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Ministry Leads:
Paulette Schmidt and Christine Avell
(224) 345-7200 (Parish Office)
PPC@stjamesah.org

The St. James Parish Pastoral Council (PPC), guided by the Holy Spirit, serves as a representative body of the St James parish community. The Parish Pastoral Council collaborates in Christ’s mission to be disciples of Christ and make disciples of Christ by praying for our parish, advising the pastor on pastoral issues, and reporting into the pastor regarding information from the ministries in the parish, which are grouped into commissions.

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO REACH OUT TO ANY OF US WHEN YOU SEE US AT MASS, AROUND ST. JAMES OR IN OUR COMMUNITY.  YOU CAN ALSO REACH US BY PHONE OR EMAIL, PLEASE SEE CONTACT INFO ABOVE-LEFT.

Christine Avell
Executive Council
Welcome! I am sure most of you have heard me say this to you. I am thrilled to be an active member of Saint James’ amazing parish. While my late husband, two children and I have been members for about 40 years, I only became very involved after I retired. It began when one Sunday, my friend Diane asked me if I would be willing to greet people at the 10:00 Mass. I agreed and my active participation snowballed from there. I realize now that the skills I developed from being a teacher were meant to be used to reach out to the wonderful people of my extended family of St. James. Each of you have added so much to the quality of my life so we all can have a closer relationship with God!
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Paulette Schmidt
Executive Council
I am honored and blessed to be serving the Parish Pastoral Council for my third year, along with our dedicated and dynamic members. I have been active in St. James Parish for 41 years, having been involved and serving on a multitude of committees, groups and events beginning when my now adult children were students in St. James School. My husband is Deacon Paul, who was ordained in 2001. I was privileged to attend all four years of school with him. We have been married for 54 years! I sometimes can’t believe it! Often people ‘of a certain retirement age’ move or ‘winter’ in a warmer climate to live out their later years. Not us! Paul and I have been greatly blessed and desire to be actively involved in Parish life, as well as staying close to our family. Paul is still employed in his ‘retirement’ Church job of 22 years, (They won’t let him go!) so both he and I plan to continue to serve and give back to God for as long as we’re able…until the day we die. During my final year on the Pastoral Council, I will continue to use my God-given talents to be a better disciple and lead others to become disciples of Christ.
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Kathryn Coughlin
3rd Year
Hello, I have been a parishioner of St. James since I was a child. I grew up in Arlington Heights and now live in Mt. Prospect with my husband Zack Novick, and three boys Gabriel (6), Frank (3), and Leo (1). I am active with Women of St. James, Vacation Bible School, Earth Shepherds, and PADS ministries. I have served as a mentor with ODM, a Sunday School Teacher, and as a part of other Children’s Ministries. I attended St. James School and Prospect High School. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Marquette University and a Master’s Degree in Special Education from National-Louis University. I am currently self-employed as an Education Consultant, and also work in the adoption preservation department of Catholic Charities and in the IT command center of Entara Corp. I am passionate about connecting our youth with Christ, and empowering them with ownership of their church. Thank you for allowing me to serve on your Parish Council. Photo cred: Parishioner Suzanne Fasolo of Pickle Book Designs
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Bob Green
2nd Year
We walk together in this journey of growing closer to God. My wife Jennifer and I have enjoyed the ongoing experience of faith and learning with our friends in the St. James community. Jennifer serves with so many people in the Music Ministry who share their gifts with us through psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. I am one of many who humbly serve within the Eucharistic Ministry. I believe that God has spoken to me in many ways, one of them being through bible study with my St. James friends and accountability partners. I reflect each day on how God is our supply. When we listen to each other we not only discover needs, but also recognize how someone may need Christ. Whether as a friend or to be understood, with his supply we recognize how someone may need Christ and reveal him in that way. The call to service with the Parish Pastoral Council is one that I’ve accepted with gratitude and enthusiasm as we grow together and welcome many more people to grow closer to God with us.
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Tom Adam
2nd Year
Hi. This is my 2nd year on PPC. I was born and raised Catholic in the NW side of Chicago. I attended Loyola U of Chicago which is how I met my wife of 48 yrs, Diane. We moved to Arlington Heights in 1974 and immediately joined St. James. I am a retired Dist. 214 Math teacher. I am currently the Board Chairman of our local AAEC Credit Union. I have been active in many ministries at St. James, my current favorites being Liturgy and Evangelization. I am excited to be on the PPC especially since Renew My Church is coming up for St. James with our neighboring parishes. I have attended bible studies at St. Edna and OLW meeting with their great staff and parishioners. As the lead of St. James Funeral Adult Altar Servers I helped serve our funerals at OLW and St. Edna’s during the entire year St. James was closed. Working with their welcoming staff brought our parishes together. My brother attends St. Colette Parish so I have attended liturgies there. St. Mary’s pastor is Fr. Dan Whiteside who grew up in St. James. We are blessed to have them in our grouping. I have helped at our joint parish missions which has brought all 5 parishes together as one body of Christ. With our parish Mission statement “Be Disciples, Make Disciples”, I have grown in being and making disciples by learning from the best, Matt Marcheschi our FOCUS Missionary. I have attended 2 SLS/SEEK conferences and was involved in follow up gatherings and in leading an Alpha group. My greatest goal for my time on the PPC is to share my love of Jesus throughout our parish and with our Renew My Church parishes. The Friday 6:30 AM Men’s Bible study has been fulfilling and allowed me to meet some great men. Thank you so much for allowing me to serve you. I am humbled by the opportunity. I would love to get to know you. Please introduce yourself to me.
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Brian Milligan
2nd Year
I have been a parishioner for 20 years after growing up in the Our Lady of Wayside parish. I have 3 boys, Matthew 29, David 25, and Mark 22, who continue to keep me on my toes. I have been involved over the years in a variety of activities including Quest, CFM, Confirmation leader, Finance Council, Church reconstruction project, Men’s basketball league, and the amazing Men of St. James group including the Welcome retreat and the tight-knit Friday morning Bible study (always accepting new men!). As someone who has recently gone through a divorce, I have come to see and feel the amazing support at SJ created in this faith-based place. I hope to help as a PPC member any way I can to allow SJ to continue our recent momentum by touching lives and deepening connections to our Catholic faith.
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Mary Friedl
2nd Year
Hello. I am currently the Insurance, Safety, and Claims Manager for Redbox Automated Retail, but have worked in the insurance industry in various capacities for thirty-three years. I grew up in a small town near Akron, OH and graduated from Bowling Green State University with a degree in Business Management. I played CYO volleyball and basketball in fifth and sixth grade and was a cheerleader and ran track in middle school. I was a gymnast and ran track in high school, graduating with honors. Yes, I am very sports-oriented and love my Cubs, Bears, and Blackhawks! My parents took my sisters, brother, and I to mass every week and enrolled us in CCD/PSR from first grade through high school. I also participated in and subsequently helped plan our church’s annual Freshman/Sophomore retreat in high school which started my path to being a disciple of Christ. As an adult, I taught sixth grade PSR for a few years and volunteered when I could to continue that path. I’ve moved many times in my life (from Minnesota to Ohio, back to Minnesota, to Wisconsin, to Illinois, back to Ohio, and then back to Illinois), but have always found a parish to join and become a part of. I joined St. James upon moving to Arlington Heights in 2014 and met a lot of great people through volunteering at Jubilation. As a new member of the PPC, I initially plan to educate myself about the parish ministries to better understand the needs of the parish. My long-term goal is to determine where my knowledge and skills can best be used to assist our parish leadership in making St. James a welcoming and positive place to worship while building disciples in Christ.
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Kate Costello
2nd Year
Kate has been a member of St. James Parish since 1989. She and her husband Jim, an attorney, raised four sons all of whom graduated from St. James School and St. Viator High School. Kate participated in over 20 St. James Productions as an actor, designer, costumer and director. She was also a Reading Mom, an Art Mom and a member of the St. James Women’s Club until 1999 when she began her second career at St. Viator. While there, she taught theater, film study, stagecraft and improv comedy. Kate also produced and directed the fall plays and winter musicals. This summer, Kate retired from teaching. She hopes to spend more time with her husband, her four sons, her four grandsons, and her one grand princess. She is also looking forward to becoming more active in St. James Parish life.
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Maria Serur
2nd Year
I am ecstatic and blessed to be part of the Parish Pastoral Council for St. James. I currently serve as a lector, a member of the Giving Team, and a member of the Women of St. James (WOSJ). This role allows me to contribute more of my time and talents to the parish. My goal is to build deeper Christian relationships within the community by understanding the needs of the parish and utilize my problem-solving and financial skills to support those needs. I currently work full-time in Finance for Regal Beloit Corporation, a manufacturing company. My husband, Yamil, and I have three children: Madeline, Addison, and Zoey. Our goal as parents is to instill the Catholic faith in our children so they grow to become strong Christian leaders who spread God’s love and great joy. I am delighted to serve the St. James community and promote the parish’s mission to be disciples of Christ and make disciples of Christ.
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David Kelly
1st Year
I am new to the PPC as this is my first year. I grew up in South Florida and moved up to Chicagoland after college, where I met my wife. My wife Pam and I have three children, Harper (9), Jackson (7), and Grayson (5) who all attend St James school. Pam works at St Viator High school, Harper does competitive cheer, Jackson plays Hockey and football and Grayson plays football and soccer currently, so there is always something going on. We are both involved in the church in school in various committee and activities. I am looking to help share the greatness that St James has to offer to others through the PPC. My family and I are so blessed to be a part of this special community. Currently, I am involved with the Men of St James, St James men’s softball team, men’s basketball, Welcome, and Finance Committee. I look forward to this year and what is has to offer.
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Rachael O'Connor
1st Year
I'm new to the PPC in 2021 and eager to do my part to help our parish continue to thrive the way it does today. It will be a true privilege to serve with Fr. Ed, Fr. Ryan, the St James staff, and the council. I am committed to the success of St James striving to be a welcoming and spiritually enriching community in our endeavor to be disciples, make disciples and to glorify our Lord. My husband, Mike, and I were both raised Catholic and feel blessed to be a part of the St James community with our family for over 25 years. Our four children have gone through Religious Ed / St James School, and our three youngest currently attend Saint Viator High School. I love to seek participation in this vibrant parish whenever possible, including a weekly Bible Study, and by serving as Lector and Eucharistic Minister. We are so blessed with seasonal mini-series, opportunities to adore Christ, and programs to learn more about our rich faith - it's so easy to fill my calendar! My Catholic faith, living it, and continuing to orient my life toward Christ is a priority to me. God made us to know Him, love Him and serve Him, and I pray that being a member of the PPC helps me achieve each of these spiritual goals at a higher level. I look forward to meeting more of you and serving you in our parish!
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Kathie Miklautsch
1st year
I am honored to serve on the Parish Pastoral Council. I have been a member of St. James Parish for 26 years. I have two college-aged children, Madeline and Nic. The first ministry I joined at St. James was PADS. It is a very rewarding ministry and was the perfect one for a stay at home mom with little ones. As the years moved on, I have become active in various other ministries. What I love about St. James is, there is a ministry for everyone, for every time frame, 30 minutes to 30 hours, for anyone who has a desire to be more involved. My goal while on the PPC is to continue to encourage parishioners to attend daily /weekend mass, as well as provide support to the PPC and to Fr. Ed wherever it is needed in the next few years.
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Chuck Perron
1st Year
I have 4 daughters, 36 – 46 and 11 grandchildren, 3 – 18. Two of my daughters and their families live in Park Ridge and the other two live in the greater Tampa Area. My wife and I have lived within St. James’ Parish boundaries for almost 16 years, but we only joined the Parish about 18 months ago. For about 43 years we were active Parishioners of St. Mary’s Parish in Buffalo Grove. I was a Lector, Eucharistic Minister, Minister of Care, member of the Saint Vincent De Paul Society, Chair of the Teach Who Christ is Campaign (TTWCI), a Marriage Preparation Leader, a Confirmation Preparation Leader, and a member of the Finance Committee. When we both retired, we decided that our spiritual and physical needs should be closer to our home. Before we decided to join St. James Parish, we did our research. It is a 10-minute walk from our home, but more importantly it is vibrant, faith filled and welcoming. Our decision to join was simple. Shortly after we joined everything shut down because of Covid-19. As soon as things opened, we started to volunteer. We are both in the Ministry of Care (MOC). I was asked to consider applying for the PPC by several of my neighbors and was later asked to join. I am excited to be a part of a very dynamic group. I look forward to seeing how I can help to fulfill the mission statement of our Parish.
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Gail Sherva
1st Year
I am Gail Sherva and I was born in Chicago and attended Catholic schools both primary and secondary. I was married in the Church and raised my two daughters in the faith. They both attended OLW here in Arlington Heights. I've been a member of St. James for approximately 28 years. My love affair the parish began on a sunny spring day when I phoned the Parish Office to RSVP for a Newcomers Dinner. So touched by the generosity and kindness of that ministry, a year later I became a co- hostess. When the dinners became a thing of the past, I proposed a Coffee Sunday. Those Sundays highlighted the various ministries, their purpose and goals and possibly increase their membership numbers. Thus, Cafe St. James was born. We gathered the first Sunday of the month in the Parish Center after the 10:00 Mass, enjoying refreshments and meeting new interests and people. Since that time, I've been pleased to be involved in VBS (2010), Environment and Art along with such talented "designers". I had the extreme pleasure to assist Pat Farrell in Confirmation Instruction. Then came along the Divorce Support group in 2015. I became a Eucharistic Minister the year our Parish Center was dedicated by Cardinal Frances George...what a fantastic day! I am currently a member of WOSJ (previously St. Jude Guild). I have attended a few retreats which only grew my interest to be even more engrained in the life I found here at St. James. I enjoyed a 47 year career with United Airlines and recently retired. It was in 1978 that I earned my "wings" and set out to see the world. I've been so blessed with memories and experiences that have so enhanced my life. I've been in the position of leadership with various flight crews, and a first-responder to emergency situations (those were few). Overall my life was and still remains very flexible and open to new ideas and adventures. The education about the world around me has been remarkable. I look forward to showing myself to be a good disciple and I'm honored to serve.
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Michael Gilbert
1st Year
Since joining the parish in fall of 2020, my family has had many opportunities to see what makes St. James Parish great through attending Mass, learning at St. James School, involvement in Lifeteen, and attending Father Ryan’s BYOB and Miniseries. I grew up in Morton Grove and went through RCIA at Our Lady of the Wayside twenty years ago while dating my wife Christine. I was raised without religion, but always believed in God. Christine introduced me to the Catholic Church by inviting me to attend Mass with her, and within a year I was a Catholic! We have lived in Arlington Heights for eighteen years and have three children. Our two daughters are in high school and our son is in fourth grade at Saint James School. I look forward to serving St. James as a member of the Parish Pastoral Council.
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