St. Josaphat Catholic Parish, with faith in a loving God, joyfully welcomes all who wish to come together as a community of shared faith in Jesus Christ, to give glory and praise to God. We commit to making Christ's love apparent on our journey of faith by striving to support, comfort, forgive, challenge and inspire each other in our homes, schools, neighborhoods, community and world. We are energized through the celebration of the sacraments and the proclamation of the gospel. Through our ongoing formation and education, outreach to those in need and hospitality to all, we come to know Christ and make Christ known.
St. Josaphat Parish will have grown as a welcoming Catholic community celebrating our spiritual growth in worship, committed to excellence in education, dedicated to serving others.
The fundamental purpose of the St. Josaphat Parish is the cultivation and promotion of the catholic faith through the core values of catholic education, service to the surrounding community and spiritual stewardship.
We, the parishioners of St. Josaphat Parish, are a welcoming community of believers who are called to cultivate faith-based families, educate future Catholic leaders, serve others as Jesus taught, and share our many blessings with those around us. Through the example set by St. Josaphat who struggled to maintain unity in a fractured time, we aim to look beyond the physical walls of our parish to the surrounding neighborhood and beyond to educate and serve those who are most in need.
The spirit of faith, community, service and hospitality defines our parish. We are called to be owners of our parish community through our involvement in all aspects in parish life. As owners we encourage one another to care for and better the direction of our ministries, services and finances. We encourage parishioners to ask themselves: am I taking ownership for your parish experience? Am I caring for its well-being? Am I seeking opportunities to leave the parish better than when I arrived?
One of our greatest strengths is the robust spiritual preparation of the St. Josaphat School and Catholic Youth Education programs. We hope to extend that same enthusiasm for religious understanding to entire parish by being examples to one another of Christ's teaching. We are eager to succeed in our role of developing the catholic leadership abilities of our parishioners wherever they are on their faith journey.
As a community we are guided by our missionary spirit. As stated in the Gospel according to St. Matthew, "Amen I say to you, certainly, if you will have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it shall move. And nothing will be impossible for you." As a relatively small parish, we aim to make a big impact in the service to the surrounding community through works of feeding the poor at our very door step, and providing comfort to the stranger in our midst. We endeavor to instill works of charity and justice in the foundation of our parish culture; in this we share the joy of our faith.
As a parish located in a Chicago we are acutely aware of the tension of living spiritual lives in a secular world. We are aware of our personal and parish blessings, but know we are called by Christ to do more. As a community we will be dedicated to offering the opportunity to share our time, talent and treasure out of love and gratitude for God's gifts through parish programs and support for personal dedication. With an aging facility and a relatively small congregation, so too are we called to care for the gift of worship space, so that others may grow their personal faith and our church family.
Our parish community, a place to come home to, welcomes all who enter our doors. We strive to be a center for creative education that reaches all those thirsting for knowledge of the faith, wherever they are on their spiritual journey. We seek to be missionary disciples through our actions and service in our parish, in our neighborhood, and in our city by serving the marginalized and neglected among us. Pope Francis challenges all of us to dream of great things. We dream of an active, vibrant parish that continually challenges itself to look beyond its four walls to educate and serve others by living our missionary vocation.
HISTORY OF ST. JOSAPHAT
St. Josaphat Parish was founded to serve the growing Kashube population living in the area. The Kashubes were Poles who had lived under Prussian domination in their homeland and were part of the thousands of people who emigrated from Poland to settle in Chicago back in the 1870’s. They attended many of the surrounding parishes which served the Polish and the Germans, but they had their own language and wanted a church of their own. In1882 they successfully petitioned for their own parish and in1883, ground was broken for the first church-school-convent structure on the parcel of land we know now as St. Josaphat Community Park.
The parish continued to grow and soon a new structure was needed. The architect chosen was William Brinkman who had many exhibits at the World Columbian Exposition and who had studied church architecture in Europe. There was another groundbreaking by 1899 for the present church building. The project began but was soon ruined by the devastation of a fierce cyclone which toppled the new steel structure. The spirit of the people however was not destroyed. Construction resumed and masses were held in the basement of St. Alphonsus Church, the neighboring parish. On June 8, 1902, the first mass was celebrated for an elated and grateful community in the new St. Josaphat Church we know today. A major renovation to the interior of the church was done in 2000 which made for a more open and welcoming sanctuary area highlighting our new altar and baptismal font. The parish held a special liturgical celebration formally rededicating St. Josaphat in 2001.
St. Josaphat Church has been a stabilizing force amidst the urban changes that have affected our community in the last quarter of a century. Major demographic shifts occurred during this period of urban gentrification. In 1980 the parish had 450 families; now we boast of our 1200+ families. Our parish is a mixture of generations but mostly of young, growing families whose children are baptized here and are enrolling in our school. Twenty years ago, St. Josaphat School was almost closed due to low enrollment. This past summer saw the completion of a $1million renovation to the school which gave it extra classrooms, an expanded pre-school area, and other needed improvements for our increased enrollment. St.
St. Josaphat remains a “church to come home to,” joyfully welcoming all who wish to join our faith community. We are an active, growing, and diverse parish committed to reaching out to all those in need, showing hospitality to all, and sharing in our journey to come to know Christ and make Christ known to others. Welcome!