PILSEN — St. Ann parishioners are set to say farewell to their church this weekend.
After more than a century in Pilsen, St. Ann Catholic Church, 1840 S. Leavitt St., will hold its final Mass at the church at 5 p.m. Saturday, June 30, according to the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Following the final service, the church will hold a reception for parishioners, said Anne Maselli, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Chicago.
“On Sunday, July 1, at 11:30 a.m. parishioners will lead a procession from St. Ann Church to St. Paul Church – to celebrate the uniting of the parishes,” Maselli added.
The final service at the church comes more than two years after the Archdiocese of Chicago first announced plans to merge six Pilsen churches into three.
Earlier this month, Maselli confirmed that Mass services at St. Ann will conclude at the end of this month.
A new use for the church building has not been identified.
Maselli said the archdiocese is exploring how the space may be utilized for the benefit of the Pilsen community.
St. Ann’s Catholic Church opened in the Pilsen neighborhood in 1903. In June 2016, The archdiocese merged St. Ann with St. Paul, 2127 W. 22nd Place, as part of a reconfiguration.
The Archdiocese of Chicago cited changing demographics, low Mass attendance and a decline in the number of priests as reasons for the merger.
Mona Sanchez, 58, who grew up down the street from St. Ann, has been attending the church with her family since she can remember.
“It’s sad that they are closing the church,” Sanchez said. “We’ve been coming here all our lives.”
Two other Pilsen churches were targeted for closures. Providences of God, 717 W. 18th St. ended Mass services last summer and was merged with St. Procopius, 1640 S. Allport St. St. Adalbert Catholic Church was set to close due to the high costs of repairing its 185-foot towers in 2016, but Masses continue today at the site.
The Archdiocese of Chicago began collecting a head count of Mass attendance during the month of October in 1986. In that year, the head count for St. Ann Church was 935, Maselli said.
The number of Masses at the church decreased after the merger, and the most recent count from October 2017 was 228.