Parish History

The parish of St. Mark the Evangelist was established by diocesan decree in June of 1962. On October 28, 1962, ground was broken for the new parish facility. Construction was begun on a school building of eight classrooms and a gymnasium. The building was located on Cole Avenue in Wheaton, and the plan was for the gym to be used temporarily as a church, until a permanent church could be built. Construction was completed about a year later, and Bishop McNamara blessed and dedicated this new complex on October 12, 1963.

Unfortunately, the projected growth in the number of students seeking Catholic education never materialized. In 1970, due to declining enrollment and financial burdens, the Joliet diocese closed some of its schools, including St. Mark’s. The parish has been fortunate in being able to provide its school classrooms to a local Montessori school for use in continuing to educate children.

The parish continued to worship in its “temporary” church, with the parishioners being served by a succession of pastors. Fr. Kilas, the founding pastor, left in 1965, and was replaced by Fr. Kirk, who served until he perished in the tragic rectory fire on March 7, 1967. The parish was the served, in succession, by Fr. Driscoll, Fr. Toomey, Fr. Parnisari and Fr. Maher. In 1987, Fr. John Ducaji became the seventh pastor of St. Mark Parish, where he served until 2014, when he retired at age of 86. The current pastor is Fr. Andrew Lewandowski, CR, a member of the Congregation of the Resurrection.

The pastors and the people of St. Mark Parish have been blessed with assistance from Benedictine monks of St. Procopius Abbey in Lisle, Illinois. Fr. Anthony Jacob has been ministering to the people of St. Mark’s for more that twenty-five years, and the people of St. Mark Parish are so very grateful for his service

The “temporary” church received substantial renovations in 2003. Fr. Ducaji procured the beautiful large marble altar from closed Maryknoll Seminary in nearby Glen Ellyn and had it restored to be the centerpiece of the renovated church. New stained glass windows were installed. An ornate gold tabernacle took its rightful place behind the altar, and above the tabernacle, a large, striking reredos and crucifix now provide the focus of attention. New statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph and St. Mark were acquired, along with new ambo and new pews. The installation of air-conditioning was another welcome addition. The gymnasium had finally become a church.

The renovations being completed, Bishop Imesch celebrated a special Mass of rededication, and consecrated the altar. Parishioners of St. Mark Parish joined in the celebration of this major event. The former altar, statues, ambo and other items were donated to the San Lorenzo Mission in New Mexico.

With the arrival of Fr. Andrew Lewandowski, CR, our new pastor, several changes have been made in the parish. St. Mark’s now has new website and a presence on the internet. A new youth ministry has been formed and the formation of a children’s choir is being planned. There is a children’s Mass at 10:15am on the second Sunday of the month, and the Mass is followed by the sharing of fellowship and coffee and doughnuts.

In addition to the monthly evening holy hour on the first Friday of each month, Fr. Andrew, CR anoints the sick of the parish after 8:00am Mass. The praying of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy takes place after the Mass on Friday mornings. The Pastor and parishioners of St. Mark Catholic Church look forward to being a force for good and for bringing the message of God’s love to all.