Dear Ascension Community,
We understand that receiving two priests - one as an Administrator and the other as an Associate Pastor - is a new arrangement for Ascension parish. We share this information from the Vicar General to help explain.
Clarification of Roles for Fathers Carl Morello and Rex Pillai at Ascension Parish
Effective July 1, 2020, Fr. Carl Morello has been appointed Administrator of Ascension Parish, while retaining his duties as Pastor of St. Giles Parish. Fr. Rex Pillai has been appointed to Ascension Parish as Associate Pastor to be in a leadership role in collaboration with Fr. Carl. These appointments have been made with an eye to best serving the Oak Park grouping of parishes in preparation for the Renew My Church (RMC) process.
To be clear, there is no decided future configuration of what the parishes will look like in the Oak Park grouping. The early years of RMC have highlighted the need for strong and collaborative leadership during the process.
This unique leadership model in these appointments have been made with the focus on positioning both communities and priests for success in these very uncertain times. After much discussion with Cardinal Cupich, Bishop Manz (Vicar for Vicariate IV) and his team, the RMC leadership, Fr. Carl and Fr. Hurlbert, it was decided that rather than appointing a priest new to the Ascension community to become Pastor Administrator, the model described above was deemed the best path forward now and throughout the formal RMC discernment process.
The Archdiocese sees Fr. Carl’s role as supporting each of the parish communities to ascertain its vision throughout the RMC process. Also, his role will be to help this local vision of each parish to find support from the diocesan leadership. As Associate Pastor, Fr. Rex will lead the day-to-day life and Sacramental life of Ascension Parish. He will also work with Fr. Carl and each parish in the RMC process. Fr. Rex is an experienced priest known for his pastoral care, having served during the past seven years both as Associate Pastor and then Administrator of St. Clement Parish in Chicago. This model, for now, shows a profound commitment to best serve the communities for their future visions and realities.
We believe this is an opportunity, rarely given, to build leadership teams within the framework of Renew My Church. It is a sign of confidence in both parish staffs, and in both communities. Come, Holy Spirit, and guide us.
Fr. Carl and Fr. Rex