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Assumption Spotlights > Assumption Spotlights - May 2016



Assumption Spotlights - May 2016



By Jon Cipriani

If you haven’t yet met the Assumption parishioners we’re Spotlighting this week, you’ve probably heard at least one of them: Alfred Tam is the newest member of Assumption's choir, having joined this past fall.  Born and raised in Cleveland, Alfred graduated Northwestern with a Bachelor's in Biological Sciences and followed that up with a J.D., Magna Cum Laude.  He’s been a River North resident since 2009.  Shortly after graduating law school, Alfred was a Public Interest Law Initiative Fellow at DePaul University’s Asylum and Immigration Clinic.  Since 2015, he has been an associate in the Technology and Intellectual Property Transactions practice group of global law firm Kirkland & Ellis.

Yuri Yoon Tam is a Korean native who grew up in China.  If you see her at mass, you can strike up a conversation in any of the four languages she speaks: English, Korean, Chinese, or Japanese.  She received her Bachelor of Applied Science in computer science from Dalian University in China, and went on to obtain Masters Degrees in business, finance, and human resources from Peking University, Fordham, and DePaul.  She now works in the admissions office at DePaul.

Alfred and Yuri met through mutual friends in 2010, while he was visiting China.  Yuri moved to Chicago permanently in March 2012, and she and Alfred were married right here at Assumption in April 2013.  They visited several other local churches, but decided to make Assumption their home parish because of the welcoming atmosphere and the sense of community. 

Making the sacraments at Assumption is a family affair for the Tams.  While they were dating, Yuri would accompany Alfred to Mass here, and not born a Catholic, she ultimately decided to go through the Assumption RCIA program to be confirmed in the Church.  Yuri loved the program and still enjoys going to each Easter vigil to see the new group of catechumens affirm their Catholic faith.  Baby Alice, now sixteen months old and the unofficial mascot of the Assumption choir, was baptized here by Father Joe in May 2015.

When then they’re not at Mass, Alfred and Yuri help the Chicago community by donating clothes and      supporting their local Street Wise magazine vendor.  This young family is an inspiration to all of us who are seeking ways to be more involved here at Assumption.


By Susan C. Gold

While intermittently attending weekday noon mass I noticed that the same woman served as lector each time I was there.  After a few times I approached her to say hello and introduce myself.  I was interested to know who she was and if she was part of our Lector Ministry.  That’s how I met Francine Davis.

A little background:  Francine’s mother’s family emigrated to New York from Bermuda.  Why would they do that you ask, Francine has been baffled by that too.  They were not Catholic but after moving to NYC her mother’s older sister became very interested in Catholicism and went to Mass bringing her younger sister along (Francine’s mother).  Eventually they converted and brought their own children up with a strong Catholic faith.   Fast forward:  Francine is married with a son and daughter and 15 years ago work opportunities brought them from Manhattan to Chicago--actually, Aurora where it borders Plainfield and Naperville and the view from her window is cornfields. 

Francine, missing a big city, decided to take a job in downtown Chicago despite the long commute.  She received her paralegal certification from DePaul and worked for a law firm located in the AON Center on Randolph across from Grant Park.  She spent her lunch hours taking walks and eventually ending up at the Art Institute where she finds a magnificent painting of Jesus in a second floor gallery.  A perfect place for meditation.  She also discovered the Pauline Book Store on Michigan Avenue and joined a bible study group calling themselves The Group in the Loop (part of the Jesus Youth movement).  Francine has a beautiful way of joining her faith with friends.  When the law firm moved to West Wacker Drive about five or six years ago, she was too far to continue her usual lunchtime activities.  So Francine started to take walks in the new area and saw Assumption Church and decided to stop in.  She felt immediately at home and began to come every day to the noon mass. 

On one of those days Fr. Brown was about to start mass and asked if someone could come up and assist him because there wasn’t a Lector or Eucharistic Minister that day; and, perhaps someone would be interested in learning how to be either.  Francine volunteered and found a niche.  She took Fr. Brown’s challenge as though it was meant just for her and she became a trained Lector and Eucharistic Minister, not through Assumption but her parish in Aurora where she is an EME but not a Lector.  It wasn’t for another year that her help was needed again at the noon Mass.  The regular lector had been in a very serious accident and was unable to do it for some time; so Francine volunteered and has been doing it nearly every weekday since.  The only time she is not there is on every other Wednesday because that’s when she gets allergy shots.  Francine has a Golden Retriever that she loves, Wrylie (he spells it with a “W” for his wry sense of humor) and she is very allergic to him so she endures the shots so they can live together.

Francine has become part of the Assumption community and knows those that attend her mass.  She says it’s very special to be greeted by these new friends when she sees them in the neighborhood.  She also assists Fr. Joe around the altar before and after mass.  She would love to join one of our ministries but lives too far away.  Francine read daily with her son until he was 13 years old.  They read the entire Lord of The Rings trilogy aloud, each taking a character.  She says she gets the similar enrichment from reading the scriptures at Mass, just a deeper understanding and fascination.  Francine has a very strong faith and believes in a Catholic education. Both her son, Brandon, and daughter, Quinn, attended Catholic schools and colleges here and on the East Coast. 

A hilarious coincidence is that in writing this article I found out that Francine and Alfred Tam (previous story) are colleagues and work down the hall from each other at Kirkland & Ellis Law Firm.  I had no idea until she read a draft of Spotlights and told me about the coincidence of independently including them both in this month. They had only recently found out about their mutual connections to Assumption.  The Holy Spirit is always working.

While most of us attend mass at Assumption on weekends and have formed friendships and found a community amongst others in attendance or involved in one of our ministries, there is so much more we can experience by stepping out of our routines.  I feel so lucky to have met Francine and learn all about her.  Assumption is a blessed community of many people, some weekend and others weekday but all contributing to make us one home.  Francine Davis is someone you should meet.

Got a great idea of someone to Spotlight?  Please send an email to


Assumption Book Group has chosen an entertaining read for the summer. The book is "God is My Broker" by Christopher Buckley and John Tierney. The next meeting date is Wednesday, August 3 from 6:30-8:00 pm. We invite you to read the book and join us in what should be a lively discussion! For those of you who don't finish reading the book, please feel free to join us for an evening of fellowship. If you have any questions contact Michelle VanAlstyne at (248)496-0384 or


The Chicago Help Initiative, an Assumption ministry, is holding its annual fundraiser on Tuesday, June 7th, 5:30-8:30 pm at The Montgomery Club, 500 W. Superior.  This is an exciting event featuring 15 of the crème de la crème of Chicago’s restaurants serving delicious food and an open bar.  The Master of Ceremonies this year is Assumption’s own Scott Stantis, humorist, author, syndicated political cartoonist.  The entertainment is The Piano Guy, Michael Stoinski, who sings and plays at the infamous Redhead Bar.  There is also an exciting silent auction.

It’s not too late to get your tickets and treat yourself to a fabulous party and at the same time supporting CHI to feed the poverty stricken and help them with life’s difficulties.  Tickets can be purchased on line  Please come!