Letter from Fr. Peter: July 2021

Dear Friends,

We give thanks, we welcome, and we celebrate!

First, we give thanks to God for those who have been a part of the Clement story. Our members and staff who invested their gifts and energy in growing our community and who, in the coming summer months are moving on. Please know of our prayers of thanksgiving and our blessings to each and every one of you as we hold you in our grateful memories and in our hearts. In a special way, I would like to thank Mari Jo Hanson who, for the last 5 years, led our school community. I was privileged to work and minister with Mari Jo over the last year and I will be always grateful for her impact on our faith community. This year we also thank Sister Virginia who was the last religious serving in our school community and whom we hope to celebrate this fall. Finally, with deep gratitude I offer my thanks to our director of outreach, Barbara Silva, who is returning to her hometown of Boston this summer. We are a better community for Barbara’s 2 years of incredible and fruitful service here.

These summer months also bring new faces to our parish. On behalf of over 3,400 families here at Saint Clement and our staff, I welcome you and I pray that you find Saint Clement as welcoming, engaging and inviting as I did. Please visit clement.org to register as a member to ensure we have a way of communicating with you and engaging you on the journey of faith. We also welcome our new principal Kristen Fink, who previously served as the principal at Sacred Heart School in Winnetka. Kristen brings with her an excellence in leadership and a clarity of vision, two qualities that are necessary for any thriving school. On July 1 we will welcome Fr. Paul Barwikowski as our second associate pastor. Fr. Paul serves right now as the administrator of Saint Constance in Chicago. His focus will be on liturgy and Ministry of Care. We are also blessed to welcome our first ever campus minister, Kelly Deehan. Kelly is a Notre Dame grad who will join us in leading the faith formation and spiritual engagement of our school families. Additionally, we were fortunate to be selected as a training site for Amate House, a volunteer service of the Archdiocese of Chicago. This year we will welcome our first ever full-time Amate House resident, Martina Ricca, who will continue Barbara’s work of outreach, service and formation. With Rachel Espinoza, I am overjoyed to welcome our catechists and formators who share the gift of faith with our incredible religious education families. Finally, I am happy, together with Kristen, to welcome our new teachers and school staff who will support the formation and education of over 450 students at Saint Clement.

Friends, these summer months are an opportunity to reconnect, celebrate, see old friends and meet new folks. Please join us every Saturday after 5 p.m. Mass for a happy hour to simply celebrate you, our members! Bring your friends and share with them the gift of Saint Clement. We are also excited to host Wine Down Wednesdays, an opportunity to join us for 6 p.m. Mass, followed by a 90 minute happy hour hosted by one of the many ministries of Saint Clement. A few of the events will include speakers like Professor Sally Blount, a former Dean of The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and the current President and CEO of Catholic Charities, and the Very Rev. John Kartje, President of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake. Finally, we are excited to restart out legendary Theology on Tap! On Tuesday nights in July our young adult community is invited to join in celebration and learning. Some of the speakers for this year’s TOT include Cardinal Blase Cupich, our parishioner and Chief Operating Officer of the Archdiocese of Chicago, Betsy Bohlen, therapist Julia Hogan and Cliff Barber, the Chief Strategy Officer of the Archdiocese of Chicago.  

As you can see, summer here at Saint Clement will be both busy and exciting! Please join us in celebrating our faith, our belonging and the difference we make together in Christ’s name.

Fr. Peter Wojcik, Pastor