About Our Parish

1968

-Reverend Donald Pock appointed the first Pastor of Divine Savior Parish
-First mass celebrated by Father Pock in Downers Grove South High School Cafeteria.
-The first daily mass celebrated in the rectory.
-First Parish “open house” held at the rectory to honor and host priests and seminarians.
-First in the Parish to be Baptized were Dennis Michael Carter, Jr., Steven Andrew Marciniak, Eileen Marie McDowell.
-The first boy’s choir was organized by Kathy Solon.
-Building and Planning Committee for the church held its first meeting.
-First Annual Christmas Dinner Dance held at Willowbrook Ballroom.

1969

-First funeral Mass said by Father Pock for Joseph Jarosky.
-First Spring Dance held at Josef’s Restaurant in Hillside.
-First committee for Religious Education formed.
-First marriage was that of Carlo Aiello and Helen Namen, performed by Father Pock at St. Joseph’s Church.
-First Ice Cream Social was held on the rectory grounds.
-The Steering Committee to guide the formation of the First Parish Council was formed.
-First Religious Education Board was formed.
-First Constitution was ratified.


1970

-First Parish Council Meeting and election of officers was held.
-First chapel was a remodeled garage on the rectory grounds. The first Mass in this chapel was held on April 26.
-Father Gerald Persha said his First Mass at 12:00 noon on May 31, 1970 at Downers Grove South High School.
-First Annual Divine Savior Parish Picnic was held on the grounds of the Marian Fathers Seminary.
-Mr. & Mrs. Frank Hruska were the first couple in the Parish to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.

1971

-First Annual Mother-Daughter Communion Brunch was held.
-First Pancake Breakfast was served by the men of the Parish.

1972

-First parishioner to be ordained was Father Phillip Dedera.

1973

-Duke Guenther was the first parishioner to be baptized and confirmed on the same day.

1974

-Ralph Taylor was the first candidate to study for the permanent diaconate.

1975

-Father Pock left because of ill health. – November  26
-Fr. Kein Sheeran, O.S.B. named administrator

1976

-Father Victor Rudden named pastor – June 1, 1976
-First Mass offered in the new church was on Holy Thursday.
-First burial in the new church was that of Dr. Herbert Chwatal.

1977

-Men’s Club held its first meeting.

1978

-First Men’s Choir was organized
-Men’s Club first annual gold outing, organized by Joseph Jurich.
-First Newcomers Meeting was organized by Steve O’Donnell.
-Outdoor Church Cross was raised. This was a gift of the Men’s Club.

1979

-Fund-raising for the Parish Center was organized by Sam Gutirrez, assisted by the Men’s Club.
-Father Charles Wheeler was the first priest to be ordained at Divine Savior. It was also the first ordination in the Joliet Diocese by Bishop Joseph Imesch.

1980

-World Day of Prayer at Divine Savior was held for the first time.

1981

-The first Ecumenical Service was held at Divine Savior on this day at the 9:00 a.m. Mass with Gloria Dei-Community of Christ the Servant, St. Mary’s and St. Joseph’s participating.
-Bishop Joseph Imesch’s first Confirmation in the Joliet Diocese at Divine Savior Parish.
-First nun from the Parish, Barbara Badalewski, entered the postulancy.
-First party was held in the new Parish Center on New Year’s Eve.

1982

-Dedication of the Parish Center was officiated by Bishop Joseph Imesch.
-The first permanent Associate Pastor, Father Dan Sesztak, was assigned to Divine Savior.
-First Appreciation Night was held to thank all Parish volunteers.
-Father Victor Rudden’s 25th Jubilee.
-Father Rudden and the Christian Worship Commission initiated the Evangelization Program-Christ Renews His Parish.

1983

-Rev. Hollis Bishop, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Downers Grove, preached at 9:00 and 10:30 masses as part of the “Pulpit Exchange Program.”
-First “Christ Renews His Parish” weekend retreat held at Christian Life Center in LaGrange.
-R.C.I.A. – Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program instituted – designed to aid the process of initiation.

1985

-Quarry tile installed in Narthex. A much needed improvement over the concrete floor.
-Communion under both forms introduced to Divine Savior.
-Welcome to Fr. Leonard Guz, our new Associate Pastor.

1986

-Mr. Jerry Fialek joins Parish as director of Handbell Choir.
-First “Hunger Walk” initiated.

1987

-Bishop Kaffer offers Mass at Divine Savior.

1988

-Luncheon held March 26 in Parish Center, celebrating 10th Anniversary of the Council of Catholic Women.
-Our Marilyn Klouda elected as CCW Woman of the Year and honored at a luncheon given by Bishop Imesch.
-Fr. Robert E. Pietras welcomed as new Pastor of Divine Savior Parish.
-Picnic and Mass celebrating 20th Anniversary of Divine Savior.
-Bishop Imesch officially installs Father Pietras as new Pastor.
-Fr. Pietras holds first “Town Meeting” as our new Pastor.

1989

-Downers Grove Oratorio Society presented a concert in our Parish Center.
-250 Parish members attended our Town Hall Meeting and many great ideas were professed.
-Rev. Mike Powell, a member of Divine Savior, was ordained to priesthood at the Cathedral of St. Raymond.
-Jerry Christensen, of our Parish, was ordained to the Deaconate.

1990

-Children’s Choir (3rd grade and older) inaugurated.
-Anne Roscoe hornored as D.R.E. of the month for the Joliet Diocese.

1991

-The renowned Life Singers performed in concert, presenting “The Witness.”
-Janet Ibe of our Parish was selected as outstanding Youth Volunteer for 1991. She is now our Associate Music Director.

1992

-First meeting of the new Knights of Columbus was held.

1993

-The Knights of Columbus have named the new council, St. Maximillian Kolbe, in honor of a Polish priest who gave his life for one of the prisoners in a German concentration camp during World War II.

1994

-Parish Center Debt & 67th St. Debt paid off.
-April 29, 1994. – 25th Anniversary Dinner Dance held at Ashton Place.
-September of ’94 Parish Council formulated Mission Statement.
-Repaired Narthex roof and beams.
-Fr. Jake Hillyer assigned to St. Scholastica & Fr Thomas Chisholm assigned to Divine Savior on August 7, 1994.

1995

-Microphone & speaker system renovation.
-February 5 – Brunch with Bishop Kaffer on New Catechism at Parish Center.
-March 6-8 Parish Mission Fr. Fragomeni.
-May 28 Fr. Jake Hillyer passed away, helper from St. Procopius.
-Preliminary planning meetings for renovation of church and possible expansion of Parish Life Center were held.

1996

-January – Polka Mass.
-Anne Sinclair hired as Music Director replacing Greg Walton.
-March 17-21 Redemptorist Mission.
- March 6 -Former Pastor Rev. Victor Rudden passes away.
-Former Cry Room remodeled and replaced as Conference Room & Confessionals.
-October 19 – Bone Marrow Drive.

1997

Electric Heaters installed between doors in front entrance.
-March 18 – Afraid! The Gospel of Mark by Frank Runyeon.
-February – purchased new church furniture in sanctuary area.
-Church roof, skylights added, and roof replaced on parish center.
-May – Parish Mission by Rev. Bob Hunt.
-May 31 – sponsored refugee family by donating household items, clothing and furniture.
-Replaced rug & kneelers in church and added padded pews. Wood doors replaced in church.
-Sharon Middleton replaces Maureen Chmel as Preschool/Kindergarten Coordinator.
-Fr. Leonard Guz, Associate Pastor at Divine Savior retires.

1998

-March – Parish Mission Fr. JohnPaul Cafiero.
-May – Children’s May Crowning.
-Kathi Johnson replaced by Linda Burke as Rel. Ed. Secretary & Registrar.
-August 30 – Choir Concert & Ice Cream Social.
-Ministers Evening of Reflection – Deacon Ron Yurcus
-Renew 2000 Program.
-Purchased new phone system & Nativity Set.

1999

-Patrick Barnett joins Liturgy Staff replacing Anne Marie Sinclair.
-1st Rummage Sale.
-Year long celebration for 50th Anniversary of Joliet Diocese.
-Vacation Bible School.
-Oil Tank Removed.
-Ministers Evening of Reflection – John Donahue Grossman
-Pictures taken for Parish Pictorial Directory
-Shepherds and Wisemen added to Nativity

2000

-Women’s Night Out – “It’s About Time” by Donna Dhein
-Lenten Parish Mission given by Frian JohnPaul Cafiero, OFM – Reflections from the Foot of the Cross
-Men’s Club has Pancake Breakfast
-Vacation Bible School – “2000 Ark Avenue – God’s Great Get-Together”
-Ministers Evening of Reflection – Friar Johnpaul Cafiero
-Divine Savior Companion Ministry established

2001

-Women’s Night Out – ” When I am Old I Shall Wear Purple” by Sister Jane Schlosser
-Parish Mission – “Journey of Healing and Compassion” by John Donahue-Grossman
-Men’s Club Pancake Breakfast
-Fund raiser for Diocesan Bolivian Mission Trip
-Warren Alvarez replaces Julie DelMonico as Music Director
-Jim Deno travels to Sucre Bolvia on Diocesan Mission trip
-Vacation Bible School – “Beach Trek – VBS Experience”
-Bishoph William Houck visits DSP for raise funds for the Diocese of Jackson, Mississippi
-Paul Newey ordained to the Order of Deacon
-Ministers Evening of Reflection – Dr. Phil Horrigan of the Archdiocese of Chicago ODW
-Mom’s Group established

2002

-Women’s Night Out – “Soul Feasts; Sabbaths and Festivals by Jill Bates
-Richard Jeffrey replaces Warren Alferez as Director of Music
-Easter Egg Hunt for children
-Parish Mission – Friar Johnpaul – “Come Seeking God’s Mercy”
-Life Ling Screening offered at Parish
-Father Bob Pietras celebrates 40th Anniversary to Priesthood
-Sharon Middleton replaces Terri Vollrath as RE Elementary Coordinator
-Ellen Casey joins staff to assume RE Preschool responsibilities
-Vacations Bible School – “Brave Believers- Extreme Faith Stories”
-Newman Singers perform at Parish
-Youth Group sponsors “Operation Smiles” collection goodies for soldiers in Afghanistan
-Friar Johnpaul Cariero, OFM gives series on the Bible in October
-Ministers Evening of Reflection – Elliot Wimbush

2003

-Women’s Night Out – “Balance” by Sister Jane Schlosser
-Lenten Parish Mission given by Redemptorist Fathers
-Elliot Wimbush does Lenten Evenings of Reflection
-Anne Roscoe retires after 31 years as Director of Religious Education
-Gene Traversa joins the staff as Director of Religious Education
-Jim Deno “retires” after 7+ years as Information Services Coordinator to go to grad school
-Fr. Jim Edmiston, OFM speaks to the Parish about his work in Siberia
-Vacation Bible School – “Cowabunga! Son Harvest County Fair”
-Ministers Evening of Reflection – Mary Amore
-Youth Group runs Spaghetti Dinner Fund Raiser for the Seniors of the Humanitarian Serivce Project

2004

-Women’s Night Out – “Prayer” by Donna Dhein
-Parish Mission presented as speaker series with Elliot Wimbush and Friar Johnpaul Cafiero, O.F.M.
-Parish holds fund raiser to assist Campagana Family
-Youth Group holds Old-Fasion Ice Cream Social
-Bunny Harmon replaces Richard Jeffrey as Music Director
-Dr. Robert O’Mara, Phd, replaces Gene Traversa as Director of Faith Formation
-Vacation Bible School -”Son Games – the VBS of Champions”
-Ministers Evening of Reflection – Dr. Bob O’Mara
-Parish Mission given by Father Bernie Weber, C.P. in October

2005

-Fr. Len moves out of Parish
-Women’s Night Out – “Women of the Bible” by Friar Johnpaul Cafiero
-10th Annual Women’s Night Out – Friar Johnpaul Cafiero
-Youth Ministry holds Spaghetti Dinner Fund Raiser
-3rd Parish Photo Directory Published
-Friar JohnPaul Cafiero Parish Mission
-Parishioner Sarah Spohn celebrates 100th Birthday
-Pope John Paul II passes away
-Pope Benedict XVI elected 265th Pope
-Fr. Tom Chisholm, O.S.B. weekend associate reassigned
-Fr. Robert Sum, O.S.B. ordained and assigned as weekend associate
-Vacation Bible School – “Kingdom of the Son – A Prayers Safari”
-Gardening Angels ministry established
-Ministers Evening of Reflection – Mary Jo Valenziano
-Former Music Director, Warren Alferez passes away
-Ms. Lauren Amore joins staff as Coordinator of Youth Ministry

2006

-Spirit of God Prayer Group begins the Great Bible Adventure
-Coordinator of Youth Ministry resigns
-Women’s Night Out – “What Spirituality is” by Sr. Madelyn Gould
-Youth Ministry First Boxes of Love Project to help 115 Needy Seniors
-Parish begins taking orders for custom bricks for the Mary Grotto
-Parish Mission by Elliot Wimbush
-Mary Grotto dedicated May 7, 2006
-Shirley Barbeau retires as Parish Secretary after 24 years.
-Cathi Loris joins Religious Education as Jr. High Coordinator
-Noreen Lisy become Parish Secretary
-Bishop Joseph Imesch retires and Bishop J. Peter Sartain names as new Bishop of Joliet
-Vacation Bible School – “SonTreasure Island – Where Kids Discover God’s Love”
-Lumen Christi Ministries perform in September
-Saturday morning Great Bible Adventure begins
-Ministers Evening of Reflection – Bishop Kafer
-DSP Hosts the Rosary Walk for Life
-Parishioner Mark Rosenbaum Ordain a Deacon November 11, 2006

2007

-Dr. O’Mara resigns as Director of Faith Formation
-Fr. Bob assumes responsibilities of  Director of Religious Education
-Jim Socha assumes responsibilities as Youth Ministry Coordinator
-Parish Mission given by Rev. Wayne Prist, pastor of Queen of All Saints Basilica
-Memorial Bricks installed at the Mary Grotto
-Parishioner Mark Rosenbaum ordained to the priesthood on June 2, 2007
-Rev. Mark Rosenbaum celebrates his first Mass at Divine Savior on June 3, 2007
-Elliot Purse leaves for college is replaced in Information Services by Brittany Socha
-Cathi Loris assumes responsibilities for RE Grades 1-8
-Vacation Bible School – “SonForce Kids – Special Agents of God”
-Cheryl Steed replaces Sharon Middleton as Preschool RE Coordinator
-Youth Ministry holds Pancake Breakfast to benefit Walk-In Ministry of Hope
-Great Bible Adventure continues with Matthew
-Mark Hoffmeyer becomes Confirmation Coordinator
-DSP Hosts Parish Council Cluster Meeting in October
-RE  Classes participate in Living Rosary in October

2008

-Fr. Kevin Spiess comes to help out during Fr. Bob’s recovery from fall.
-Youth Ministry packages 115 “Boxes of Love” for Senior Citizens
-Grayson Warren Brown gives Parish Lenten Mission
-Youth Ministry Spaghetti dinner huge success
-Votive lights added to the back to chruch
-May – Fr. Spiess named temporary administrator of Divine Savior until Fr. Bob’s health improves.

2009

-March Fr. Bob announces retirement effective in June.
-March – Youth Ministry packges Boxes of Love for senior citizens
-March – Conference room sectioned into private confessional room.
-March – Msgr. Ken Vello gives 2 Day Parish Mission
-April – Fr. Bill Conway, pastor of St. Mary’s in West Chicago name pastor effective June, 2009
-June 19 – Fr. Spiess leaves as temporary administrator
-June 19 – 40th anniversary dinner dance
-June 24 – Fr. Conway begins pastorship of Divine Savior
-July 1 – Mark Hoffmeyer named full-time Director of Religious Formation
-September 1 – Rosemary Blueher joins staff as Director of Adult Formation

2012

-May 25, – Fr. Bob Pietras passes away