CHICAGO (WLS) -- A North Side church had a bittersweet celebration Saturday as St. Ignatius parish held its final regular mass.
There were mixed emotions in Rogers Park as a thousand or so parishioners gathered for a final time in the beautiful neoclassical church.
The St. Ignatius parish is more than a century old, opening in 1907, but last December the Archdiocese made the difficult decision to close the parish and consolidate with two others -- St. Gertrude and St. Jerome -- as part of the "Renew My Church" initiative.
"Being a disciple does not depend on one's address or zip code," said Father Dan Hartnett, who has helped lead St. Ignatius since 2018.
The church was also his home parish growing up.
"I'm sure all of us feel very broken hearted in many ways because this isn't just a building for us, but this has been our spiritual home," he added before they final mass.
"It's just, there's joy because this is where I grew up, but heartache too," added parishioner Tim Boyle.
"What's closing is the parish. But not the church. In other words, we're the church," Fr. Hartnett said.
It's still unclear what will happen to the church, as well as the school and other buildings on the campus, which parishioners hope they will continue to find use in.
While that is a question for tomorrow, today is about reflecting on the history of this parish and what it's meant to generations of families who are now looking forward to their next chapter within the church.
"I think it's the values that we took and we taught our children, I hope, and our grandchildren," said parishioner Mimi Ward. "So, that I think, is mostly what I took away and a lot of wonderful memories."
"This is our family. This is the community that we love. And we have a great time," fellow parishioner Mildred Jarlego added.