A NEW CHURCH
Born from the humble beginnings of celebrating Mass in a renovated barn, to what has now become a gorgeous, multi-million dollar building project, St. Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church in Old Mill Creek, Illinois, is being built with future of the ever-growing parish in mind, while still maintaining a sense of the past. The parish, located about 50 miles northwest of Chicago, sits along the Wisconsin-Illinois border and it enjoys serving parishioners from both states. Since its formation five years ago, the parish has doubled in size, to more than 550 families, and it’s the first new parish within Chicago Archdiocese in many years.
The construction project, the first of its kind, is a monument to preservation, conservation and restoration. The exterior of the church is constructed of limestone bricks from the shuttered St. John of God church on Chicago’s south side, and the interior liturgical appointments—including the marble alter and nave—are from Chicago’s St. Peter Canisius Church. Nearly every major piece of the church features reclaimed building materials or pieces from shuttered churches around the area.
Today phase one is nearly complete, with two 80-foot bell towers gracing each side of the impressive entrance to the European-style church. The inside of the church, with its marble alter features 42-foot-tall cathedral ceilings and a massive 100-year-old reconditioned pipe organ. The new church is scheduled for completion during the summer of 2013.
A NEW CHAPTER
In mid-2009—just before the merger between Catholic Knights and Catholic Family Life Insurance—then Catholic Knights was busy building a presence in the northern Illinois/Chicago area. Fr. John Jamnicky fostered a relationship with Matthew Tomlinson, an advisor with Catholic Financial Life's Southeastern Wisconsin Agency.
Fr. Jamnicky was looking for a partner to help build his parish. Later than year, Fr. Jamnicky met with Catholic Financial Life leaders Bill O’Toole, president and CEO and John Borgen, vice president of fraternal and member services. In the months and years that followed, a new chapter was built that now includes over 700 members.
“There can be a great synergy in parish communities. We wanted to pilot an old, but new idea of creating a parish-based chapter. Matt was extremely involved in growing the membership and when combined with the existing member-base, there was a demand for a chapter,” commented John Borgen.
In April of this year, a celebration dinner was held near Gurnee, Illinois, to inaugurate the formation of the chapter. “With St. Raphael being a brand new church, starting a brand new chapter seemed like a perfect fit,” said Matthew Tomlinson.
To read more about St. Raphael the Archangel and Catholic Financial Life's newest chapter, check out or fall issue of Catholic Financial Life's Member Magazine.