Joyful Disciple Awards

The 2018 Joyful Disciples Awardees
have been chosen carefully by their respective commissions

Chris and Everhart
                          Commpassion Commission

Tom and Lynn Figiel
                         Holiness Commission)

Jim and Paula Paoella 
                         St. Walter School
Joe Schabelski
                         Parish Staff

Pauline Engel 
                         Financial Commission

Tom Hull 
                         Worship Commission

Noreen Horwedell 
                         Pastoral Care Commission

Cindy Kueller 
                         Faith Commission



Rickie & Paul Kruzel


Community Commission

My journey to becoming a Joyful Disciple of Jesus began many years ago. My mom was very religious and she encouraged me to follow in her footsteps. I started playing the organ at my home parish, Saint Bonaventure, after I graduated from high school. I also helped out at our parish carnival where I met Paul. He asked me out and the rest is history.  We married on July 11, 1971 and  were blessed with three wonderful children, Jeff, Michelle, and Kevin. In April 2008, we received another blessing when our beautiful granddaughter Kayli was born.

I accompanied the choir at St. James the Apostle in Glen Ellyn for ten years, under several directors. I began playing at St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Itasca after that and I am currently employed there. I also direct a group known as “Rickie’s group” here at St. Walter, most often at the 12:00 PM Mass. My favorite times of year, as a musician, are Christmas, the Triduum and Easter. As you can see music is a big part of my life.

Being a room mom was very rewarding. One of my favorite memories was making a cake that resembled a piano for Mrs. Figley. I also chaired several St. Walter Fashion Shows. The children in my carpool as well as the principal, Mrs. Lloyd, often wondered if they would ever get picked up because I would stop and pick up raffle prizes on my way to and from school!

Throughout our years at St. Walter, Paul helped out with Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. Jeff and Kevin will always remember the help they received from Paul when he helped them build their Pinewood Derby Cars.

Paul and I were involved in Parish Food Drives. We enjoyed working with members of Trinity Lutheran assembling the Food Baskets. Paul would bring boxes from his work that we would use to pack the food. We chaired the parish blood drive for about 10 years. (Paul had the stats down to a science for all of the donors.)

We chaired the food booth at St. Walter picnics for several years. We had some of the best tasting food around town at those picnics. We have been, and continue to be, involved in the PADS program (over 30 years). I  enjoy talking with all of my cooks to plan the meals once every three months. Paul helps out tremendously doing the heavy lifting that I am unable to do. A few years ago Paul decided to get more involved in the Sunday liturgy. He signed up to carry the cross at the Noon Mass on the Sundays that I play for our group.

Two years ago, while we were in Las Vegas, I became very ill. During my stay in the hospital Paul never left my side. He slept in a chair right next to my bed. He still helps me out every day. I don’t know what I would do without him. My children have been so supportive , as well, throughout my illness, and all came to Las Vegas to be with me, even my granddaughter. She helped feed me and colored pictures for me, which I still keep.

During my illness, the parishioners at St. Walter came together and offered prayers for me during a prayer service led by Father Mario. Greg Everhart got the word out. He asked many of our parishioners to join him to pray for my good health. I truly believe that all of these prayers helped me recover faster and I felt that I had finally come back to life. Father Mario recently said that “You are a walking miracle”.

St. Walter Church has become a very special part of our lives!








The 2017 Joyful Disciples Awardees
have been chosen carefully by their respective commissions

Christine and Olivia Essary (School Board Commission)

John Kornacker (Faith Commission)

Frank and Rose Montefalco (Finance Commission)

Marie Weyrich (Pastoral Care Commission)

Judy McGuire (Compassion Commission)

Gus and Jean Dalbis (Worship Commission)

Don and Carol Carani (Community Commission)

John Baumgart (Holiness Commission)

Mary Lloyd (Parish Council)

We are so blessed to have these people embody our vision as a parish! With the generosity of their lives, they have chosen intentionally to be Joyful Disciples in everything they do.

Come Holy Spirit!

Christine and Olivia Essary
St. WalterSchool Board Commission

I have been at St. Walter Parish for 15 years and St. Walter School for 11 years.

In 2008 I tragically lost my husband to a heart attack. Olivia was 5 years old at the time. This is when I personally sat down with Father Mario for the first time to discuss my husband’s funeral. Father Mario not only consoled me but restored my Faith in God by telling me that with prayer and strength I would get through this.

St. Walter Parish, the joyful community and school, reached out to my daughter and I in such a way that I will forever be thankful.

I have dedicated the past 11 years to St. Walter School by volunteering. I have co-chaired the school Book Fair; co- chaired the Santa’s Workshop; and co-chaired the decorating committee for the Annual Gala.

I have also taken part in helping the Art and Environment Ministry to decorate the church. Olivia has been honored for Outstanding Service as an Altar Server. She is always willing to help out in any situation.

We consider St Walter’s our home. It is our place to come and worship with our FAITH, FAMILY, AND FRIENDS

We truly are Joyful Disciples! We BELIEVE!.









How has being involved in ministry at St. Walter Parish helped to enrich your life and bring you closer to the Lord Jesus?

As a Catechist, my study, coupled with a lot of prayer and preparation in order to present the teachings of our Faith to the Confirmation candidates is certainly a means of growth for me. Through this I continue to develop my love for the Sacraments, Scripture and Sacred Tradition that comprise the Catholic Faith.

As a Lector, I have a love for the Liturgy of the Word and how we are fed by both the word and Sacrament at Mass.  This has grown over the years and is very humbling. The more you think you have learned in Scripture, there is always so much more. I read the daily Mass readings regularly whether or not I attend Mass.  Daily devotional readings and parish Sharing the Word sessions also help bring Scripture alive for me.

As a SWYM volunteer, I receive far more than I could ever give. The energy our teens have is amazing and contagious. They are enthusiastic about their lives and the challenges they face.  They also demonstrate a love for one another. I am both amazed and humbled as they witness to the joys and challenges in their lives, something I would never have done at their age.

As a member of the Cursillo community, weekly meetings with my brothers in Christ promote an accountability of how we are living our Faith through our Piety, Study and Action. We love and support one another.



Rose and Frank Montefalco are extremely humbled to have been chosen for this award. They often repeat, “We don’t know what we did to deserve it.”

Rose learned sign language and for many years signed Masses at St. Walter Parish to assist their son, Victor, and other hearing impaired parishioners. Both Rose and Frank have been an integral part of the parish, since they moved into their home almost 50 years ago. Frank has been an usher for over 35 years and a Knight for over 25 years.  Last May, Frank received an award at the annual Diocesan Knights of Columbus, Victor Cardosi recognition ceremony for his continuous support of vocations, pro-life and the food pantry.

Rose has been a strong supporter of Misericordia, most often recognized for her fund raising by selling raffle tickets to support the Annual Misericordia Gala, and for her support of the Misericordia Candy Day.

This year Rose and Frank are celebrating their 60th Wedding Anniversary.

Congratulations Rose and Frank, and thank you for your years of ministering as
Joyful Disciples here at St. Walter!







Pastoral Care started with Sister Ann in the early 80’s shortly after Bob and I moved to Roselle with our family.  Sister Ann trained and coached me to be a Minister of Care.  I am still in the ministry today.  Over the years, I have ministered to many beautiful people having their own personalities and needs.

Later, Caroline Karpinski walked into my life. Caroline took me under her wing and got me involved in the Bereavement ministry.  I not only helped with funerals but Caroline trained me to prepare the Mass with the families. Since then I have helped whenever needed.

Abbington has a Communion Service every Tuesday morning and I minister one Tuesday a month at this rehab / nursing home.

My husband, Bob, and I have also been involved in other ministries in the parish over the years.

We live by:  “Here I am Lord. Is it I Lord? I have heard you calling in the night.  I will go Lord, if you lead me. I will hold your people in my heart.”

It is a privilege to humbly bring Jesus to the home bound and to Abbington. When I minister at funerals or sit with a family planning the Mass,I am hoping to console them as Jesus would have. I love my church and community and want to bring that same love to the people I minister to.

God provides the opportunity.It is there to take.”

Judy McGuire



My involvement in St. Walter parish life has evolved over the 20+ years I have been a Parishioner. When I first came to St. Walter, I was still teaching full time so my time for ministry was limited. I had been a Eucharistic Minister at St. Matthew in Schaumburg, so I decided to branch out and become a minister of care, visiting Abbington Nursing Home and a few homebound parishioners. I did that for 17 years until I quit to take care of a dying cousin, and received so many blessings from that ministry. I saw Jesus in those whom I visited. It was a hard ministry, but those people brought me so much joy. They were so grateful for a visit, and so glad to see someone from St. Walter. I felt I was doing God’s work. Even when I didn’t feel like going, I always left them feeling so blessed. 

After I retired, I was able to get more involved in the parish. I joined the Faith Network Desk when it was originally formed ten years ago, and it has kept me current on all the activities of the parish all these years. I love meeting the people who are new to St. Walter, greeting all those I know in the parish, and serving everyone by answering questions, providing assistance, and communicating with those who want to join a ministry, leave a message or whatever. I love to help in any way that I can. It has brought me closer to the people of St. Walter, and made me more aware of the activities and needs of our parish and parishioners.

I also served on the Parish Council, was a Confirmation catechist, and am very active in S.A.M. and Cursillo. These have all brought me closer to Jesus as I have grown spiritually and personally through my involvement with these groups. There are so many leaders and models here at St. Walter. I have become aware of our parish as a large family community serving all ages; the seniors, the teens, children and parents, as well as singles, young and not so young. We have many activities to provide for all the needs of our many diverse groups. It is here in this place that I found a spiritual home, one that I had searched for, for many years. Jesus kept me seeking until I finally came here and met so many wonderful people to grow with spiritually. It began with a small Renew group. I felt I belonged here from day one. I have met so many people here who have led me on my spiritual path which has enriched my life so much. I love the liturgies, the music, the homilies, and all the spiritual opportunities to pray and grow in love for Jesus and Mary. I most recently joined the bereavement ministry where I feel I can serve those going through the pain of loss. It is a privilege to walk with people at such a vulnerable and difficult time in their lives. I know I appreciated those who walked with me during some of my sorrowful times.

 I think of the song, “Surely the Presence of the Lord is in this Place,” when I think of St. Walter. We have had some difficult times, some changes and transitions, but overall, it is the best parish I have ever been a part of, and I have moved around a lot in my life. My involvement here in this parish has made my life as a Catholic come alive. It has made me a more Joyful Disciple. It has led me to retreats and pilgrimages and ever seeking to learn more and more. It has led me to become an affiliate of the Servants of the Holy Heart of Mary. I am so grateful to be a member of this vibrant parish.








  • I always attended Catholic School and was taught the importance of serving others. I still love serving others to this day.
  • My involvement has brought me closer to God and to the Blessed Mother who I pray to daily.
  • Impressive short story by Jean about Gus: “On the night Jean first met Gus, it was a snowstorm and he helped another man dig his car out of the snow.” His desire to help others left a lasting impression on her even after 59 years of marriage.


  • I love the feeling of community in the church. I would be lost without the church and the parish community. I feel that serving the parish is a way of giving back to the church for all that it has given to me.
  • Like many, I am concerned about the role of faith and religion among younger generations and I see my service as a way to pass on the importance of church and faith life.

In addition, both Jean and Gus have loved being involved outside of the church. They always volunteered to help with activities for their children and grandchildren. When the Bloomingdale Park District was no longer able to afford a football program, Gus and several other men started the Bloomingdale Bears. Gus served 9 years as the president of the organization and Jean was very involved with the cheerleading and dance programs.

It is most evident that both Jean and Gus have always been Joyful Disciples, helping and serving others for the love of God.



Don and Carol Carani have been parishioners of St. Walter Parish since 1962. All five of their children graduated from St Walter School. They have been active in numerous organizations such as the Council of Catholic Women (CCW), Seasoned Adult Ministry (SAM), Vocation Ministry and the Holy Name Society.

Below are a few “Little Known Facts” that they kindly shared with us:

  • In the 1970's our Holy Name Society had a softball team that played other parishes within the Diocese.Fr. Mac was our "star" left-handed pitcher.
  • Along with Larry Wilborn and our combined "kid squad", we made numerous trips to Appalachia with parish donationsof cash, food and clothing.
  • We have been Communion Ministers and Mass Lectors since the programs began in the 1970's while Fr. Bill Smith was Pastor.
  • Carol served as school secretary in the early 1980's. Don was Holy Name Society President.
  • We moved out of state for a short period of time but came back to "Our Home" at St. Walter's and re- sumed involvement including Communion Minister, Lector, Vocation Ministry and S.A.M. Current health concerns have caused us to cut back but we continue to support parish initiatives.


Don & Carol Carani





How did you become involved in Ministry?

I started as an usher, then joined the Knights of Columbus and coached NWSRA Special Olympics in many sports. After I made a Cursillo weekend, which was very powerful, I became a Eucharistic Minister, a lector and a server at daily mass. I became a Minister of Care, a P.A.D.S. helper and a choir member.  Recently I began praying a weekly Daisy for one of our priests and I help out around the church campus with odd jobs especially electri- cal. Through all of this, I have met many good people and the spiritual well-being I receive is great.

How has your involvement brought you closer to Jesus?

St. Walter parish life has brought me closer to Jesus, through interaction with good, holy men and women that I have met through Cursillo, Knights of Columbus, special studies groups that meet in homes and all of the ministries that I am a part of.

How has Jesus become more present in your life from your involvement in the parish?

Jesus has become more present in my daily life in service not only at St. Walter but at P.A.D.S. and Special Olympics. I can see and feel Jesus in others as I humble myself in each different situation.

How has your commitment to your fellow parishioners, demonstrated by your actions and prayer here at St. Walter Parish helped to enrich your own spiritual well-being?

My commitment to my fellow parish, demonstrated by my actions and prayer at St. Walter has helped
enrich my own spiritual well-being.  I am a daily Mass attendee. This alone is very enriching.  If I add a rosary a day there is a noticeable difference. The power of prayer and putting family, friends and parishioners as the recipients makes my day go full sail.






Mary Lloyd

Parish Council


Mary Lloyd has served as teacher/ principal in the Diocese of Joliet for 35 years. She has been principal at St. Walter School for 28 of those years.


Mary’s Witness:

I have been gifted to see Jesus in the face of this wonderful parish community.  Having the honor of working with our priests, staff, parishioners, children and school families has been life-changing and life-giving for me.  I find my faith deepens through the work of ministry. 

To serve others is a great and humbling privilege.  Companioning children and families through life-changing moments, those filled with great joy and those filled with great sorrow, requires that we, in ministry, are directed by the Lord Jesus, not ourselves. 

It is always my hope and prayer that I, in some small way, can make a difference by carrying on the Lord’s work in St. Walter Parish.  I will always be grateful and in awe of the deep faith, care and generosity of this great parish community.  I remain most appreciative, humbled and joyful to serve.