Fr. Ken Simpson
After serving as a Deacon at St. James Parish in Highwood, Fr. Ken was ordained to the priesthood in 1978 by John Cardinal Cody. He was assigned as Associate Pastor to St. Michael Parish in Orland Park until being asked to join the faculty at Niles College Seminary of Loyola University. At Niles he taught Theology and served as Dean of Formation and Vice Rector. Expecting to return to a parish he was surprised to be asked to move into campus ministry as Director/Chaplain of the Sheil Catholic Center at Northwestern University. He stayed at Sheil for 15 years. On September 10, 2007, he began serving as the eighth Pastor of Saint Clement Parish.
Fr. Ken serves as the overall spiritual leader and is charged with the canonical responsibility of the spiritual welfare of parishioners through the pastoral care, organizations and physical assets of the parish. His main duties are celebrating the Sacraments, preaching the Gospel, the spiritual care of parishioners, the overall oversight of the parish ministries and supervision of parish staff. He provides a vision for Saint Clement Parish and assures the implementation of its mission. He also serves the Archdiocese as Dean of the parishes and Catholic instructions in the area surrounding Saint Clement.
Fr. Simpson's wide variety of interests and involvements include spiritual direction, parish renewal and organization, ministerial formation and Catholic education. He is proud to have served firefighters and emergency workers throughout his ministerial career as a Firefighter/EMT/Chaplain.
He holds a Masters of Divinity degree from Mundelein Seminary and a Masters in Spirituality from the University of San Francisco.
Fr. Rex Pillai, CSSR
Fr. Rex Pillai is originally from Sri Lanka, an island that is located off the Southern coast of India. He was ordained as a member of a religious order known as the "Redemptorists." After his ordination he was engaged in preaching parish missions, retreats and parish ministry in Sri Lanka.
He arrived in Chicago in 2005 to attend graduate school at Loyola University to obtain a degree in Psychology and Counseling. It was during his time at Loyola University that he began to discern a calling to the diocesan priesthood in the Archdiocese of Chicago. After prayer and guidance he made a decision to transition to the Archdiocese of Chicago, a process known as "Incardination." The Incardination process consists of two phases in two different parishes. He began the first phase of his incardination process in November 2009 at St. Benedict Parish on W. Irving Park Road. The time he spent at St. Benedict Parish gave him an insight into parish ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago. He was able to learn much at St. Benedict Parish and feels blessed to have been part of a vibrant faith community.
While taking classes at Loyola University, Fr. Rex was a resident at St. Michael Parish in Old Town, where he first heard of Saint Clement Parish in Lincoln Park. He joined the pastoral staff of Saint Clement Parish in July 2013. This marks the beginning of the second phase of his Incardination process.
Fr. Rex is honored and humbled to be part of a parish that has served God’s people in Chicago for over a century, and share in the vision of this great parish. His job duties include preaching, celebrating the sacraments, sacramental preparation, pastoral visits to the sick and homebound, counseling and spiritual direction, marriage preparation, married couples group, working with teens/youth group (the God Squad), and Ministry of Care.
Deacon Tim Sullivan
Deacon Tim is the permanent deacon assigned to the parish family at Saint Clement by Cardinal George. He is an Ohio native where he went to John Carroll University in the Cleveland Area. He was a Special Agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (which was then under the U.S. Treasury Department). After retiring from ATF in 1999 he was ordained to the permanent diaconate by Adam Cardinal Maida of the Archdiocese of Detroit and received his masters of theology in 2000 from Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. During his studies for the diaconate, he did his internship at St. Mary’s Hospital in Livonia, Michigan in pastoral care. He taught Theology at Loyola High School in the inner city of Detroit for eight years as well as being the campus chaplain and chair of the theology department for five years. During that period he also was the chaplain (4 years) at a juvenile girl’s detention facility in Dearborn Heights, Michigan and chaplain at a nursing home in Detroit (5 years). From 2001 until 2010 he was the Detroit Field Division Chaplain for the Bureau of ATF. In 1992 he founded a public charity which ministered to (and continues to minister) to the homeless and marginalized in downtown Detroit and continued as president until 2010. He still remains on the board of directors to an organization that now has three locations and serves between 250-300 people ever week on Saturday (food, clothing and counseling). He has two daughters in Chicago.
As a deacon, his primary ministry is one of charity. He also assists at Mass, proclaims the Gospel, preaches, baptizes and witnesses marriages as well as para-liturgical duties such as Benediction during the week, house and business blessings as well as a variety of other services. He is also available for counseling and spiritual direction.
We are blest to have the support of priests who generously give of their time to collaborate with the mission of Saint Clement Parish. They are:
Fr. Peter Wojcik, In-Residence
Fr. Michael Caruso, S.J., President, Ignatius College Prep
Fr. Chris Robinson, C.M., Adjunct Faculty, DePaul University
Fr. Charles Shelby, C.M., Vice Chancellor, DePaul University
Christina Bax joined the Saint Clement Parish staff in June 2009. Christina coordinates the Sacramental Preparation for Adults in the parish – including the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), Baptismal preparation for parents, and the adult Confirmation program. She is also the Director of Adult Faith Formation and works closely with the Young Adult Community (20’s and 30’s), serving as their staff liaison, overseeing the annual young adult retreat, and coordinating the Theology on Tap speaker series.
Christina graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theology from the University of Notre Dame, where she spent the year after her graduation as a full-time intern in Campus Ministry. Christina continued her studies at her alma mater, and graduated with a Master of Divinity in 2009. Originally from Naperville, Illinois, Christina enjoys taking pictures, creating a variety of crafts, and traveling the world.
Christina is a certified Pastoral Associate in the Archdiocese of Chicago, where she is also a called and commissioned Lay Ecclesial Minister.
Mary Ellen Blanchard
Mary Ellen joined Saint Clement Parish staff in August 2008 as Database Manager and Financial Stewardship assistant. As Database Manager she is responsible for keeping parishioner information up to date. This includes adding new parishioner information and changes in parishioner status. In addition, she enters all contributions, prepares various mailing lists and reports. She also provides computer support to the staff.
She graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Communications and a master’s degree from National Lewis University as a Reading Specialist. Before joining Saint Clement, Mary Ellen was a Real Estate Broker and owner/broker of a residential mortgage company. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, she is proud mother of two children and Grandmother of a delightful granddaughter.
Kim Carter joined the parish staff in 2007. Kim came to Saint Clement from St. Nicholas Church in Evanston, where she worked from 2001 until 2007 as the Parish Business Manager. In her role as Director of Operations for the parish, Kim is responsible for finances, facilities, fundraising, and human resources.
Kim is accountable for all parish finances including budget preparation and management, annual and interim reports to the Archdiocese, staff liaison to the Finance Council and monthly reports provided to them, bill paying, and bank relations, and manages the administrative staff. She is co-liaison to the Stewardship Council. In addition, Kim is responsible for our facilities management including acting as liaison to our Building and Grounds Committee, project manager for construction projects, manages major repairs, renovations and capital projects, and manages custodial and maintenance functions and staff. She acts as liaison to Archdiocesan administrative agencies, and is responsible for parish security. She is also responsible for human resources, including processing payroll and acting as the local benefits administrator, and assists the Pastor in hiring of new staff. Fundraising is also part of Kim's function. She leads many dedicated volunteers for our annual gala and only fundraiser that benefits both the school and church, Anchor Ball.
Prior to church work, Kim was a project manager for a consumer affairs software company. Her work has also included directing customer service/consumer affairs departments, and project management/accounting consulting. She graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management/Administration.
Melissa received her B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Rehabilitation Psychology and worked as a school counselor for three years with K - 8 students in inner city schools who were experiencing emotional and behavioral issues. She received her M.Ed. from the University of Minnesota in Elementary Education in 2000 and then worked as a Special Education teacher for Minneapolis Public Schools. Melissa then went on to serve as a middle school English and Literature teacher at Nativity of Our Lord School in Saint Paul, Minnesota for seven years.
During that time, she was selected as a candidate for the Murray Institute by the Archdiocese of Saint Paul-Minneapolis, and began pursuing her K - 12 Principal Licensure and Ed.S. from the University of Saint Thomas which she completed in 2007.
Melissa led Maternity of Mary - St. Andrew School (MMSA) in Saint Paul as Principal from 2007 until her tenure at Saint Clement began in 2010.
Melissa leads a student body of 475 students and 60 school faculty and staff members. Melissa, her husband, Bryan, and son Aidan are parishioners at Saint Clement and her son attends Saint Clement School. Melissa was recently named a Van Lunen Fellow by Calvin College and is completing her fellowship project on serving students with special needs in Catholic schools.
She is an avid reader and enjoys running, biking, kayaking, and the state of Minnesota in her free time.
Gael joined Saint Clement in February 2007 as our Parish Receptionist and Wedding Coordinator. In her role as Parish Receptionist, she provides both welcome and hospitality to all who come to the Parish Office. In addition, Gael is the person on staff who assists with facility scheduling and coordination, keeps all the sacramental records, and supports the parish ministry to our homeless guests.
As Wedding Coordinator, Gael works with couples wishing to be married here, beginning with scheduling the wedding and Marriage Information Night through record keeping and recording. Before joining Saint Clement, Gael worked as an executive assistant to key executives for such companies as Pan American World Airways, Washington National Insurance Company, and Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. She was born and raised in New York City, is the proud grandmother of two grandchildren, and loves to spend time with them.
Raised in Massachusetts, Flo grew up in a loud and loving Catholic family of seven children. After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature at the University of Massachusetts, she enjoyed a twelve-year career in medical and independent publishing. Her love of Chicago began in 1994 when she moved here for a job. She and her husband, a South Side Chicagoan, got married in 2001, and both feel so fortunate to be raising their two sons in this amazing city, and in this parish community!
"Schooled in the pews," her role at Saint Clement Parish began with volunteer work, and in 2006, former pastor Fr. Tom Hickey hired her onto the staff as Coordinator of Liturgy. In 2015, she completed her Master of the Arts in Pastoral Studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. Her responsibilities include the recruiting, scheduling and formation of Liturgical Ministers, and coordinating liturgies throughout the year. She is grateful to be serving the parish in this capacity. She enjoys witnessing people making connections, and is energized by helping individuals cultivate a sense of belonging and ownership of the parish.
Rachel Espinoza joined the Saint Clement staff in June 2015. She directs the religious education program for parish children, sacramental preparation, Liturgy of the Word for Children, and family catechesis. She offers training and support for the catechists at Saint Clement and collaborates in providing adult faith formation in the parish. She also guides the Faith Formation Committee called Faith in the Next Generation.
Rachel earned a Bachelor of Arts in Theology and Catechetics from Franciscan University and a Master of Divinity degree from the University of Notre Dame. She has worked professionally in parish ministry for five years and is a certified Pastoral Associate of the Archdiocese of Chicago. She is also an author for Liturgy Training Publications and wrote Sunday Prayer for Catholic School Teachers (2015-2016) and Sunday Prayer for Teens (2016-2017).
“The question of how we are educating in faith is not rhetorical, it is essential. The response calls for courage, creativity and the decision to take paths which are at times yet uncharted. The catechesis, as a component of the process of evangelization, needs to go beyond the simple realm of scholastics, in order to educate believers, beginning with children, to encounter Christ, living and working in his Church. It is the encounter with [Christ] that gives rise to the desire to know him better and thus to follow Him to become his disciples.” ~ Pope Francis, May 29, 2015
Dave joined Saint Clement Maintenance staff in July 2005. He is responsible for the cleanliness and orderliness of the church, chapel, and parish grounds. In addition, Dave works with staff and parishioners to ensure that the various meetings and activities have the proper set-up. Strong and kind, you will often find Dave helping parishioners and staff by carrying a “heavy load” for our outreach programs. Dave was born in Oak Park and has lived in the Chicago area his entire life. He enjoys music, movies and bike riding.
Lisa Friedlander joined the parish staff in April 2013 as our Ministerial Associate. Her primary responsibilities include God Squad (our youth group), the Engagement Committee, and baptism scheduling.
Lisa joined our faith community in 1999, was married here and baptized her two children here. Her son and daughter are current students at our school. Through the years Lisa has been involved in many of our ministries as a volunteer and we are excited to now have her as a member of our staff.
As the Director of Community Outreach, Maggie directs and coordinates the parish's outreach efforts and service opportunities through Donate-a-Day and other ministries, and serves as liaison to organizations in the community with whom we have relationships. She also oversees outreach to the hungry through the sack lunch ministry and Friday hospitality. In addition to outreach efforts, Maggie is the staff liaison to the Welcome and Hospitality Committee, hosting new parishioner events and plaza hospitality, and oversees the Sunday morning child care ministry. She also coordinates parish-wide special events such as Fall Fest and Service Day.
A native of Indianapolis, Maggie is a proud Purdue Boilermaker, having graduated in 2006. While at Purdue, she was active at St. Tom's, the Catholic center at the University. Maggie has been on staff at Saint Clement since July 2007. She and her husband John were married in the parish in October 2010, and baptized their daughter Lucy in December 2013.
Jim joined Saint Clement in January 2000 as head of Maintenance. He is responsible for the overall cleanliness and safety of the parish which includes both the church and school buildings and grounds. Jim coordinates the daily activities of the parish maintenance staff and works with outside vendors as needed to keep the mechanical systems in good repair and working order. Jim has been married for 24 years and has two children.
Heather Kracik joined the parish staff in June 2013 as our Parish Stewardship and Development Coordinator, a newly created role -- one of the first strategic initiatives to be implemented from our Parish Transformation Project. Heather is responsible for coordinating the timing, messaging and implementation of all financial appeals and fundraising events for both Saint Clement Church and Saint Clement School.
Heather joined our faith community in 2001, was married here, baptized her daughter here and her daughter is a student at our school. Through the years, Heather has been involved in many of our ministries as a volunteer and we are excited to now have her as a member of our staff.
Joanna joined the Saint Clement Parish staff in April 2005, serving as the Communications Specialist until May 2014. Joanna now serves the parish as the Outreach and Adult Formation Assistant, coordinating the Friday Sack Lunch Ministry and Plaza Hospitality, and assisting with various service, hospitality, and parish-wide events. She also provides administrative support to our Director of Community Outreach, Maggie, and our Pastoral Associate, Christina.
Joanna graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English/Creative Writing and Women Studies, earning the John Gerrietts Award for Excellence in Creative Writing--awarded to one graduating senior each year. During college, she held internships at the Field Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art (in their marketing and media relations departments, respectively). In June 2013, Joanna graduated (with distinction) from DePaul University, earning a Master of Arts degree in Writing and Publishing.
A parishioner since 2000, Cathy joined the staff as Assistant to the Pastor in 2003. Mother of four and grandmother of four, Cathy is a nurse by profession and a Chicagoan for over thirty years. As Assistant to the Pastor, Cathy serves the parish by coordinating the schedules of our Mass presiders, hosting many social events, supporting liturgical ministries, and helping engaged couples with marriage preparation.
Gabe serves on the Saint Clement staff as Director of Liturgy, where he works with the pastor in overseeing liturgy and music as well as the liturgy staff. He also serves as one of the parish organists and works with the Jubilate children’s choir. He studied sacred music and organ performance at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and graduated with a B.M. in organ performance and sacred music. Following undergraduate work at Duquesne, Gabe studied liturgy at the University of Notre Dame, and graduated with a M.A. in theology, concentrating in liturgical studies.
Gabe grew up in Jeannette, Pennsylvania, a small town located on the outskirts of Pittsburgh. He had a fascination with organ at church and had a great love of the liturgy. Gabe began playing organ for Stations of the Cross and Masses in eighth grade and has since dedicated his life to liturgy and music in the church. In 2002, Gabe began work on the Saint Clement staff as Director of Liturgy. He departed Saint Clement in 2006 to work at Loyola University Chicago. Gabe spent three years working at Loyola University Chicago before returning to Saint Clement in 2009 to serve in this current position. Gabe lives in on the Northside with his wife and their two Wire Fox Terriers, Buster and Stewie.
Named Director of Music at Saint Clement in 2010, Paul is a distinguished Chicago accompanist, vocal coach, composer, conductor and singer. He has served both faculty and staff at Roosevelt University, Lake Forest College, Concordia University, Columbia College, and the School of Music at DePaul University.
He has sung with the Chicago Symphony and Grant Park Music Festival choruses. His vocal and instrumental compositions have been recorded on the Cedille, Imaginary Road and Polygram labels, and he has appeared both at the keyboard and as a singer on Live from Studio One on WFMT. Currently he serves as accompanist to the Grant Park Music Festival chorus. Paul serves Saint Clement as principal organist and director of three choral ensembles: Schola Clementis, Seraphim, and Cantate Choir. In addition, he auditions and trains all cantors and instrumentalists.
Patrick joined the staff of Saint Clement in October of 2010. He holds degrees in piano performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and from Northwestern University. Patrick directs the Chapel Choir and assists Music Director Paul Nicholson with a myriad of tasks, including music library work and additional keyboard support in the church. In addition to his work at Saint Clement, he is deeply involved in the musical life of Chicago, directing several musical organizations and accompanying others. In 2014 the City Council of Chicago declared December 5, 2014 to be Patrick Sinozich Day, in honor of his outstanding artistic contributions to the city of Chicago.
Katherine White started working at Saint Clement in 2010 as a Babysitter and R.E. Receptionist. Now she is currently a part-time night receptionist and the Catechesis Administrative Assistant for Religious Education. She prepares all the supplies for Religious Education classes on Sundays and helps with the organization of volunteer and substitute teachers. Katherine White has been a part of the Saint Clement community since 1997 as a kindergartener at Saint Clement School. She is receiving her Associates Degree at Wilbur Wright College and will further her education at a University in the spring time.
As the Communication Specialist, Jennifer is responsible for the parish’s visual, written and online communication. This includes designing and editing the weekly bulletin and printed materials (brochures, signage, flyers, etc); serving as the managing editor of The Plaza, our weekly e-newsletter; updating the parish website. Jennifer manages the social media of the parish such as our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and she oversees the parish’s multimedia.
Jennifer is currently a student at Columbia College Chicago majoring in journalism. She has bylines in publications such as The Daily Herald, The Columbia Chronicle, CS Magazine and Community Media Workshop. Jennifer has also managed social media accounts for The Columbia Chronicle and Community Media Workshop.