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posted: 4/22/2014 1:25 PM

St. Isidore set to break ground on additions, renovations

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By Mike Yerly
St. Isidore Parish and School

The Rev. Jim Murphy, pastor of St. Isidore Parish in Bloomingdale, along with members of the St. Isidore Parish and School community, will officially break ground Saturday, April 26, for a major renovation to both parish and school facilities.

The groundbreaking ceremony begins at 4 p.m. in the parking lot of the chapel, 427 W. Army Trail Road, and marks the official start of construction, the majority of which is projected to be completed in time for the new school year in the fall.

"St. Isidore Parish and School continue to grow in every aspect of our four pillars of hospitality, prayer, formation and service," Murphy said.

"With such growth, the need for physical upgrades to our facilities and structures had grown to the point where we needed to act. Through the grace of God and generosity of so many, a number of badly needed improvements to our physical facilities are officially underway."

A capital campaign that began last fall, Honoring Our Roots, Cultivating Our Future, has raised the $1.5 million in donations and pledges that allowed the construction to begin.

The chapel building, built in 1920, will have much of its interior renovated and the current school library will be converted into a computer lab. The renovation will create a new home for the parish's Connect Youth Ministries program, which was created, developed and housed in a leased facility off-campus for five years.

The new space also will be home to a new library learning center for the school, a space for adult faith formation programs, and other parish ministries, which number more than 100.

Also in the initial construction phase, an elevator and additional restroom adjacent to the worship space will be installed to make the building accessible to all.

Additionally, a 900-square-foot structure will be added to the school building where it connects to the existing chapel building. During the day, the space will house the St. Isidore school preschool classes. In the evening, the space will be available for various parish ministries to use as a meeting space.

Following the completion of this phase, St. Isidore will begin subsequent phases that will provide an Adoration Chapel, parking lot resurfacing and improvements, and an on-campus home for the three parish priests who currently live in an off-campus house wholly owned by the parish. It will be sold to fund the construction of the new residence.

The parish of St. Isidore was canonically founded on March 5, 1920, in the farming community of Cloverdale, when a small group of parishioners petitioned Archbishop Mundelein of Chicago to build a new church. The Rev. John Wester, associate of St. John's in Winfield, was the first pastor.

St. Isidore School was housed in the west wing of the chapel building until 1964, when the current elementary wing was built to accommodate the increasing number of parishioners seeking a Catholic elementary school education for their children.

Today, St. Isidore Parish serves more than 5,000 member families from Bloomingdale and surrounding communities. The parish school has grown to an enrollment of more than 300, the Religious Education for children in public schools serves more than 900, and the junior and senior high school programs host 400 students for weekly sessions.