HISTORY OF THE PARISH
Knanaya Catholic Mission of Chicago was established in 1983 under the Archdiocese of Chicago. Rev. Fr. Jacob Chollampel took charge as the first mission director and started Holy Mass on October 28, 1983. Rev. Fr. Cyriac Manthuruthil took charge of the mission on May 31, 1988. Rev. Fr. Simon Edathiparambil was appointed as the director on August 16, 1995. Archbishop of Chicago appointed Rev. Fr. Philip Thodukayil as the director on June 25, 1999.
After establishment of the St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese of Chicago, Bishop Mar Jacob Angadiath reconstituted this mission as part of this diocese on October 29, 2003 extending its boundary to include all Knanaya Catholics living in the states of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. He also confirmed the appointment of Rev. Fr. Philip Thodukayil as the director of this mission. When he returned to Kottayam, Bishop Angadiath appointed Vicar General Fr. Abraham Mutholath as the director of this mission on July 1, 2004.
The mission bought St. James Church in Maywood from the Archdiocese of Chicago in September 2006. Fr. Abraham Mutholath offered the first mass of the mission in the new church on Friday, September 1, 2006. He, along with the parish council members inaugurated the new church on Sunday, September 3, 2006. Bishop Mar Jacob Angadiath elevated the mission as a Sacred Heart Knanaya Catholic Parish on Sunday, September 24th and appointed Fr. Abraham Mutholath as its first pastor (vicar).
Considering the size of the parishioners in Chicago, the Knanaya Catholics in Chicago bought a Jewish synagogue in Morton Grove on January 14, 2010 and converted it as a church. This is the second church of Knanaya Catholics in Chicago with the name St. Mary’s Knanaya Catholic Parish, Chicago. The consecration of this church and its elevation as a parish with Rev. Fr. Abraham Mutholath as its first pastor, was held on July 18, 2010 by His Excellency Bishop Mar Jacob Angadiath. His Grace Mar Mathew Moolakkatt, Archbishop of Kottayam was the main celebrant of the First Mass offered in this Church immediately after the consecration. His Excellency Mar Joseph Pandarasseril, the Auxiliary Bishop of Kottayam was concelebrant and gave homily during the Holy Mass.
This parish comprises of Knanaya Catholics living to the North of 90 Express Way in the state of Illinois and in the state of Wisconsin. The parish serves around 450 families. The parish church is located at 7800 W. Lyons St., Morton Grove, IL 60053.
A Visitation Convent in Chicago was also established on July 18, 2010. The convent building at 7801 W. Maple St., in Morton Grove near St. Mary’s Church was blessed on the same day after the consecration of the St. Mary's Church in Morton Grove. Three sisters of the Visitation congregation live in this convent and help with the pastoral ministry of Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s Knanaya Catholic Parishes in Chicago.
Fr. Jose Illikunnumpurath was the first associate of both Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s Knanaya Catholic Parishes. Later Fr. Saji Pinarkayil followed by Fr. Siju Mudakkodil and Fr. Suni Padinjarekkara served as the associate pastors. Fr. Thomas Mulavanal is the present pastor since October 18, 2014 and Fr. Jose Chirappurathu is the associate pastor from December 20, 2015.