Around the year 1960, the Congregation of the Resurrection purchased land along Country Club Road in McHenry County and built St. Joseph Novitiate, dedicated to the formation of future Resurrectionist priests and brothers. When the number of religious vocations in the United States declined in the late sixties, the building was left unused for a time. In 1976, two Resurrectionist priests and a layman, Mr. Jim Ivers, began a retreat ministry at the newly-named Resurrection Center, a ministry that would continue for more than 30 years.
In October, 1978, with the support and encouragement of Bishop Arthur O’Neil, then Bishop of the Diocese of Rockford, the Congregation of the Resurrection assigned Father Michael Mas, C.R. to establish Resurrection Parish, which used the chapel at Resurrection Center as its first worship space. Although the parish was assigned a specific territory, the unique brand of spirituality and style found there began to draw Catholics from throughout the county and beyond, Catholics who found at Resurrection Parish something special that responded to their spiritual needs. Attention focused on the overwhelming and unconditional love of God, the possibility of being raised to new life, and a commitment to the Gospel values of justice, truth, and love. All of these values, fundamental to the spirituality of Resurrectionists, became core values of the parish as well. From the beginning, it was the unique brand of spirituality, not the location, which inspired families to join Resurrection Parish. When land was purchased to build a new church, one of the primary considerations was that the new church would be erected near the Center, thereby preserving the bond between the parish and the religious community which shared this spirituality in common.
In times past, when most people walked to the local church, it was only natural for Catholics to join the “Territorial Parish” in whose boundaries they lived. As we became a more mobile society, an increasing number of Catholics began to travel outside their locale in order to attend Mass at a parish they preferred. Many parishes, including Resurrection Parish, have experienced sizable numbers of Catholics attending Mass despite the fact that they live within the ‘territory’ of another, more local parish.
More recently, the Diocese of Rockford has indicated its resolve to restore the integrity of parish boundaries. Parishes have been instructed not to register families from other areas, but to direct them to the territorial parish near their home. This has important implications for all territorial parishes, and if Resurrection Parish remained a territorial parish, at least canonically, it would virtually end all opportunities for the parish to grow.
Soon after the year 2000, the boundaries assigned to all of the parishes in the Diocese were redrawn. The new map left Resurrection Parish with a dramatically smaller territory. Concern regarding this was communicated to the Diocese, which then invited the parish to explore the possibility of gaining ‘Personal Parish’ status. Such status would allow the parish to continue to exist without boundaries, explicitly serving those who subscribed to a particular spirituality rather than those who lived in a particular area. Since this seemed to reflect the reality of what Resurrection Parish was really all about anyway, the parish began to pursue this path, and the Friends of the Congregation of the Resurrection were born.
Since its inception, the Congregation of the Resurrection has always emphasized its collaboration with the laity. The founder of our religious community, Bogdan Janski, was himself a layman who was never ordained to the priesthood. An early rule for the ‘External Brethren’ is just one example of the many attempts that have been made to give expression to the relationship of those lay people who share the spirituality and mission of the religious community without formally taking the vows of religious life. The Friends of the Congregation is the latest expression of this relationship. By becoming a member of the Friends, a person publicly expresses his/her spiritual bond to the spirituality of Resurrection Parish and the religious community which serves it.
With an established group in the parish identified as “Friends,” the status of “Personal Parish” was pursued. On November 26, 2010, the First Sunday of Advent, Resurrection Parish was canonically declared a Personal Parish within the diocese. Now, it officially operates without boundaries, formalizing a reality that had already existed. As a requirement of Personal Parish status, all members of the parish must publicly subscribe to the Resurrectionist spirituality that characterizes our parish. The Diocese expects all members of the parish to be members of the Friends of the Congregation of the Resurrection, and further requires that all new parishioners be enrolled in the Friends at the time of their parish registration.
At first glance, this may seem as though parishioners are being ‘forced’ to join an extra organization in order to remain parishioners. This is not the case. The Friends have no required meetings, pay no dues, and take on no extra responsibilities. They are simply those members of the parish who have subscribed publicly to the Resurrectionist spirituality that is a manifest reality within our parish community
1978 – 1981 Rev. Michael Mas, C.R.
1981 – 1984 Rev. Richard Grek, C.R.
1984 – 1987 Rev. James Schultz, C.R.
1987 – 1990 Rev. Henry Ruszel, C.R.
1990 – 1999 Rev. Eugene Majewski, C.R.
1999 – 2000 Rev. Leonard Krzywda, C.R.
2000 – 2006 Rev. Jerzy Zieba, C.R.
July-Dec., 2006 Rev. Richard Grek, C.R. (administrator)
Jan.-June, 2007 Rev. Paul Sims, C.R. (administrator)
2007-2009 Rev. Glen Baptiste, C.R.
2009 – Rev. Stephen Glab, C.R.