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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.

First Day of School

Posted on Aug 23, 2017


Elena Chermak with Sister Jean and Father Ken

When we began this school year, I was not sure if the August 21, 2017 Totally Awesome graphics were for the Solar Eclipse, or for the beginning of the First Day of School at Saint John Fisher!

Our faculty prayer service included the words from a song in our missalette: O God beyond all Praising set to Gustav Holst’s melody from The Planets, under the theme:

Gracious God: Grant us the Gift of Wonder and Awe.

We also called to mind the Pope Francis’ encyclical on the Care of the Earth: Laudato Si (“Praised Be”), remembering that caring for creation is one of the seven tenants of Catholic Social Teaching.

We welcome totally awesome students to our totally awesome school – all created by our totally awesome community: parents, parish, teachers, principal, pastor, students!

A wonderful new school year of hope and promise to all!


Faculty Prayer Eclipse

O God Beyond All Praising

O God beyond all praising, We worship you today
And sing the love amazing that songs cannot repay;
For we can only wonder at every gift you send,
At blessings without number and mercies without end:
We lift our hearts before you and listen for your word,
We honor and we thank you, our great and loving Lord.

Text: Michael Perry, 1982; Melody: Gustav Holst from The Planets, 1918

Let us Pray: Loving God, we ask your blessings upon us as we begin this

new school year. We thank you for the gifts of this summer: including the time to think, to read, to learn, to play, to enjoy family and friends, and to experience the glories of all your natural beauty in creation. May these past summer days of recreation give us new energies to lead our students to lives of knowledge, love, and service.  We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Reading for the First Book of Kings:

At the mountain of God, Horeb, Elijah came to a cave where he took shelter.
Then the LORD said to him, "Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD;
the LORD will be passing by."
A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains
and crushing rocks before the LORD—  but the LORD was not in the wind.
After the wind there was an earthquake— but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
After the earthquake there was fire—  but the LORD was not in the fire.
After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound.
When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak (for in the tiny whispering sound, Elijah had experienced the LORD).

And Elijah went and stood at the entrance of the cave.

The Word of the Lord.                                   ~1 Kings 19: 9A, 11-13A

Intercessory Prayers

1. That we recognize God’s presence in the most powerful and the lowliest among us, we pray to the Lord.

2. That we may be sustained by the friendship, camaraderie, common purpose, and pursuit of excellence among our faculty and staff, we pray to the Lord.

3. That our faith may inspire and encourage one another as we pray with, and for, each other, we pray to the Lord.

4. For a fruitful dialogue among leaders to ensure respect and understanding among all people, we pray to the Lord.

5. That ours may be a peaceful world, free from war and the threat of violence, as leaders come together to solve problems with words and not weapons, we pray to the Lord.

6. That we may lead our students to care for the earth, and to marvel at all of God’s creation, we pray to the Lord.

7. In thanksgiving for the new life among us: through marriage, ordination and the birth of babies, all of which fill us with great love and blessing, we pray to the Lord.

8. For those who are sick among our school and parish families, we pray to the Lord.

9. For those who have died, who now share eternity in God’s loving embrace, we pray to the Lord.

10. For those prayers we hold deep within our hearts……..we pray to the Lord.

The Lord’s Prayer

Sign of Peace

Final Blessing:

Saint John Fisher Teacher Prayer

God of Promise and Possibility, give us the wisdom and strength to model your unconditional love for our students. Bless our students with strong bodies, bright minds, kind and compassionate hearts, and an infinite sense of wonder and inquiry.

May we guide our students to use their unique talents to reach out to those who might need a kind heart or a helping hand.

May all our students learn from us deepen their sense of gratitude for their unique place in creation, and prepare them to create a more just, hopeful, joyful, and peaceful world.

Thank you for the joy that our students bring to our lives.

Bless us and all we do:  this first day - and every day.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.


~jam, adapted Totally_Awesome


Happy First Day of School!