CHICAGO (WLS) -- St. Thecla Catholic School will merge with two other churches and another Catholic school on Chicago's Northwest Side, the Archdiocese of Chicago said Friday evening.
St. Thecla Parish and School will consolidate with St. Cornelius Parish, St. Tarcissus Parish and Pope Francis Global Academy's North campus, which is located on the campus of St. Tarcissus.
The merger will be effective July 1, 2020. The new parish and school will be given a new name, but will be located at St. Tarcissus Church.
There was overwhelming emotion Friday night from the parishioners and graduates of St. Thecla.
"I love this place. I have four kids that go here," said one parishioner.
"I live, breathe and die and for this place," said Mark Olszewiski, St. Thecla parent. "It was the hardest thing to explain to my son that his school is closing."
St. Thecla, which began in 1925, is part of Renew My Church, an effort to consolidate certain schools to better position Catholic schools operationally and financially.
One hundred and eighty students attend St. Thecla and there are about 3,000 parishioners.
"And maybe they need, and they being the archdiocese, needs to look at themselves and think why aren't people coming to church? Why? We're still in the black," said Kathy Borner, St. Thecla parishioner.
"It's all about money, it seems at the end of the day it's not about the parishes and the schools," said St. Thecla alumna Nora O'Hara. "It seems like they're putting a dollar sign on this property."
Many of these families have come to the church for generations.
"I believe in Christ, but man, I can't believe I even united with the archdiocese of Chicago. I am so disappointed in them today," said Luke Schutt, St. Thecla Class of 2014.
The archdiocese said in a statement, "Effective July 1, 2020, St. Thecla School and Pope Francis Global Academy's North campus will unite as a newly named parish school at the St. Tarcissus campus."
St. Thecla Catholic School to close, merge with other schools and churches on NW Side