Assumption Catholic Church
323 West Illinois Street - Chicago IL 60654
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Assumption Spotlights > Assumption Spotlights - October 2017



Assumption Spotlights - October 2017


By Susan Gold

Denise and Al Sutherland lived in the western suburbs but enjoyed weekends in the City at their condo in Streeterville.  One of their three children, Kristen, started planning her August, 2013 wedding at Assumption and Denise and Al became familiar with the parish. They enjoyed the strong sense of community at Assumption and the hospitality the congregation extends to its weekend visitors. They became active members when they moved downtown full time in 2015.

In her suburban parish, Denise had been very active serving as a Minister of the Eucharist, working with the homeless in a transitional housing ministry and teaching in religious education programs.  Together Denise and Al also co-taught high school Confirmation classes; so it was a natural when they joined Assumption that Denise volunteered to be an EME here and recruited Al to join her. They serve mainly at the 9:00 Sunday morning Mass.

As time went on and she became friends with other parishioners and got to know Fr. Joe, Denise started to become more involved with other Assumption ministries.  She is a Lector and a facilitator in the RCIA program.  She volunteers every Wednesday with the Chicago Help Initiative ( teaching chair yoga to the CHI dinner guests that have joined her 3:00 class.  Her enthusiasm doesn’t stop with Assumption ministries. She is also participating in a spiritual direction internship program at the Claret Center in Hyde Park and will be a contributing writer for the Profiles in Catholicism website (  Al works full time as the Chief Administration Officer for a Canadian based restoration contractor.  In his spare time, he enjoys his family, cooking and sports.

Denise was born and raised in the Brighton Park neighborhood on the southwest side of Chicago.  Al, born and raised in Romeo, Michigan, moved to Chicago in 1979 after graduation from Michigan State University.  They met, fell in love and have been married 35 years.  They have three married children (two daughters, Kristen and Jackie, one son, Douglas) and five grandchildren who range in age from 1 month to 18 months old.  To accommodate the sudden rapid growth of their family, Denise and Al recently moved from their condo and re-expanded into a single family home in Lakeview.  Now they can enjoy grandparent duties for all the children at once if need be. 

In the spirit of being together as a family for an important event, Denise and Al requested that their three youngest grandchildren be baptized together at Assumption and their children agreed.  On July 1, 2017 after the 12:15 Mass, Fr. Joe presided over a triple baptism celebration of their twin grandsons, Leonardo Michele and Niccolo Alessandro along with their beautiful granddaughter Aria Grace, who are all pictured in the photos below along with their parents.

It is truly a blessing for Assumption and our congregation to be able to welcome newborn children of parishioners and their extended families through the sacrament of Baptism.  When a Baptism is held during a Sunday Mass, the prayers and love for this new child are immensely felt by all in attendance and not just the Mother and Father.  Thank you to all who love Assumption and want to bring their families here from the time of birth.  God Bless the children.

Ryan DiLeonardi, Jackie, Denise, Francesco,  Al, Kristen, Aria Grace, twins Niccolo and Leonardo

Kristen, Aria Grace,Denise 

Denise, Jackie, Francesco, Al and the twins