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Dr. Elena Chermak, Director of Religious Education

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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.

Opening All School Mass

Posted on Sep 21, 2017

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It was a great 1st mass starting with the students’ favorite song: “All You Works of God” (#498 in the Gather Hymnal, 2nd edition) – and ending with “Go, Make a Difference” # 664. The communion meditation included the 8th graders circling the congregation.  Each eighth grader listed one thing they found “awesome”. Examples included: “Having a supportive family to go home to” , “Speaking up for a classmate”, “Helping an injured classmate get from class to class”, “Receiving the sacraments together”, “Seeing the Grand Canyon”. The entire student body - kindergarten through eighth grade- responded after every five statements with a resounding “Now THAT’S awesome”.  Through this year’s school theme, we hope the students grow in their recognition and appreciation for all the awesome gifts from God in their lives. We hope the students use these gifts to help create a just and peaceful world.

We pray that these “Works of God” – our students – indeed go and make a difference: in their classes, their family, the community and world.

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Opening school mass 2017 – 9/8/2017 at 1:15 p.m.

Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Theme: Using God’s Gifts we help make awesome things happen.

Hosted by eighth graders

1. Pre-mass explanation by eighth graders

2. Welcome. Students will announce song – All You Works of God:  #498

3. First Reading of the Day – read by eighth graders:

4. Psalm: Holy is Your Name, #83: 1,2,5

5. Second reading –Reading of the Day – or Ephesians reading

read by eighth graders –

6. Gospel – Reading of the Day proclaimed by Father Ken

7. Presentation song: Immaculate Mary, #783, verses 1,4,7

8. Communion song: Taste and See, #827

9. After communion – explanation of theme by eighth graders:

10. Final blessing and closing song: Go Make A Difference, #664.

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Welcome:

Good afternoon! Welcome to our opening all school liturgy hosted by the 8th grade graduating class of 2018.

We are very excited to be in 8th grade and to be your school leaders this 2017 – 2018 year. You will come to know us as the class who is energetic, talented and helpful - positive, fun-loving and awesome.

Our theme for the school year is:

Using God’s Gifts we help make the world awesome.

 With this theme, we hope you appreciate, ever more, all God’s awesome gifts all around you: in nature, in your own abilities, in the kindness and skills of people who help you. This year we hope we think about how we can all use our gifts to help make the world awesome.

Today we also celebrate the feast day of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Mary’s birthday!  Mary’s gift of faith gave her the courage and confidence to be the Mother of Jesus: who teaches us how to live and love and who is present to us in a special way as we receive communion.

Today we also celebrate all birthdays and the gift of life we all have, and God’s awesome gifts we see each day.

 May we use all our gifts from God to help make the world awesome.

Our Gathering Song is:

All You Works of God: #498, # 4-9-8.

Please stand.

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First Reading:

A reading from the prophet Micah: (Mike-a)

The LORD says:
You, Bethlehem-Ephrathah, (Ef  Ra Tha)
too small to be among the clans of Judah,
From you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel;
Whose origin is from of old,
from ancient times.
(Therefore the Lord will give them up, until the time
when she who is to give birth has borne,
And the rest of his brethren shall return
to the children of Israel.)
 

He shall stand firm and shepherd his flock
by the strength of the LORD,
in the majestic name of the LORD, his God;
And they shall remain, for now his greatness
shall reach to the ends of the earth;
he shall be peace.

The Word of the Lord.

Micah 5:1-4a

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Second Reading:

A reading from Saint Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (EE Fee Zhens)

Because of God’s great love for us,

we have a new life with Christ.

Even while we were sinners,

God raised us up with Jesus and gave us a place in heaven.

It is God’s gift that saves us.

We did not work for our salvation

or earn it by doing anything special.

It is God’s gift to us.

Through Christ Jesus,

God has made us new

So that we may live our lives doing good.

The Word of the Lord.

Ephesians 2:4-10

Gospel – Matthew 1:18-23 - Reading of the Feast Day proclaimed by Father

Ken

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Presentation of 8th graders by Father Ken to the student body

Prayer of the Faithful

1. For Pope Francis, for leaders in our school, church and country who use their gifts from God to help make awesome things happen, we pray:

2. For all students, that we may recognize and use our gifts to help make the world awesome by learning, doing our homework, and by being kind, we pray:

3. For all parents, teachers, priests, and everyone who takes care of us, that they may use their gifts to help us develop our gifts, we pray:

4. For all new students and teachers, that they will feel welcome here, and make lots of new friends, we pray:

5. For people in the world who lack what they truly need and for people who are worried about their future, and for all who help them, we pray:

6. For all graduates of Saint John Fisher, may they use their gifts and all they learned here to make awesome things happen in their new schools and jobs, we pray:

7. For all babies recently born, and for all mothers who are expecting babies, may the example and love of Mary the Mother of God help them each day, we pray:

8. For all who are sick, and for all who use their gifts to help and to heal, we pray:

9. For all who have died, that they now know God’s awesome love forever, we pray:

10. Please add your own intentions in silence (count to 10 to yourself) we pray:

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Practice for Explanation of School Year Theme

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Communion Meditation and Explanation of this Year’s Theme:

Using God’s gifts we help make awesome things happen.

The class of 2018 will list awesome things we see happen in our lives.

As they do, we invite you throughout this school year to notice the awesome events and people in your lives. We hope these examples inspire you to use your gifts to help make awesome things happen.

To help you remember to make the world awesome by using God’s gifts, we will spell out the word ‘awesome’ on the bridge. On each letter, we will list characteristics we can use to help make the world awesome – by using words that start with each letter in “Awesome”.

This afternoon, we present a list of some of the actions we think are awesome.

Please respond, “Now THAT’s Awesome after every 5 students.

After all students have listed their example:

Our class has presented many examples of awesome gifts.   

Remember all you have heard this day.

Remember to use your awesome gifts from God to help create an awesome world.

Final blessing and closing song: Go Make A Difference, #664.

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Singing Practice - two of three homerooms pictured:

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Using God's Gifts We Help Create an Awesome World

Posted on Sep 07, 2017

Using God’s gifts, we help create an awesome world.

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Our eighth graders are preparing the Opening All School Mass on Friday, September 8th – The Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. All are welcome to join our school students and faculty for this mass at 1:15 p.m. in Church.

Our theme for this school year is Using God’s Gifts, We Help Create an Awesome World. To begin our preparations, the eighth graders responded to this question: “What would you send on a space probe into the universe to show the grandeur of God’s awesome gifts on earth?” Their responses followed the example of paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould who said he would send a recording of Bach’s Mass in B Minor to show humanity at its best. I further asked the students what they would send showing God’s gifts in our school. The third question was what would they want their great-grandchildren to know about how they used God’s gifts in their lives. The eighth graders’ answers ranged from, “I’d send a recording of our school singing in church” to “I’d send a video of the sun rising over the lake.” A response to the third questions was, “A picture of me Irish dancing and achieving my goals through hard work, teaching them that they can achieve their goals through hard work." And a heart-warming response to question one was this: “I would send them to Disney World to see God’s greatness. I would then send them here (to Saint John Fisher School) because Disney is the second best place in this world.”

Now that’s a happy responsibility for all of us - faculty and administrators – to continue: to create that loving, faith-filled environment of our school.

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Our eighth graders’ list of God’s awesome gifts will form part of our communion meditation at the opening school mass. Our hope is that hearing these gifts, the students will grow in awareness and appreciation of God’s awesome gifts, use those gifts responsibly and joyfully, and grow in gratitude for God’s gifts all around them: in family, in nature, in friends.

Our daily prayer this week included the Feast of Saint Mother Teresa of Kolkata (1910- 1997) on Monday, September 5th. Saint Mother Teresa’s teaching on kindness is a favorite. We prayed this prayer on Monday over the P.A.:

Loving God, help us live the message in this prayer:

May we

Be Kind……..

Let no one ever come to you

Without coming away happier.

Be the living expression of God’s kindness:

Kindness in your face,

Kindness in your eyes,

Kindness in your laugh,

Kindness in your smile,

Kindness in your warm greeting.

To the little children, to the poor,

To all who suffer and are lonely

Always give them respect

Give them not only your care,

But also your heart. Amen.

Saint Mother Teresa of Kolkata, pray for us.

You are invited to the student’ Opening of School mass on Friday, September 8th at 1:15 p.m.

 

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We also hope to see you at the parish picnic: Sunday, September 10th Noon mass at Beverly Park.

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And even though it is past Labor Day – it’s still summer on the calendar.

Happy Chicago land summer!

Gifts of Wonder and Awe - Daily P.A. Prayers

Posted on Sep 01, 2017

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This year’s theme focuses on wonder and awe for all God’s creation, and our part to use our gifts wisely, diligently, and thoughtfully to help make the world more peaceful, more joyful, more loving.

            We begin each day with a student-led prayer for all students and teachers over the public address system (accessed through the school office phone). These prayers are led by eighth grade students, who mention the church’s saint of the day, or a thought from the reading of the day. We include an intention, and thank God for a specific “awesome” gift.

            We rotate prayers we would like the students to know: the Our Father; Hail,Mary; Prayer of Saint Francis; Glory Be. We end with our Pastor’s greeting: “God is good: All the time. All the time: God is good.”

            Here are the first week prayers. We thank God for the awesome gift of students, parents, families, teachers, Principal, priests, friends. 

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Saint John Fisher Daily Prayers

Wednesday, August 23rd

Good morning!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Today is August 23rd, the feast of Saint Rose of Lima, Peru.

Today we pray for all people who live in Central and South America, and for all people named Rose.

We thank God for the awesome gift of flowers and trees.

Let us pray:

Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with Thee.

Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of Thy Womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and all the hour of our death. Amen.

Pledge

God is Good – All the Time.

All the Time – God is Good.

Have a wonderful Wednesday.

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Thursday, August 24th

Good morning!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Today is August 24th

the feast of Saint Bartholomew – one of the disciples of Jesus. Saint Bartholomew travelled throughout India to teach people about God.

Today we pray for all people who live in India, and for all who teach us about God.

We thank God for the awesome gift of our friends.

Let us pray:

Our Father who art in Heaven.

Hallowed by Thy Name.

Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Pledge

God is Good – All the Time.

All the Time – God is Good.

Have a Terrific Thursday.

Friday, August 25th

Good morning!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Today is August 25rd, the feast of Saint Louis the King.

Today we pray for all people who live in Saint Louis, and for all leaders.

We thank God for the awesome gift of our moms and dads

and everyone who takes care of us.

Let us pray:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

Pledge

God is Good – All the Time.

All the Time – God is Good.

Have a fabulous Friday.

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Monday, August 28th

Good morning!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Today is August 28th , the feast of Saint Augustine a famous Bishop in North Africa.

Today we pray for all teachers and students, and for who call Saint Augustine a hero- especially the students, teachers and priests at Saint Rita High School.

We thank God for the awesome gift of our school, and for the chance to learn new things each day.

Let us pray:

Our Father who art in Heaven.

Hallowed by Thy Name.

Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Amen.

Pledge

God is Good – All the Time.

All the Time – God is Good.

Have a marvelous Monday.

Tuesday, August 29th

HB Sister Jean

Good morning!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Today is August 29th , the feast of Saint John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus.

Today we pray for all our cousins, and for all who help us to know God’s way.

We thank God for the awesome gift of our Principal, Sister Jean.

Let us pray:

Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with Thee.

Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of Thy Womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and all the hour of our death., Amen.

Pledge

God is Good – All the Time.

All the Time – God is Good.

Have a terrific Tuesday.

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Wednesday, August 30th

Good morning!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Today is August 30th. The gospel reading is about people who spread God’s Good News, and our ability to hear this Good News, about sowers and seeds.

Today we pray for all farmers who plant and harvest.

We thank God for the awesome gift of our food, and the meals we enjoy with our family and friends.

Let us pray:

Our Father who art in Heaven.

Hallowed by Thy Name.

Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Amen.

Pledge

God is Good – All the Time.

All the Time – God is Good.

Have a wonderful Wednesday.

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Thursday, August 31st

Good morning!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Today is August 31st

Today the gospel tells us God invites everyone to the feast.

Today we pray for all to feel included, and for all of us to reach out in love to those around us.

We thank God for the awesome gift of celebrations.

Let us pray:

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,

As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Pledge

God is Good – All the Time.

All the Time – God is Good.

Have a Tremendous Thursday.

Friday, September 1st

Good morning!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Today is September 1st.

Today we pray for all workers who help us in our city and country each day.

We thank God for the awesome gift of working to achieve a goal.

Let us pray:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

Pledge

God is Good – All the Time.

All the Time – God is Good.

Have a fabulous Friday.

 

 
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