We have a large, talented and dedicated professional core staff at Saint Anne. The core staff consists of those who are the animators for the four commissions. The core staff meets twice a month for prayer, business, planning and communication. The pastor meets yearly with each parish core staff member for personal ministry review and evaluation.
Believe it or not we are already several weeks into 2021! For some people, swinging into the new year was easy, nothing different. Perhaps that’s because they weren ‘t actually expecting nor even thinking about doing anything different. And then there were those who were satisfied with the way things were going in their lives and not willing to try anything different. Most of us simply carry the same baggage from year to year. Someone put it this way: “Baggage is what most people take into each year – just old stuff in a new bag.”
But maybe it doesn’t matter whether we made a resolution in January or not! One statistic tells us that only 25% keep their resolutions after 30 days and only 8% actually accomplish their resolution. There’s got to be a better way! There is! Erma Bombeck , in assessing her life, wrote a wonderful piece that expressed her goals which certainly could take her out of the “same old, same old” pattern and into a higher level of expectations for herself. She offers her personal thoughts as possible suggestions to help us in determining how we might forge a new path for ourselves that can begin right now.
She wrote: “If I had my life to live over…
I would have talked less and listened more.
I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.
I would have eaten popcorn in the “good” living room and worried less about dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.
I would have taken time to listen to grandma ramble about her youth.
I would not be worried about the children playing on the lawn and getting grass stains on their clothes.
I would have cried and laughed less while watching TV and more while watching life around me.
I would have gone to bed early when sick instead of pretending the earth would stop if I weren’t there for a day.
There would be more “I love you” and “I’m sorry”, more listening to hearts and speaking to hearts.
I would have seized every minute of life, looked at it and really saw it… tried it on…lived it… exhausted it and never would give a minute back until there was nothing left!”
What are the changes we wish to make in our lives? When we consider making those changes, the first thing we should address is what we can do that will make a positive difference not only in our own but in others’ lives as well. A powerful way to make that difference is by choosing something that prompts us to be more giving. Bombeck vowed to give “until there was nothing left.” What would the world look like if we all decided to give more? Here lies a challenge. We’re human and, as such, we don’t always like to step out of our comfort zone. But change is growth. Change is opportunity. Change is powerful. Someone once said: “Get comfortable with the uncomfortable and see how your life changes for the better.” So what’s the secret to embracing change? Socrates said it best: “The secret of change is to focus all of our energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” Spiritual mentors suggest that we might want to look at something that will be a building block of peace and joy. They remind us that we should choose something we never even dreamed we could accomplish. C. S. Lewis said it so well. “We are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. We all need things to which we aspire, for without hopes and dreams,” he says, “one’s life becomes stagnant. “
The adults seeking to find out about the Catholic Church through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) have been continuing their journey begun last year with a period of learning about the word of God, the teachings of the Church, the community, prayer and apostolic works of service for others.
On Saturday, February 13th, at the 5:15pm Mass, we are celebrating the Rite of Sending. At this ritual, the Parish formally sends the Catechumen for Election by Cardinal Cupich at Holy Name Cathedral in a few weeks. We will also be celebrating the Call to Continuing Conversion for our Candidates.
A milestone in the RCIA process, the Church will formally ratify the Catechumen’s readiness for the Sacraments of Initiation, and the Candidates’ readiness to be received into full Communion with the Catholic Church. Please join us as we continue with the Catechumens and Candidates on their journey of exploration of their relationships with God and the Church community. We look forward to celebrating with the Saint Anne community!
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
Fr. Joji Thanugundla is originally from Hyderabad, South India. After finishing high school, college, where he studied Philosophy, he went on to study Theology in Bangalore. He was ordained a priest in 1994. He also holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Sociology. He worked for three years in Hyderabad and was then sent by his Archbishop to the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1997. Since then he served at Immaculate Heart of Mary in the city, St. Gerald’s in Oak Lawn, St. James in Arlington Heights and is now at Saint Anne in Barrington.
Fr. Joji comes from a family of six children, two girls and four boys. One of his brother is also a priest (Fr. Jerome working in India). Having worked in Chicago for almost 20 years Fr. Joji has gained much experience of Chicago Church. He is passionate about pastoral ministry by being available and personally connected to the community. He enjoys being with people attending all activities in the parish. He loves to walk in the school to meet and greet children and teachers. He is always ready to minister to the people by celebrating the sacraments and visiting the sick. He also enjoys sports and he is a good soccer, volleyball, ping-pong and bean bag player.
He is honored and humbled to be Saint Anne. While working with many ministries in the parishes, he was personally involved with RCIA, Liturgy and Bible study. His desire and mission is to work, build and be a part of a strong Catholic community which includes learning from the community and sharing his gifts and talents. He likes to “bloom where he is planted”.
Business and Operations Manager
Margaret Buckstaff joined the Saint Anne parish staff as Business and Operations Manager in 2009. She came to us from Saint Raymond de Penafort Parish, where she had served in the similar role since 1995. In her role as Business and Operations Manager for the parish, Margaret is responsible for oversite of finance, facilities, fundraising and human resources.
Margaret is accountable for all parish finances including budget preparation and management, annual and interim reports to the Archdiocese, staff liaison to the Finance Council, bill paying, bank relations, and managing the parish administrative staff. She is co-animator of the Parish Life Commission where she works with many dedicated volunteers for our Fall Classic Golf Outing, Trivia Night and social events such as Music under the stars.
In addition, Margaret is responsible for oversight of major repairs, renovations and capital projects, and manages the custodial and maintenance functions including staff and outside vendors. She acts as liaison to Archdiocese administrative agencies and is responsible for human resources, including processing payroll, acts as local benefits administrator, and assists the Pastor in hiring new staff members.
Prior to church work, her career had concentrated on Accounting and Human Resources for ABC-TV Spot sales as well as Health Care Companies in the Chicagoland area. She is a graduate of Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Director, Liturgy and Music
Rory Cooney has been Director of Liturgy and Music Ministries since 1994, coming to St. Anne after serving at St. Jerome Catholic Church in Phoenix for over ten years previously. From 1985 through 2014, he served as a team member with the North American Forum on the Catechumenate throughout the US, Canada, England, and Ireland, helping to empower ministers to grasp the vision and possibilities of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.
Rory’s compositions appear in hymnals and worships aids of several publishers, as well as in the hymnals of Presbyterian, Lutheran, and Mennonite communities. He was the 2014 recipient of the Pastoral Musician of the Year award from the National Association of Pastoral Musicians. His articles have appeared in Pastoral Music, as well as other periodicals.
Associate Director, Liturgy
Georgene Farman has been a member of the parish for 25 years and has been with the Liturgy Department for 18 years. She became the Associate Director two years ago. Georgene has a degree in Business Administration from Northwestern University and a certification as a liturgist from the Diocese of Chicago.
Director, Care Ministries
Mary Ellen Johnston
Director, Care Ministries
Mary Ellen Johnston joined the Saint Anne Catholic Community staff in June 2016 and serves as Director of Care Ministries. Her responsibilities include coordinating visits of Ministers of Care who bring the Eucharist to sick and homebound parishioners, and to residents of seven health care and hospice facilities in the Barrington area. Through the Bereavement Ministry, she meets with families who have lost a loved one to plan the funeral liturgy. In addition, she works with the parish senior community, oversees the Ministry of Praise, serves as a liaison to organizations in the community and coordinates the Human Concerns Commission.
Mary Ellen earned both a Bachelor of Business Administration in Economics and a Master of Business Administration degree from Loyola University Chicago. Her previous work experience in fundraising and development included raising funds for poor U.S. mission dioceses at Catholic Extension, for pediatric health care at Children’s Memorial Foundation, for international emergency response programs at Concern Worldwide and for epilepsy research at CURE.
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
As the Marketing and Communication Coordinator, Amy is responsible for the parish’s marketing, fundraising, and online communication. This includes designing and editing the weekly e-communication, coordination of parish fundraisers, organization of Community Life events and our Welcoming Ministry. Amy manages the parish website, assists in media publications, and social media of the parish such as our Facebook.
Amy holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Miami University, Oxford, OH. She has been a parishioner here since her family was relocated from Cleveland, Ohio in 2006. Amy resides in Barrington with her three children, of whom all graduated from Saint Anne Parish School.
Youth and Young Adult Ministry
Principal, Saint Anne Parish School
- Mrs. Dawn Kapka – Principal of Saint Anne Parish SchoolMrs. Kapka received her undergraduate degrees in Elementary Education and Special Education from Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin. She worked as a special education teacher and general elementary education teacher. She received her Master of Arts degree in Teaching and Leadership from Saint Xavier University in 2001, while continuing her career as a teacher. Dawn then went on to serve as Associate Principal and later, as Principal in the Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic School system while earning another Master of Arts degree in School Leadership from Concordia University and her Type 75 Principal Licensure in 2009. Mrs. Kapka’s principalship at Saint Anne Parish School began in 2011. She leads a student body of approximately 330 students and 40 faculty/staff members. She embraces the opportunity and considers it a privilege to utilize her gifts as the instructional and faith leader of this identifiably Catholic learning community. She works in partnership with parents and teachers to develop children who are faith-filled, God-centered young people who grow in their servant leadership abilities while reaching their greatest, individual potential.Mrs. Kapka and her husband are the proud parents of three adult-aged children. She enjoys reading, baking, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.
Director, Lifelong Faith Formation
Fr. Bernie’s Administrative Assistant