St. Nicholas Church. (Google Maps image)

The Archdiocese of Chicago Saturday announced plans to combine four Evanston-area parishes into two, while keeping all four churches open for services.

St. Athanasius Parish will combine with St. Joan of Arc Parish in Skokie. St. Nicholas Parish will combine with the St. Mary Parish.

Each parish will have one pastor. Parish offices will be at St. A’s and St. Nick’s.

The changes will be effective July 1.

Local Catholic schools will continue to operate essentially unchanged. And there will be no change to the operation of the Sheil Catholic Center at Northwestern University.

The two combined parishes will eventually be given new names, but the church buildings will retain their existing names.

Rev. Kenneth Anderson will be pastor of the St. A’s/St. Joan parish. The name of a new pastor for the St. Nick’s/St. Mary parish is expected to be announced later in the year.

The announcement says the long-term viability of maintaining the dual church sites for each parish “will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.”

The consolidation of parishes process is underway throughout the archdiocese. A similar consolidation plan was announced Friday in Oak Park.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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