San Rocco Oratory

of the Archdiocese of Chicago

Mary Rodriguez
Here, Mary Rodriguez is proclaiming the First Reading at Sunday Mass. Note the hanging image of the risen Christ on the wall in the back; this hanging is mounted there during the Easter Season, till Pentecost Sunday.

Charles Nardoni, lector, proclaims the reading.
Charles Nardoni, lector

From the left are Americo Mascetti, Fred LoBue, and Michael Prisco, ushers. The collection baskets are empty.

Servers at San Rocco
At the proclamation of the Gospel, above, in the absence of a deacon, the priest sings the introduction, reads the Gospel itself, and sings the conclusion. Servers above, from the left, are Paul Rodriguez, Nikko, and Tony Panici. The latter two servers hold candles in honor of Christ the Word.

Gospel Procession Christmas 2004
During the relatively long "Alleluia Madrigal," sung by the choir, the Gospel Procession is also extensive. Above are Josh Graham, Nikko Rodriguez, and Joe DiMaggio, who carries the censer.

Conclusion of the Alleluia
The Gospel Procession ends at the pulpit.

Lay Ministry


At San Rocco, it is a common practice for someone to volunteer as a lector when a relative is prayed for at Sunday Mass, for example, a deceased mother or father. Both men and women are welcome to read the first and the second reading. If the lector is not ready to sing "The Word of the Lord" at the end, the priest or a choir member can sing it.  Usually, an usher will recruit two lectors before the beginning of each Mass, confirm with the priest what readings are used, and see if each lector will sing the conclusion, "The Word of the Lord."


The ushers have a serious and important responsiblity.  They make sure that the visitors feel welcome; they attend to the needs of all in the congregation.  The ushers pay special attention to such things lighting, heating, access, and good order. They give special care to those who are disabled or elderly. They also take up the collection and coordinate the procession for the preparation of gifts, which includes the collection, as well as the bread and wine.  If a deceased family member is commemorated at a given Mass, that family can appropriately take part in the presentation of the gifts, in the procession.


While others are welcome to serve, especially at weddings and funerals, at Sunday Mass, we usually have the same children serve. San Rocco is blest with a small, reliable group of servers. They lead the entrance and preparation processions at Mass, with at least one candlebearer.  One of them carries the processional cross during the entrance procession. One of them holds the book or anything else needed, for the priest. They help with the preparation of the bread and wine.  At the appropriate times, one of them rings the bells for the Eucharistic Prayer. At the Gospel and during Communion, two servers hold candles, in honor of Christ among us.

Most important of all, the servers give good example, by devout attention to the Scripture proclaimed, by enthusiastic participation in the singing, and by reverence throughout the liturgy.


The work of our music director, Celeste Jones, and our choir is a special ministry all to itself, meriting a separate page.  From 2001 to 2009, Marty Bramlette Hesse was the primary choir director and organist.  Both Celeste and Marty are independent contractors; they are free to take off as they need to do so.  San Rocco Oratory has benefited from numerous guest musicans, including Jeanette Dandurand, Pat Hahto, Laura Javorka, Terry McDonough, Megan Murray, Dennis Peters, Don Ternes, and Erin Weis. 


In 2001, August Anzelmo started a weekly Sunday bulletin.  Annette Nordstrom composed it for some years;  Linarae Mueller continued the work, faithfully. Currently, the editor is Jeanette Dandurand, (708) 275-8881. Please contact her to include announcements.  This weekly bulletin features news about the San Rocco family, a message from the rector, information about the liturgy, and current, religious news. This bulletin is regularly illustrated with line art, including a cartoon or two.  This line art is by the late Virginia Broderick, whose handiwork also appears in the Leaflet Missal prayerbook.

Planning Committee

Especially for various events during the year, committee members make all arrangements necessary. These dinners and other celebrations are complex, requiring budgeting, fund-raising, purchasing, staffing, and promotion. This committee also considered the construction of a new assembly hall, intended to be used especially for such events.  Over the years,  Mayor Sam Ciambrone has coordinated this work.

Sanctuary Care Committee/Sacristans

Carol Dallesandro coordinates those who do cleaning work in the church.  Priscilla Fushi helps in maintaining the vestments in good condition, especially the albs.  This group of people performs the usually unseen task of keeping in good order both the sanctuary and the body of the church.   After the 2007 fire, which began with burning carpeting, the new floor, made of ceramic tile, is durable and relatively maintenance-free.  However, there is still a carpet in the vestibule. 

Landscaping and Maintenance

Giuseppe Incandela regularly provides landscaping services, for both the oratory and the assembly hall.  In wintertime, he clears away the snow in the parking lot and in front of the church.  Mike Prisco helps maintain the air conditioning and heating units.  Jeanine Zamiar maintains the parish financial records, following norms from the Chicago Archdiocese; all data is entered in a Quickbooks account, which is now online and subject to review from downtown.  The policies of the Chicago Archdiocese require the use of Quickbooks and various other practices.  A complete audit in October, 2010, was requested by the rector, to see how we might improve.  The cost of this professional audit (by the firm of Crowe Horwath) was covered by the Archdiocese.

Substantial painting work has been done by Dave Hilgen and Tom Planera. Tom painted the rerodos in the chrch building, the beautiful, blue sky on the north wall, with white clouds, behind the wall crucifix.  In addition to the rerodos, Tom Planera also painted the white crosses in the grotto, the side door of the oratory, and the outside of the Mt. Carmel Club.  He also restored the statue of St. Rocco, after the fire in 2007.

Finance Committee

Catholic churches are required to have a finance committee, a group of lay people who advise the pastor periodically and help him manage expenditures; he chooses them.  This is not a parish council but an advisory, staff committee. As it was set up, San Rocco Oratory was to rely on the finance committee of St. Agnes church, with which the oratory was anticipated to have some association.  (Since there has been little connection with that parish, Bishop Perry had the rector report to him directly, rather than the pastor of St. Agnes. Bishop Perry's decision effectively ended the relationship with that parish.)  For many years, Ray Grothaus prepared the annual budget and the annual report.  He did a thorough and competent job.  Now, however, that work is accomplished by Jeanine Zamiar, San Rocco secretary, and the finance committee.  Currently, the members of this committee are Yvette Betancourt, Gene DaCorte, John & Jackie Graham,  Pete Ruhl,  and Father Gilligan.  (Pete is a former officer of Suburban Federal Savings and Citizens Bank.)  There is a normal rotation of members over the years; previous members included August Anzelmo and Sam Ciambrone.  Nick and Rob Markionni have also contribued their ideas.  Following the directives of Canon Law and the Chicago Archdiocese, the rector is the chairman of the group and is responsible for implementing "best practices."

For the Sunday collection, for example, best practices include rotation of collection counters, with use of tamper-proof bags for immediate deposit, with detailed breakdown of income.  Each week, the Sunday bulletin publishes this breakdown by category.  Teresa Bravo, Lee Czarnecki, Priscilla Fushi, Claire Nardoni, Annette Nordstrom, John Onofrio, Jr.,  Mike Prisco, and Paul Preuss have all helped with this ministry.  After each Sunday Mass, the collection is counted, categorized, and deposited, usually by 11:30 a.m.

Following the dedicated example of Fred Lobue, Yvette Betancourt has managed the St. Anthony Hall, making it available not only to the members of the oratory but also to people in the neighborhood, especially for such special occasions as wedding receptions and baptism dinners.   In accord with directives from the Archdiocese, a carefully prepared booklet is made available to all those who use the hall, specifying what needs to be done.

Yvette is fluent in both Spanish and English and knows many people in the neighborhood.  She has also arranged for her father, Basilio, to maintain the hall.  He and his wife live on Portland, right across from the church, so they can easily keep an eye on the facilities.

Evangelization Committee

Not yet formed is a group of people who would help reach out to those who  might be alienated from the Catholic Church or who might need to be invited to join.  Reasonably, many Mexican Americans in the immediate neighborhood prefer to share in the life of nearby St. Paul's church, which features Mass in Spanish.

Evangelization at San Rocco, then, would in part be directed to former members of the closed San Rocco parish, rather than the territory in the immediate vicinity of the church building.  Nevertheless, San Rocco is open to everyone, regardless of ethnic origin.  Long standing members include families named Baumgartner, Betancourt, Boyd, Davis, Foster, Garcia, Graham, Hapniewski, Hilgen, Koite, Kondziolka, Martinez, Nordstrom, Pinnow, Ristenpart, Rodriguez, Swan, Vanderhei,  Vega, Wess, and Wolter.  Maybe we need to evangelize the Irish.

San Rocco Oratory

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