St. Procopius is a Catholic parish with a dual language grade school in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago serving a predominately Mexican-American congregation. At the time of its founding in 1875 under the Order of St. Benedict, St. Procopius served a predominantly Czech community.
On Easter Sunday of 1876, the first Mass was celebrated, and that same year St. Procopius School opened. Less than ten years later the church was converted entirely to school use and a new church was constructed. After a century of pastoral ministry, the Benedictines returned administration of the parish to the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1986. The same year, the church was blessed by a visit from Mother Teresa.
In 1992 the Jesuits accepted the pastoral ministry at St. Procopius with the hope of developing educational ministries for the Pilsen area. The "Pilsen Project" brought about two new institutions and a revitalization of the parish school. The next year the Fathers conducted a feasibility study regarding the educational needs of the Mexican-American communities in the local neighborhoods. This study led to the establishment of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in 1996.
Additionally, St. Procopius Elementary School now educates its 250 students to be academically proficient in both English and Spanish and is the only dual language elementary school in the archdiocese. (Photo by Senor Coda, via Flickr.)