Back to School at St. Walter & St. Benedict in Blue Island

On August 5th, St. Mary Magdalene Conference members Dennis Ziolkowski, Carol Juarez, Marivel Rodriguez, and others, stuffed almost 200 backpacks with school supplies! The supplies included pens, paper, crayons, pencils and other items.

Thanks to the generosity of the Society of St. Vincent DePaul Chicago Council, St. Benedicts/St Walters school will be able to provide back to school backpacks for almost 200 children in the Blue Island area. Almost 80% of the children who attend the St Benedict and St Walter campuses receive financial assistance and the Society’s generous contributions will be put to good use.

We had an opportunity to speak briefly with Fr. Dennis Lyle, Pastor at St. Mary Magdalene Parish (he was originally from St. Benedict). He was appreciative of the backpacks and school supplies and the work of the SVdP volunteers in stuffing the backpacks. St. Mary Magdalene has 8-10 people who come on a regular basis to SVdP meetings. Fr. Lyle and another volunteer are the only ones able to communicate with the Hispanic community. When asked how long SVdP was established at their parish, Father Lyle believes it was in 2021 when they had their first bundle weekend. Fr. Lyle said there is a great need in the community for a St. Vincent de Paul. His philosophy is “Each parish should reach out to those in need in their immediate area.

“St. Mary Magdalene Parish has two schools: St. Walter School (K-4th grade with approximately 75-80 students) and St. Benedict School (5th-8th grade with approximately 160 students).

SVdP Chicago is happy that we were able to help out and make a difference.

SVdP Orland Park Store Gets a Fresh New Look!

Earlier this week, the SVdP Orland Park Thrift Store was blessed to have the help from 17 high school students and 3 adults who are part of the “Alive in You” Catholic Ministry program.

This week the store had the floors cleaned and waxed and with the help of this wonderful organization, it couldn’t have come at a better time. Their help with moving racks, store items, cleaning up, etc., made what could have been a daunting task into a doable task. Their help was sincerely appreciated by all!

Sarah Daszczuk has been involved on and off for 6-7 years with the program and involved 10 years total with youth ministry. “Alive in You” travels around the country doing community service and are in the Chicago area this week with 200 people from the Wauwatosa, WI, area. They arrived Tuesday evening and will be going back home to on Sunday. Some of these students expressed interested in working with Boys Clubs, YMCA, Cleaning at Cemeteries and helping at Catholic Schools.

“Alive in You” believes in going into communities and partnering with organizations such as SVdP that helps and serves the community. Their parishes have an active SVdP as well so they knew about us and what we have to offer. During one of groups evening discussions earlier this week, the students shared stories about helping out at the store and did not realize how much it helped others. This experience they will take back with them when returning home at the end of the week. They were also impressed with Kelly’s (our Store Manager) story and Harry’s dedication to SVdP.

Thank you Sarah and the “Alive in You” group of students who came to spend a few days with us and learn a little bit more of what SVdP has to offer.

May God Bless You All.

A Proper Christian Burial After 10 Years: How SVdP Was Able to Help Make it Happen

This is a story about Charise Kotkoski who died alone in a house fire 10 years ago and with the help of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Chicago-ADC, her remains were finally laid to rest.

Bill and Sue Kushnerik of Oak Lawn had read about Charise in a magazine and had recognized who she was. They wanted to ensure that she was given a Christian burial so they began the process of going through the proper channels. Bill and Sue approached St. Linus who in turn helped guide them through the paperwork process of claiming her remains. Then, someone at St. Linus had learned of two graves that had been donated at Forest Home Cemetery in Forest Park. With this information, Bill and Sue reached out to the St. Linus SVdP Conference to find a contact in Forest Park. Their contact turned out to be Jim Murray of the St. Bernadine SVdP Conference in Forest Park. With the combination of help from the St. Linus and St. Bernadine Conferences as well as Elvia Rojas from the SVdP Chicago Central Office, a resting location for Charise had been found. Jim Murray had arranged for a permanent deacon at St. Bernardine Catholic Church on Harrison Street, who agreed to preside at the committal.

On July 6, 2022, 10 years later, Charise was finally laid to rest with a proper Christian burial with the help of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Chicago-ADC. Thank you to all who worked to ensure a simple, but beautiful burial for Charise.

To read the article in it’s entirety, please click here.

In Memoriam: Regina Coleman Johnson

Dear Vincentians,

It is with great sadness that I share with you the recent passing of Regina Coleman Johnson, SVdP District IX President. Regina was an incredible woman who worked hard and advocated for others to ensure the needy received the help they required. She will be very missed at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Please keep Regina and her family in your prayers. May she rest in peace. 

God Bless,

Harry Ohde, Volunteer President/CEO – Society of St. Vincent de Paul Chicago-ADC

Donation Drive Weekend Events: July 30 & 31

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul has a few donation drives this weekend. Join us this weekend, July 30 & 31 at:

St. Domitilla

4940 Washington Street – Hillside

Our Lady of the Ridge

10838 S Oxford – Chicago Ridge

Presbyterian Church of Orland Park

13401 S Wolf Road – Orland Park

Please remember to donate with dignity gently used items.

To see upcoming Donation Drives please visit our website at

In Celebration of Fr. Gerry Kelly

Dear Vincentians,

On behalf of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Chicago-ADC, we we would like to extend to our Spiritual Advisor, Fr. Kelly, our wishes for a blessed birthday today, June 28th, as well as congratulations on the celebration of your June 5, 2022, 40th anniversary of being a priest.

If you wish to send Fr. Kelly an email, please click here.

Thank you Fr. Kelly for all you do for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Chicago-ADC. May God Bless You today and always.

God Bless, 

Harry Ohde, Volunteer President/CEO

Society of St. Vincent de Paul Chicago-ADC

Donation Drives: June 23 – 27

There are several donation drives this weekend. Join us this week/weekend at:

June 23, 24, 25:

Our Lady of the Lake / St Bede – 36399 N Wilson Road, Ingleside

June 23, 24, 25, 26 & 27:

St. Patrick’s – 15000 W Wadsworth Road, Wadsworth

June 25 & 26:

St. Turibius – 5646 S Karlov Avenue, Chicago

St. Raphael the Archangel – 4000 N Route 45, Old Mill Creek

Please remember to donate with dignity gently used items.

To see upcoming Donation Drives please visit our website at

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