St. Julian Eymard Catholic Parish has been serving the Catholic community in Elk Grove Village for more than 50 years. Steeped in Catholic tradition and ritual, the liturgy is proclaimed with wisdom, insight and love. We celebrate the Word of God by sharing our time, talent and treasure with our parish, within the community and with the larger Catholic community.
“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” —Matthew 18:20
In 1967, the Archdiocese of Chicago purchased 11 acres of land across the street from AMITA Hospital (formerly Alexian Brothers Medical Center), to address growing development on the West side of Elk Grove Village.
In May, 1968, a new parish was officially formed and Fr. James E. Shea was appointed its Pastor. The new parish celebrated its first Masses on July 14, 1968.
Cardinal Cody announced the selection of St. Peter Julian Eymard as the new parish’s patron in November, 1968. Later that month the Archdiocese purchased a single family home in Elk Grove Village to serve at the new parish’s rectory and temporary gathering space.
The first ministry meeting was held by the Women’s Club at the Elk Grove Village Public Library in December, 1968, where Mrs. Mary Semrau was elected the first president.
After years of setting up and taking down chairs in Lively Jr. High School’s multi-purpose room, in November, 1976, the St. Julian congregation embarked on a pledge campaign to raise funds to build a permanent church facility. Associate Pastor, Fr. Thomas Vitro, was instrumental in getting this campaign started.
The official groundbreaking for St. Julian’s new church facility occurred on July 17, 1977. Elk Grove Mayor Zettek and architect Joseph Cimino were in attendance along with Fr. Shea, Fr. Vitro and Sr. Rosemary Lynch, the Parish’s Director of Religious Education.
On October 27, 1978, the St. Julian parish community celebrated its first Masses in the new church facility.
On April 29, 1979, the St. Julian community learned of the passing of its founding Pastor, Fr. James Shea, following a brief bout with cancer.
Fr. John F. Dedek was appointed to succeed Fr. Shea on May 3, 1979 and concelebrated the church’s official dedication with Cardinal Cody in August.
In September, 1973, the Blessed Sacrament Father’s of Notre Dame donated the statue of St. Julian Eymard, which is placed at the church’s main entrance on Biesterfield, as well as the Blessed Mother with child Jesus, which resides in the prayer garden on the West side of the church.
Lightning struck the rectory in July, 1980. Fortunately not much damage was done, and staff and parishioners teased that God was trying to send Fr. Dedek a message.
A shrewd businessman, Fr. Dedek struck a deal with the Elk Grove Park District to increase the church’s parking in exchange for leasing back the lot for Pirate’s Cove overflow parking when the church didn’t need the lot.
In 1986, Fr. Dedek approved the construction of a permanent Baptistry, and the purchase of new Altar Mensa, Tabernacle and Lectern for the church.
1988 saw continued improvements to the parish facility, most notably the addition of a dedicated 13-classroom School of Religion.
On Thanksgiving Day, 1993, the statue of Pieta, donated by longtime parishioners Tony and Terri Maioriello, was dedicated by Fr. Dedek. In 2015, the statue was moved inside the church and the alcove design was sponsored by the Women’s Club.
In 1998, Fr. Dedek announced that he would retire the following year, which would be his twentieth in service to St. Julian.
In November, 1999 former Associate Pastor, Fr. Leon Rezula, was appointed Pastor of St. Julian, following Fr. Dedek’s retirement. Fr. Leon had served as Associate Pastor from June, 1978 to June, 1980 and was welcomed back warmly.
The Women’s Club, which had been dissolved in the 80s, was re-constituted in July, 2000 and Mrs. Susan Dompke was elected president.
Fr. Rezula worked quickly to reinvigorate other church ministries as well as the Parish Pastoral Council.
In 2000, St. Julian participated along with other parishes across the Archdiocese in the Millennium Campaign. This was a multi-year campaign which raised more than $220M across the diocese, with 80% of funds staying in the parishes for capital improvements and ministerial growth.
December, 2000 brought the sad news that St. Julian’s Pastor Emeritus, Fr. Dedek, had died unexpectedly after 45 years in the priesthood.
In 2013, St. Julian participated in another Archdiocesan-wide capital campaign, To Teach Who Christ Is. Another multi-year campaign, this time intended to bolster scholarships, provide religious education for catechists and spark academic excellence and innovation in Catholic schools. Sixty percent of funds will stay in the parishes.
In July, 2015, Fr. Brian Kean was installed as St. Julian’s fourth pastor. Earlier that month, Fr. Leon Rezula retired after 16 years of service, and was celebrated with a parish-wide picnic. Fr. Rezula continues to reside in the area and still celebrates Mass at St. Julian often.
In 2018, St. Julian celebrated its 50th Anniversary, and Fr. Brian arranged four events to commemorate the occasion and provide opportunity for all to celebrate the parish history:
50th Anniversary Mass celebrated with Cardinal Cupich on August 5th at 11am.
Annual Parish Picnic held on Septebmer 16th at noon, following celebration of an 11am outdoor Mass.
Parish Banquet and Dinner Dance held at Avalon Banquets on November 5th.
Distribution of the Parish’s first Family Parish Book. Family photography took place in Shea Hall across 10 days in July, 2018 and the books were distributed right after the new year in 2019.
Fr. Rezula celebrated his Golden Jubilee on Friday, April 26, 2019 at Mundelein Seminary. The occasion was honored by a Mass & Reception at St. Julian on May 4th, and Fr. Brian commemorated the occasion by adding Fr. Leon’s portrait to, as Tim Dompke puts it, our wall of fame in Shea Hall.