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St. Scholastica Parish

7800 Janes Avenue

Woodridge, IL 60517

Text Box: Pastoral Staff

Reverend Norbert Raszeja, CR, Pastor

The Friday  before Palm Sunday 2012 was March 30, 2012. For me this day is  memorable since it is the first day I spent at the rectory of St. Scholastica Parish in Woodridge, IL.  The succeeding days brought many new names and faces into my life and about 700 people bewildered as to how to pronounce my last name [Raszeja = RHA’-shay- ya]. However, all of these people were friendly and welcoming. This might be a good place to tell you something about the new face that entered your lives.

I am a native Chicagoan who was born in “Bucktown” which is a unique geographical area on the northwest side of Chicago.  My home parish is St. Hedwig Parish where I also attended grammar school which was conducted by the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth.  Afterwards I attended Gordon Technical High School. One constant remained: both my home parish and secondary school: Resurrectionists priests and brothers. These men were the religious leaders who were present as the parish priests, as well as the priests and brothers teachers at Gordon Technical HS.  The influence of the Resurrectionists played an important part in my life choice.  I entered the Resurrectionist novitiate which is a place and time of spiritual preparation in which one discerns the possibility of a vocation to religious life. 

After pronouncing first vows in September 1964, I moved to the major seminary of the Resurrectionists in St. Louis, MO, where I studied both philosophy and theology with the Jesuits at St. Louis University. There I completed a B.A. in classical languages and M.A. in systematic theology.

I was ordained a priest at St. Hyacinth Basilica in Chicago on April 8, 1972.  Almost immediately I was appointed to serve at the parish of Our Lady of Loretto in Spanish Lake, MO for four years before being appointed pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Brantford Ontario.  In January 1979 I served as pastor at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Panama City, FL until June 1986. Afterwards I was named pastor in Chicago, but this lasted only slight more than a year when my then provincial superior died and I was asked to return to Our Lady of Loretto Parish as pastor for the next five years.  The next eighteen years were spent in Rome, Italy. For twelve of those years I served as a councilor to the superior general and in 2005 was elected as superior general for a six year term. 

After returning to the United States I find myself in Woodridge, IL amid a warm and welcoming parish called St. Scholastica.  My immediate goal is to be a good pastor and to continue building  upon the many good ministries and programs that have begun and endure to this day.


I am confidant of this,  that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. [Philippians 1:6]

Deacon Jerry Christensen, Permanent Deacon

I was ordained a deacon for the Diocese of Joliet in 1989 and assigned to St. Scholastica in 2003.  I was born in California but was raised in Illinois.  I graduated from Note Dame High School in Niles and DePaul University.  I was married to my wife Ellin for 27 years before she passed away in 2011 and have one daughter, Katy, who resides in Valparaiso, IN with her husband Cliff and daughters Ellisen and Ryan.  I am a former Youth Minister, school teacher, and coach.  I coached my first tema in 1954 and have coached at all levels, fifth grade through college, coaching football, basketball, softball, volleyball, and track.  I have been active as a CCD (RE) teacher since 1959.  I now teach three eight grade RE (CCD) classes, the Confirmation class, and three Bible Studies in the school at St. Scholastica.  I assist at Mass, preach and conduct Communion Services in the absence of a priest.  I preside at Baptisms, weddings, funerals, wake services and interments.  I also assist with Sacrament preparation and assist with the high school and middle school youth ministry.  I serve on the Board of Directors for Hope’s Front Door located in Downers Grove.

Mary Ellen Upchurch, Director of Music

My name is Mary Ellen Upchurch and I am honored to begin serving you in the role of Director of Music/Liturgy.  I want to first thank our pastor Fr. Norbert and our parish Business Manager Lianda Valentine, as well as the volunteers who were on the search committee for the opportunity to serve in this role.  I am grateful and very impressed with the dedication and commitment of the members of this community, whom I’ve been blessed to meet thus far. 

I’d like to tell you a bit about my goals in the coming year and ask for your help and ideas on how I may best serve the spiritual needs of the St. Scholastica community in this respect.   

In short, I have two main goals as I begin:  The first is to effectively maintain the vibrancy of the ministries and ensembles that have been established through the tireless efforts of the previous director and the dedicated volunteers who generously share their time and talent.  I would like to help ensure a smooth transition for everyone.

The other main goal I have as a new person at St. Scholastica, is to establish a great working relationship with the members of this community.  I invite you to share your ideas with me.  Please email me a note about your most loved church hymns – the songs that really help your heart to pray.  I’d like to include these when and where appropriate, according to season, in our parish liturgies.  I look forward to hearing from you (and I’d like to hear from everyone)!

In closing, I ask that you keep me in your prayers that I might be the humble instrument of the Holy Spirit in my service to you.  Also, be assured of my prayers for you each day, that you will enjoy a closer walk with Our Lord, Jesus Christ, through His great gift of the liturgy and liturgical music.  Thank you for your warm welcome, and may God bless you always! 

Lianda Valentine, Business Manager

Some of you already know I am Lianda Valentine the Business Manager. I stated working at St. Scholastica in 1974 through 1985. During that time I was the RE secretary. I maintained the records for over 900 hundred children in the program. I did the accounting for the RE Program and was the housekeeper for the rectory.

 In 1985 I moved to Ascension of Our Lord Parish in Oakbrook Terrace where I was the Parish Secretary.  I had the opportunity to work with the Business Manager and was able to increase my knowledge of the business part of the church. My term at Ascension was for eleven years.

At that time I had a 5 year child at home and decided I wanted to be home more so I went to St. Pius as the School Secretary.  It only took 2 years to figure out that was not my ministry. Believe me it takes very special people to do that job.

For the next 3 years I did financial consulting at difference parishes.  Sue Lohenry decided to retire from here and gave me a call and asked if I might be interested in coming back here as the Business Manager.   My son was in high school and my husband started to have heath problem so it was time to stay in one spot.  I have always loved the people here and the Parish so I knew God was sending me a message. I had finally found my ministry, my place to call home.

Now what do I do. I am the bookkeeper, I pay all the financial bills for both the School and Faith Formation programs as well as the Parish.  I take care of all the HR records and do all the payroll. I am in charge of the building and grounds. It is my job to oversee stewardship programs and make sure we have enough money to continue our mission.  I make sure everyone stays within their budgets. Part of the responsible of the finance person is to make sure we follow state and local laws regarding raffle and liquor licenses’. I along with the finance commission work together to advise Father on the financial decisions for the parish. I attend the meetings at the diocese to continue my knowledge of what is expected of the parishes.

 My biggest job is other duties assigned by the Pastor.

Rita Ramsey, Parish Secretary & Visitation of the Sick Coordinator

My name is Rita Ramsey and as most of you know I am the parish secretary. I am often the first point of contact for those who call or come to our parish. I always try to be kind and welcoming. People call sometimes just because they are lonely or they need me to direct them to the correct person that can help them. I consider what I do here at St. Scholastica a ministry.

    I keep the parish database up to date, post weekly contributions, coordinate baptisms and funerals. I schedule mass intentions and enter information into the sacramental record books. I am also support staff for other parish employees.

   With the help of a few dedicated parishioners we work to keep the prayer partner and minister of care programs active.

  In my free time I like spending time with my six grandchildren, reading and crocheting.  I am a member of Blessed Sacrament Church in North Aurora where I am active in the Prayer shawl Ministry.

Sue Gosewehr, Administrative Assistant, Bulletin Editor, Web Master, & Wedding Coordinator

Bulletin editor, e-mail submissions at least 10 days before bulletin publish date.

Facilities Coordinator, submit request for facilities use at least 2 weeks in advance of your event. 

Wedding Coordinator, click for more information

Text Box: Administrative Staff

Jennifer Michalik-Olson, Director of Youth Ministry

Elizabeth Driscoll, Principal

Text Box: Formation Staff

Beth Cartner, Director of Parish Faith Formation

The Director of Parish Faith Formation collaborates with the pastor, other staff members, formation board members and school in the development and implementation of formal Religious Education, Sacrament preparation and adult faith formation opportunities at St. Scholastica Parish.  


For information about Religious Education grades 1-8, preparation for the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation for children/youth, Children’s Liturgy of the Word and Adult Faith Formation opportunities (including bible study), please contact Beth Cartner at 630-985-9255 x117 or bcartner@stscholasticaparish.org.

Shawn Denning, Director of RCIA, Marriage Prep, Bereavement, & Prison Ministry

Married to Terry Ross and parents one much loved beagle/shepherd.

At St. Scholastica since summer of 2011.  I walk with those wishing to convert to Catholicism and/or those adults and children who wished to be baptized for the first time.  (RCIA)  There are also instances of adult Catholics who have been baptized and not received Eucharist and Confirmation, or Reconciliation. Myself and a small team of devoted parishioners journey with these people.  Some Catholic adults are only seeking the sacrament of Confirmation.  We meet separate from RCIA; they are confirmed at Joliet’s cathedral, St. Raymond Nonnatus each spring.

I coordinate the Marriage Prep sessions.  A small band of dedicated parishioners help with this. A special group of other parishioners meet the engaged couples to facilitate their FOCCUS follow-up conversations.

I meet with the Pen Pals to Prisoners.  We write to those incarcerated within the Illinois State facilities.  A simple ministry - mutually rewarding.

I meet with the Journey to J.O.Y. group. The heartache of losing a beloved is best shared with people who also know this pain.  We Journey together to know JESUS and His love, OTHERS, and ourselves (YOU).

I serve as a pastoral representative through the annulment petition process.

These ministries allow me to meet and be with people in all places on their faith journey, to share my faith and grow in my faith as well, and each reveals to me God’s great love for us and our need to love Him and each other always.

My name is Sue Gosewehr and I am the Parish Administrative Assistant.  My ministries include managing the calendar, publishing the bulletin, updating the web page, organizing mailings, and supporting the office and pastoral staff in any way necessary.  I am also the parish Wedding Coordinator (LOVE IT!).

If you have ever visited my office, you know that I am an avid sports fan (especial Bears!), and collector of all types of toys!  My office reflects my creative side (although some call it cluttered).  It is my home away from home.

I am the mother of four adult children, and have been blessed with one grandchild.  I am extremely active in the Council of Catholic Women and as a member of the Administration Commission in my home Parish of St. Irene in Warrenville.  When I am not volunteering, I am busy baking, canning, sewing, and gardening.

My name is Jennifer Olson.  I have been a lifelong parishioner of St. Scholastica, receiving all of my Sacraments here.  I am married to Mark and we have three children, Braden, Mackenzie and Delaney who are in the Religious Education Program here.

I have been the Director of Youth Ministry at St. Scholastica since 1998.  It is my job to provide the vision and coordination for the parish’s efforts in comprehensive ministry to young people from 6th through 12th grades.  This includes weekly high school S.T.O.R.M. meetings on Sunday evenings, planning and facilitating 4-5 weekend retreats each year, including the two Confirmation Retreats, with a planning team, facilitating the Youth Leadership Team, which is responsible for planning, implementing, and evaluating the youth ministry program, planning and facilitating a week long summer Mission Trip and the GO MAD local middle school Mission Experience, coordinating our monthly Teen Masses and evening Masses with teen liturgical ministers, planning and coordinating trips to World Youth Day, the National Catholic Youth Conference and Diocesan or other Youth Conferences, and planning special event opportunities for community, prayer, catechesis, and service for high school and middle school students.  I recruit and train our wonderful adult volunteers.  I also coordinate a college Mission Trip and stay connected to our young adults to encourage them to stay involved in the Parish.  I work closely with the pastor, other staff, and other Youth Ministers in our Diocese.

This ministry has been a blessing in my life and I am blessed to be a part of a parish that supports it.  The teens and adult volunteers that participate in our programs are like a second family to each other and support each other in a Christian community.  I hope that all teenagers will join us for our meetings and retreats.  You are ALWAYS welcome!

Alison has been the Administrative Professional at St. Scholastica Parish School in Woodridge, IL since fall 2008. She a received a Catholic education beginning with St. Irene in Warrenville, IL before attending Benet Academy in Lisle, IL. She received her B.A. from Loras College in Dubuque, IA where she majored in Sociology and minored in Theatre.

Alison Gosewehr, School Administrative Assistant

Miss Driscoll has been working in the Diocese of Joliet for over twenty years. She began working for the diocese at Saint Philip the Apostle School in Addison. While at Saint Philip the Apostle, Miss Driscoll taught in many capacities. She taught small group reading and math as well as computers and learning center before moving into the classroom full time. Miss Driscoll taught fourth grade for two years. She then taught first grade for thirteen years. Following that, Miss Driscoll taught third grade for three years. While teaching third grade she was also the assistant principal for two years.

Immersing gospel values into education has always been a focus for Miss Driscoll. She has been a leader for social justice programs as well as serving on curriculum committees. Miss Driscoll has also been a facilitator for drama and STEM enrichment as well.

Miss Driscoll received her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Illinois State University and her master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Lewis University.

Fr. Mark Cote, Part Time Parochial Vicar

My name is Father Mark Cote and it is a great joy and blessing to be able to serve at St Scholastica Parish as your Parochial Vicar.  I will be working part-time at the parish alongside Fr Norb in attending to the spiritual care of the parish.  I will also be working part-time with the Diocese of Joliet as the Associate Director of the Diaconate.  With my Diocesan role I will be assisting the efforts of the Diocese to give support and guidance to our wonderful community of Permanent Deacons throughout our Diocese.


I graduated from Mundelein Seminary and was ordained as a diocesan priest for the Diocese of Joliet in 2004. I have served a number of parishes in the Diocese throughout the years.  I am a former Parochial Vicar of St Thomas the Apostle Parish in Naperville, St Isadore Parish in Bloomingdale, and St Michael Parish in Wheaton.  Most recently I was the Pastor of St Alexander Parish in Villa Park where I served for 6 years.  I was born in Michigan but have lived in a number of states during my childhood including Utah, Minnesota and Ohio.  My parents moved us to Illinois when I was 18.  In college I thought I was going to be geologist, but God had very different plans for my life.  After returning to the Church and rediscovering my faith in Jesus Christ after many years of being inactive and "away" God decided to lead me down this path towards serving him as a priest.  It has been and continues to be an exciting adventure!


Some of my hobbies and interests include fishing, WWE wrestling and anything to do with Professional Wrestling, and most importantly spending time with my exceptionally smart dog Lucy!  My family is very important to me and my Mom shows up often to my Masses so I'm sure you will all get a chance to meet her at some point as well.  I look forward to serving you as a priest of our wonderful parish and getting to know this vibrant community of faith!

Deacon Rick Feltes, Permanent Deacon

Hello, I am Rick Feltes.  My wife and I recently moved to Woodridge from Oak Lawn, Illinois.  Having grown up in Oak Lawn, I graduated from St. Gerald Grammar School (1968) and Brother Rice High School (1972).  I earned a B.S. in Business Administration from Elmhurst College (1981).  My wife, Annette, and I married in 1976.  We raised our two daughters, Laura and Kristen, in Oak Lawn.  Laura lives in Grayslake with her husband Aaron and our grandchildren Tommy and Anna.  Kristen lives in Woodridge with her husband Haydon and our grandsons Liam and Rhys.  I have been a deacon for 28 years, ordained in 1991 for the Archdiocese of Chicago.  I have served at St. Linus, St. Catherin of Alexandria, and St. Gerald Parishes, all in Oak Lawn.  (This chapter has gone full circle, since it began at St. Gerald!)

My employment has included a cumulative 30 years in business, focusing on construction accounting in the early years, and later sales.  After a period of some medical issues I left the  business arena, recognizing a call from God to become a hospital chaplain.  My call was fulfilled when, in 2014, I earned an M.A. in Pastoral Studies form Loyola University, and also became a Board Certified Chaplain the same year.  I am now employed by Franciscan Alliance Hospital in Munster, Indiana, and find it to be a true direction God has been leading me for many years.

As a deacon, I continue to follow my call to minister to the people of God—the opportunity to serve in that role in your parish community, St. Scholastica, is where God has lead me.  I am very grateful for this gift, and I look forward to meeting each and every one of you.  With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Fr. Norb, and all of you, let us continue our journey in prayer and faith at St. Scholastica.