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Archdiocese to close schools, layoff employees - Chicago

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
February 27th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Archdiocese of Chicago is preparing to close five schools and lay off about 10 percent of its workforce. Citing "unsustainable" defects the downsizing was announced by Cardinal Francis George before his departure to Rome to participate in the Vatican conclave.

CHICAGO, IL (Catholic Online) - Cardinal Francis George explained to parishioners in a letter that the Archdiocese has been running deficits of over $30 million per year for the past three years. "Since this trend is unsustainable, I want to set out the measures we are taking to ensure prudent stewardship of our resources for years to come," George says in the letter.

The Archdiocese has already downsized, laying off dozens of employees in a move that will save from $11 to $13 million per year by 2015.

"Our employees are faith-filled men and women who have worked tirelessly for the good of the Church.  Please keep them in your prayers," the Cardinal wrote.

Students who attend schools slated for closure will be given financial aid so they may continue their Catholic education at another school. However, probably hundreds of other staff, including teachers, will be laid off.

The Archdiocese will also reduce its aid to schools.

We hope to return to a sustainable level of aid for those schools that will always be facing financial difficulties," he wrote.

Parishes will also find it more difficult to secure grants and capital loans for expansions.

The Cardinal also stated that the cutbacks were not related to the child-abuse settlements reached by the Church. He said those claims have been paid by the sale of undeveloped property.

Cardinal George concluded, "These actions are being taken now because the financial situation imposes them. We are also taking them, however, so that the archdiocese will have the resources she needs for her mission, picking up the challenge of the New Evangelization and re-proposing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to future generations."

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