Annual Volunteer Appreciation Reception

Recap from our 2020 Volunteer Appreciation Reception


First and foremost, thank you to all of our parish and school volunteers. All that takes place in our parish and school would not happen without you! 

Thank you to all who participated in our Volunteer Appreciation Reception on February 22nd. This year we honored 3 couples: Susie Cahill and Bill Murray, Charlaine and Patrick McAnany, and Marla and Jim Schwarber. If you know them, be sure to let them know you appreciate all they have done here at the parish on behalf of us all.


Spotlight on our Honorees


Marla and Jim Schwarber

Marla and Jim Schwarber moved to Ascension Parish in 1994.  Their son, Jamie, attended Ascension School where Marla found herself volunteering in a number of capacities: Home and School, Room Parent, and Cub Scouts to name a few.  School involvement often opens the path to parish involvement and over the years Marla has served on Commissions when the original structure of the Parish Council used the Commissions model, the Parish Council itself twice (currently a member), a member of the Welcoming Committee, sings with our 9:00 am Schola Choir, serves as an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist, served a term on the Stewardship Committee, and was active in the Family and Teen ASP.

Jim has been part of the St. Vincent de Paul Society here for many years.  As a member of both St. Vincent de Paul and active in the Appalachian Service Project (ASP), Jim reviewed every ASP local service project for eligibility of receiving a St. Vincent de Paul grant to cover the costs of the project and then took on the role of overseeing the project(s) to completion.  His guidance made it possible for many parishioners to receive assistance.  Like Marla, Jim was also active with Scouts, serves as an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist, active in ASP, and has also served on the Parish Council, including a year as Chairperson.  In addition, he has worked with a local organization Faith and Fellowship, is currently completing a term on the Religious Education Board, and with his son, Jamie, serves as a 7th grade catechist in our RE program.

As a couple, they both volunteer with United Power for Action and Justice and continue to advance the mission of Social Justice in the neighborhoods of the South Side of Chicago. 

Charlaine and Patrick McAnany

In August of 1972, Ascension became the home parish of Char and Pat McAnany. The proximity of the Church to their home made it easy and convenient to engage in a variety of activities over the years and with two children, Clare and Damian, in Ascension School, there were lots of opportunities.  Through the 70’s and ‘80’s, Pat was engaged in the Adult Education Committee, the Liturgy Committee, the School Board, and the beginning of the Parish Council and start of Commissions.  In the mid-‘80’s, with Fr. Cross and other interested parishioners, the Social Justice committee was founded and Patrick has been part of that ever since, often serving as its chair and keeping the minutes of the monthly meetings.  Charlaine was (and still is) an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist since it first began here at Ascension.  She sang in the choir for 28 years and even still serves as a Daily Mass Cantor (and Daily Mass Lector).  Her extraordinary tenure as one of our sacristans (washing and ironing our altar linens) that continues to this day is a service to all members of the parish.  When Fr. Broccolo with Deacon Cliff Dienberg began the Minister of Care program, Char was one of the first to be trained, following the example of Sr. Frances Claire as she visited the sick and the homebound.  The Ministry of Praise began which involved those who were homebound to pray each day for the needs of Ascension.  Char would interview these participants and share their stories in a parish newsletter. 

As a couple, they have always been focused on Catholic Action/Peace and Justice.  As part of the Call to Action membership, they gave talks on important issues of justice.  Together they worked on the St. Martin de Porres Sharing Parish Committee collecting food for the pantry and tending the garden at home and behind the parish center growing fresh produce for the pantry. For years they worked the 2-5 am PADS shift.  Like the Schwarbers and other Ascension families, they have given time, talent and treasure to United Power for Action and Justice (UPAJ).  They have attended protest marches and rallies in Washington DC, Chicago, and Notre Dame for issues affecting social justice of all kinds: immigration, climate concerns, the death penalty, gun violence and others.  Every Friday AM they witness outside the Broadview ICE immigrant detention center, no matter the weather, meeting with others for prayer. God has gifted them with good health in these, their later years, as they continue their tireless efforts to witness the Gospel in their everyday lives.

Susie Cahill and Bill Murray

Susie Cahill and Bill Murray have been parish members since 1993, being drawn to Ascension by the strong preaching at Mass and the excellent Religious Education program in which their three adult children attended through eighth  grade. Susie has been actively involved as a volunteer in numerous capacities including:  Minister of Care for 13 years, Choir member for 15 years, Pads for 16 years, Women’s Club, teaching Religious Ed, 2 terms on Parish Council, and parish gardener for 23 years keeping the planting beds looking beautiful. Bill too has volunteered long-term with the parish Maintenance Committee for nearly 20 years bringing an engineer’s perspective to the maintenance and repair of the parish physical plant and grounds. He has also served as an adult leader for 21 years with ASP.


We invite you to share your appreciation of all three of these couples when you see them out and about.  They are all part of the heart of we who are at Ascension, and great examples of what it means to be a Catholic in the world today.