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Dr. Elena Chermak, Director of Religious Education


Hello! My name is Elena Chermak, and I have been at Saint John Fisher for many years, happily serving both the school and parish. I am excited to work with all the children, faculty, and staff as the Director of Religious Education for the school and parish. I am a resource person for religious education and plan the daily prayers, school masses, prayer services, and celebration of the sacraments. I am originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and, as the 2nd of 8 children, I come from a big family for whom faith is very important. I came to Chicago to earn a Master of Arts in Divinity at the University of Chicago, followed by a Doctor of Ministry degree at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake – (Mundelein Seminary). Working with your children in our wonderful faith-filled-family of Saint John Fisher brings great joy daily. I look forward to an exciting year with the students, principal, staff, priests, teachers and parents of our great community.

Get Ready for First Communion!

Posted on Aug 12, 2020


Saint Patrick's Day

Posted on Jun 10, 2020

Our third graders were excited to participate in the Saint Patrick's Day Lenten Mass on the day of the southside Irish parade. The third graders prepared a welcoming comment and petitions. They were to present the story of Saint Patrick and end with a breastplate of Saint Patrick song. Dancers were ready!

The children learned Saint Patrick's principal: the secret of his success was putting God first in his life and remembering that God is always with him, all around him. 

Thanks to our third graders and their families for their willingness to participate. Third graders - you did a spectacular job getting ready! I hope we can present your stellar work to the students or parish one day.



Stations of the Cross

Posted on Jun 10, 2020

Walking into church mid-November, I noticed an art student photographing our Stations of the Cross which he found especially evocative. His interest reminded me of beautiful art in churches - art which serves as a vehicle for prayer, or as in my experience, early teachers of the characters and tenets of our faith.

Saint John Fisher Church gives us visual representations of important scripture in the windows on our southern wall. Yet, the most beautiful artwork of all is all of us gathered together. We look forward to that day.




Morning prayer and Lent

Posted on Jun 10, 2020

We begin each morning with a prayer. In February we observed Black History Month and included African Americans heroes familiar to our students: Ida B. Wells, Jesse White, Toni Morrison, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, Jesse Owens, among others. 

In February we also continued our Lenten Kindness Campaign and asked students to list what they had given up or taken on. We created a Lenten Countdown on our school bridge and displayed the students' Lenten deeds. We hoped their words would inspire others. 



Ash Wednesday

Posted on Jun 10, 2020

We began the sacred season of Lent and concentrated on prayer, fasting and doing good deeds for others. We ceremoniously "buried the Alleluia" - not to say that holy word until Easter. Students considered what they would "give up" or "take on" to set this season apart - to discover the effects of their kindness on others, to see how strong they really are. They easily made the connection between God's love for us and their sacrifices for others. 

Thank you to our eighth graders for leading our prayer.



First Reconciliation

Posted on Jun 10, 2020

It was a cold night in February made warm by the love of our 2nd graders and their families in church for their First Reconciliation. May our 2nd graders and their families always experience the peace which comes with every reconciliation.

Congratulations to our 2nd graders and their families!


Confirmation remembrance

Posted on Jun 09, 2020

We hope this Confirmation program booklet reminds the students of the songs and prayers of their mass, the friends who were Confirmed with them and who share their faith journey, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit which are present to them in their lives each day. They are surrounded by our love and God's love always.

Congratulations to the eighth graders, their sponsors and families.confirmationbooklet2020blogchoiceabc_Page_1confirmationbooklet2020blogchoiceabc_Page_2


Posted on Jun 09, 2020

Confirmation is a highlight not only of our 8th grade students' year, but also for the parish. We look with pride on our 8th graders and imagine how they will use the gifts of the Holy Spirit to transform the world. We continue to pray for our newly Confirmed Eighth graders and and congratulate them for the inspiring faith-filled leaders they have become.


Catholic Schools Week Mass

Posted on Jun 09, 2020

Catholic Schools Week begins with a family mass, featuring our students followed by an Open House. We welcome all families and celebrate the support of our Saint John Fisher Parish Community for our school. We are excited to pray with "Falcons" of all ages from Pre-school to eighth grade.

Happy Catholic School Week Mass!CatholicSchoolsWeekmass2020aCatholicSchoolsweekprep_Page_1CatholicSchoolsweekprep_Page_2CatholicSchoolsweekprep_Page_3CatholicSchoolsweekprep_Page_4

Christmas Prayer Service Pep Assembly

Posted on Jun 09, 2020


A highlight of the 8th grade year is planning and presenting the Christmas Prayer Service/Pep Assembly. This event began years ago when an eighth grader asked, "Ms. Chermak - we have pep assemblies for our sports teams; we are so excited for the coming of Christmas - could we have a pep assembly for Jesus."

And so we have, ever since, as the last gathering before dismissal for Christmas break.

The prayer service/pep assembly includes traditional carols, prayers, the Christmas Eve reading from Isaiah, and the Christmas gospel. The 8th graders plan additional readings and songs based on school themes, and end with a favorite song: Children Go Where I Send Thee. 

This year since our theme was Angels Among Us, the eighth graders wrote and presented skits based on the angel in "It's a Wonderful Life" and the angels in Home Alone 1 and 2. They sang "Sleigh Ride" followed by Father Ken playing that song on his electric guitar.

We concluded and reported our Advent Kindness Activity.

Thank you to the 8th graders for your creativity, willingness to participate so enthusiastically, and your expert presenting skills. Thank you 2nd graders for the Christmas gospel.

Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year, 2020!




Christmas Gospel

Posted on Jun 09, 2020

Each year we invite the 2nd graders to present our Christmas gospel for the parish Christmas Eve mass. The entire student body has a chance to see this gospel because the 2nd graders also present it at Christmas pep assembly/prayer service on the last day before Christmas break.

Thank you second graders! You worked well as a team, and made our Christmas celebrations more joyful!Christmasgospel2019apdfChristmasgospelprep2019abc_Page_1




Saint Lucy Day

Posted on Jun 09, 2020

Everyday at Saint John Fisher School starts with a prayer over the P.A. usually led by students. During these prayers we remember the significance of the day, acknowledge the church season, and we "join Catholics around the world" as we say familiar prayers. Later, we say the Pledge of Allegiance, and announce anyone's birthday.

If the day is also an official saint's day, we pray for people with that name, or any derivation of that name. On December 13th, we invited all the Lucys (and Lucias) to lead our prayer.


Advent Kindness Activity

Posted on Jun 09, 2020

All Saint John Fisher students strive to "Be the Kind Kid" 

At least that is our hope! For Advent this year, teachers asked their students to think of kind deeds they would like to do: in school, at home in their community. Teachers invited students to write these acts of kindness on a piece of "straw" (really yellow or beige strips of construction paper) and to lay those in a manger in front of a nativity scene.

We were fortunate to have our interim art teacher,Ms. Lindsey Surin, paint a beautiful nativity scene for our school.

Thank you, Ms. Surin, and all our students for making advent more hope-filled, joy-filled and loving.Adventkindnessactivitypdf1


Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary

Posted on Jun 09, 2020

The fourth graders host our All School Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Although December 8th was a Sunday this year, this feast was moved to Monday, December 9th - so we were excited to celebrate with all the school.

Mary of the Immaculate Conception is the patron saint of the Americas. The fourth graders remember that we Mary said, "yes" to God. We present the reading of our universal Church on this day: The Garden of Eden, a reading from Saint Paul, the Gospel of the Annunciation. The children offer the prayers of the faithful, and pray the "Hail, Mary" in a variety of languages. 

Thank you fourth graders for leading our prayer so beautifully.


Advent Faculty Retreat

Posted on Jun 09, 2020

As Catholic School teachers, our faculty attends a year Religion-In-Service to  reflect on the presence of God in their lives, to update themselves theologically, and to support and encourage one another.

Advent is a perfect time to take a step back, in the flurry of Christmas preparations, and when the children of all ages are so excited for the holy days ahead.

Thanks to all of our faculty for entering the spirit of this day: for lively conversations, and for the camaraderie we enjoy in our shared vocation of teaching.


Thanksgiving Day

Posted on Jun 09, 2020

Thanksgiving is always a favorite celebration for our students. Our fifth graders plan and host an all school prayer service and invite all students to give thanks for the many blessings in their lives. We hear the gospel of Jesus power to heal and the one person who came back to give thanks. The students lead a litany based on the letters of THANKSGIVING, and the song: Lord of All to You We Raise, This Our Hymn of Grateful Praise.

The fifth graders are also invited to present the story of the First Thanksgiving as part of the homily at our parish Thanksgiving mass on Thanksgiving Day. 

Thanks to all!

We hope these pictures show the joy of our great fifth graders!Thanksgiving2019_Page_1




Veterans Day

Posted on Jun 09, 2020

Although I wrote the prayers, choose the readings, wrote the texts for this prayer service,

Mrs. Alfultis, and Mrs. Deering enthusiastically prepared the students, created artwork and invited and hosted veterans, with help from Mr. Gibson.

Thanks to all teachers and students for creating a memorable and important observance to honor our local heroes and to pay tribute to family members and neighbors who dedicate their lives to serve others in the armed forces. 

We are grateful for your service.




Confirmation Enrollment Mass

Posted on Jun 08, 2020

On November 3rd - the time change Sunday, we invited all Confirmation candidates and their families to come together for 10 a.m. mass. We presented the Candidates to the parish and asked for their prayers and support. The students were readers at the mass. They prepared a banner to hang in the church entryway near the baptismal font to remember Confirmation is a sacrament of initiation. Students prepared cards with their name on it for the parishioners to take home and keep that student in their prayers. Thanks to all for your participation on this day. Our parish is stronger for your presence and promise. On to Sunday February 9th - Confirmation day 2020.




All Saints Day

Posted on Jun 08, 2020

Our 6th graders planned and hosted the All Saints Day all school mass on November 1st They reflected on our official saints, and those in families who are now in heaven. Students prayed that they continue to follow their family members' example of kindness, friendliness and excitement for each new day. Students also learned that we may become saints through the smallest consistently kind actions each day. Students thought about "saints" in their everyday lives - angels among us.

We celebrate All Saints and pray for their intercession, that we may follow their courageous and loving example. 




Confirmation Retreat

Posted on Jun 08, 2020

We were excited to offer a Confirmation retreat led by Father Tom McCarthy, O.S.A. Our 7th and 8th grade students traveled to Saint Rita High School for this retreat. Thanks to Father McCarthy and to all our great students in our school and religious education program for their prayerful participation. May they long remember the teachings of this day.


7th grade mass photos

Posted on Jun 08, 2020


First Communion Enrollment Mass

Posted on Jun 05, 2020

We were excited to welcome First Communion children and their families in our school and religious education program to officially begin their preparation for the sacrament. The children prayed, studied and created artwork. They drew their families, painted the background of their communion banner and printed their names on prayer cards to be distributed to parishioners. 

Families and parishioners joyfully joined the children. Thanks to all who participated. God bless our First Communion Children and their Families!





Here come the 7th graders

Posted on Jun 05, 2020

The seventh graders hosted an All School Mass on Friday, October 18th on the theme of kindness and respect for one another. Our readings included Noah and the Ark - vividly depicted in of one of our church's stained glass windows. The Gospel was the Jesus in the Desert. We concluded with a post communion meditation of three scenarios of students making a positive choice. Thank you to the 7th graders for planning this mass and bringing our school themes to life.