Irish by birth-Bohemian by marriage; Illinois Bell telephone employee and Village clerk-by profession; Wife, Mother, Grandmother and Greatgrandmother by vocation; and most importantly, devoted Catholic-by faith. That doesn’t begin to describe Alice Fitzgerald Katzmarek, but it gives us a glimpse of someone you do or should know. Alice’s origins can be traced to St. Bernard’s Hospital, St. Lawrence Parish and Loretta Academy on the Southside of Chicago. These places no longer exist but they left their mark on Alice. She was an only child whose mother died at a young age. Alice attributes her devotion to her faith and her business acumen to her grandmother who taught her “how to make a May altar to Mary, as well as, how to make a nickel go 5 ways, how to pay bills and how to climb trees.” Alice met her beloved husband, Abraham (who coincidentally was born on Lincoln’s birthday) on a blind date. It obviously worked out as they were married for 33 years, raised 5 children and started a business in Hodgkins. Alice still resides in their family home. In 1982, Abraham suffered a fatal heart-attack. It was then that Father Gallagher stepped into her life and she into the life of St. Cletus Parish. Fr. Gallagher was vigilant with the family, anointing Abraham and comforting the family. Fr. Gallagher invited Alice to become involved in the parish and that was the beginning of Alice’s commitment to her “second family”- the parishioners of St. Cletus.
For more than 20 years, Alice has arrived early to open the church doors for the weekday Mass. She has been President of the Leisure Loafers, led the Rosary before Mass, ordered, exchanged and stocked the vigil lights faithfully. Alice takes her ministry seriously, keeping watch that the vigil lights are allowed to burn to the last flicker of a flame. She respects the intentions people have in lighting candles as an offering of their prayers to God. It should be noted that this is a task that takes hours and requires some heavy lifting. Realizing that perhaps it is time to turn some of this service over to others, Alice is retiring from the candle ministry but you will still see her friendly face at daily Mass. This mother of 5, grandmother of 7 and great-grandmother of 4, who has been an election judge for 35 years, continues to share her gifts by being a “Reading Friend” to the 1st graders at Hodgkins Elementary School helping them discover the joy of reading. Alice reflects all that is welcoming about St. Cletus. Her attitude is always positive: “keep your head up and keep going; thank God for the gift of health – something money can’t buy; (and a message for all to live by), we are here to help each other”.
Definitely, Someone You Should Know.