Pastor’s Letter: Happy Happenings at OLW
Approximately one year ago, I arrived at Our Lady of the Wayside parish as your new pastor. Just before then, I had completed a much-needed sabbatical, was waiting to find out my new assignment, and had asked the Blessed Mother to bring me to the parish where She wanted me to serve. She chose OLW—a parish under Her very own patronage, which proves that there are no coincidences with God! I am very grateful not only to be here as your pastor, but also for all of your support throughout this past year. I pray that God will continue to bless our parish and each of you with His abundant grace and love.
I have some good news to share: we have hired a replacement for our long-time Director of Office Services, Kathy Freiburger, who recently retired. Mrs. Mari Torgerson will be joining our administrative team as our new Office Manager. Mari, her husband Chad, and their four children have been parishioners at OLW since 2017, and Mari serves as a catechist in our parish. If you stop by the parish office, hers will be the first face that you will see, so please be sure to welcome Mari warmly to her new role and position. We are excited that she has joined our team.
Although Christmas has passed, I would like to thank and recognize the many people who worked very hard to make the Christmas season and celebrations at OLW so beautiful. I would like to thank the Director of Music, Dan McMahon as well as his team of cantors and instrumentalists for preparing such an incredible Christmas concert and liturgical music, which impressed and touched so many parishioners.
I would also like to thank all volunteers of the opening and closing teams. These dedicated individuals took their own valuable time to clean and sanitize the Church so that approximately 900 members of our parish could participate safely in the Christmas Masses. In addition, the members of the Art and Environment Committee, who were responsible for decorating the church and sanctuary, did a beautiful job making everything look festive! Those who came to the parish expressed to me that they felt very safe and were so happy to be able to gather together and enjoy a sense of community.
Our Director of Communications, Sean Reilly, along with Martin Bauer and their communications team also deserve our gratitude for preparing the registration, videography, and streaming the online Masses and concert so that those who could not participate in person were able to join our wonderful community online.
I would also like to express particular gratitude to our deacons. Deacon Peter LeTourneau—Director of Parish Ministry and Evangelization—assisted me spiritually throughout the Advent and Christmas seasons. He and his wife Jan are responsible for arranging the special Christmas packages containing a booklet, holy water, blessed chalk, and an ornament that were assembled by the Youth Ministry and OLW school students and delivered personally to more than parish 3,000 households over the period of 8 days! Thank you, too, to all of those who volunteered to bake delicious cakes and prepare Christmas cards to express gratitude to our parish volunteers.
Also Deacon Tom Corcoran, who leads Care and Outreach, and his wife Irene prepared 45 packages, each containing a ham, for families at St. Mark’s parish who are in need as well as 10 packages for the Little Sisters of the Poor. Deacons Paul Onischuk, Don Grossnickle, Pete LeTourneau, and Jerry Brennan assisted during the celebrations of the Christmas Masses. I am grateful to them for all the ministerial and pastoral support that they provided.
In closing, I would like to express gratitude to all of the parish staff who work so diligently behind the scenes to ensure that our parish functions smoothly and that we enjoy a sacred, beautiful, and well-prepared Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Arthur Marat
Mari Torgerson Introduction
Mrs. Mari Torgerson and her family live in Arlington Heights and have been Our Lady of Wayside parishioners since 2017. She is a wife and mother to four children ages 3, 5, 7, and 15. Mari obtained her Bachelor’s in Human Resources from Franklin University, and she has more than 14 years of office administration experience. She is also currently a catechist at OLW and serves with the ABC/25 Foundation to support local schools. When she is not busy being a mother and catechist, her hobbies include fitness, baking, dining out, and exploring different cultures.
Before joining the OLW team, Mrs. Torgerson was employed with AMITA Health, a Catholic hospital system, where she worked directly with top executives. Mari aims to use her experience to assist Fr. Arthur, the OLW deacons, and parish staff to accomplish their mission to support the OLW Community. In Mari’s own words: “Faith has always been an important part of my life, so I am very excited to join the Parish Administration team. I look forward to connecting even more with our parish community.”
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