St Stephen Protomartyr

St Stephen Protomartyr Parish
Phone: (847) 824-2026/ Fax:(847) 824-3842
Email: sspasst@sbcglobal.net
Parish Center: 1253 Everett Ave
Church: 1280 Prospect Ave
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St. Stephen Protomartyr Brief Parish History
 
    Cardinal Stritch appointed Fr. Thomas J. Hanley to start a new parish in the southern part of Des Plaines in 1952.  For their first year as a community, they worshiped in the chapel of St. Patrick’s Academy. They needed to build a church and school, create and support new parish programs, while establishing a new community. In just one year the school was ready to open, and they celebrated Mass in their new church on Christmas Eve of 1953. Fr. Hanley served as pastor for almost twenty-years, during which time the parish grew to about fifteen hundred families.Through the years the parish grew in ethnic diversity. The school population reached its peak of nine hundred thirty students in 1964. The parish also reached out to children who did not attend the parish’s school and instructed children through the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) now called the Religious Education Program. St. Stephen’s community outreach developed various ministries; for the sick, a ministry for aiding senior citizens, and to families including celebrations of marriage, baptisms, anniversaries, etc. It recognized social concerns and performed the works of mercy. Following Fr. Hanley's Retirement, Fr. Chris Melone became the second pastor of St. Stephen.
                           
Cardinal Bernadin appointed Fr. Leonard T. Mezydlo as the third pastor of St. Stephen’s in 1980. In 1986 the church was extensively renovated and the parishioners gathered to celebrate its rededication. Also in 1986, a Spanish speaking group of St. Stephen parishioners wanted to have a place to worship. Eventually, a small group approached St. Stephen parish about the possibility of starting a Spanish Mass with their community. This proposal was received favorably and the doors were opened to the Hispanic Community. The Hispanic Community became very active with many cultural events.

In 1993 Cardinal Bernardin appointed Father Michael Olivero the fourth pastor of St Stephen. Father Olivero served St. Stephen Protomartyr for twelve years during which time the parish school was merged with St. Mary's school and became Our Lady of Destiny school. Father Olivero also led the parish in celebrating its fiftieth anniversary.

In 2005 Father Gerald Rogala was appointed the fifth pastor by Cardinal George. In 2010 Father Rogala retired and Father Noel Reyes became the sixth pastor of St. Stephen Protomartyr parish. The parish mission is to unite both English and Spanish speaking communities in worship and faith life - while maintaining their cultural identity. Our community thrives together in worship and fellowship.

In July of 2017 Father Reyes was transferred to St Jerome Parish in Chicago and St Stephen received its seventh pastor, Father David Arcila.
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