighborhoods and provide ways to bring together area Catholics and the whole community. Although St. Ignatius Parish was closed by the Archdiocese of Chicago as part of the Renew My Church process, the decision letter announcing the closure of the parish urged that “local leadership continue to engage with Loyola University and the local Jesuit community regarding their interest in developing a mission outreach center at the St. Ignatius campus….” Loyola University has said it cannot commit financially to one of the original plans for creating the mission center, the university purchasing the St. Ignatius campus. But the Ignatian Mission Center still expects to work with Loyola and the Chicago Jesuit Province on programming for the mission center, something in which various Loyola departments have expressed interest. We are reaching out to other possible partners and are putting together plans to finance the mission center’s work, including the possibility of buying the St. Ignatius campus. In addition to the mission center’s core aims, our potential partners include those who would help us provide sports and cultural activities for area youth.
We are building on the traditions of service of all the neighborhood parishes, but in our social service work, we particularly follow the spirit of Ignatian Services, the charitable umbrella of the former St. Ignatius Parish. It’s our intention to begin our work by restarting the St. Ignatius Food Pantry, to serve the Rogers Park area from Devon Avenue north Touhy Avenue and west to Western Avenue. For more on the history of Ignatian Services and our history of service, check here.
Ignatian Mission Center was incorporated on Oct. 8, 2021, the anniversary of the beginning of the Great Chicago Fire. We hope to be able to bring the same spirit of renewal to the Rogers Park and Edgewater communities that Chicagoans showed in the wake of the fire.
Since our incorporation, we have been meeting and negotiating with possible partners and planning our efforts. On June 10, 2022, we received approval from the IRS as a public charity, a confirmed 501 (c) (3), which will allow us to move forward with our organizing more quickly.
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Ignatian Mission Center
P.O. Box 60043
Chicago, IL 60660
WLS-TV segment on the closing of St. Ignatius Parish, which
was divided between St. Gertrude and St. Jerome parishes.
The Mission Center aims to carry on the history of service of the three parishes in the spirit of Renew My Church, creating something new that brings together area Catholics and other community members in service to others.
We will have more information on the mission center effort posted here shortly.
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