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Assumption Spotlights > Assumption Spotlights - August 2015



Assumption Spotlights - August 2015


World-Traveling Couple Komi & Awa Kane Paniah Now Call Assumption Home
By:  Jon Cipriani

The story of parishioners Awa Kane Paniah and Komi Paniah spans three different continents.  But they’re writing the current chapter right here, at Assumption. 

Awa was born and raised in France, to parents who hailed from West Africa.  After completing high school in 2008, she attended college at the Paris Institute of Political Studies, better known as Sciences Po.  As part of her schooling, she was required to study abroad in a country of her choice.  She wanted an American campus experience, so she chose to study at the University of Missouri-Columbia during the 2010-2011 school year (go Tigers!).  It was there that she met Komi, a native of Togo, who had first come to the U.S. himself in 2004. 

But the globally mobile couple weren’t quite done moving yet.  After her year at Mizzou, Awa went back to Paris to complete her master’s degree in communications.  She graduated in 2013.  Komi graduated Mizzou and them moved to Kansas City for work, before coming to Chicago in 2012.  The two reunited in Chicago, in September 2013.  They were married a year later.  Komi was raised Catholic; Awa began feeling Christ’s call to convert around this time, so she enrolled in RCIA courses here at Assumption.  She made the sacrament of confirmation on Easter 2015.  She is now interested in becoming more involved in the RCIA program to pass on her experience as a graduate to new program members who also feel the call to become Catholic.

Through fellow Assumption parishioner Jackie Hayes (see Assumption’s Spotlights, February 2015), Awa became involved in the Chicago HELP (Help Ease Local Poverty) Initiative, where she volunteers twice per month helping to serve meals to those in need and providing information on mental counseling and other health resources. 

From Togo and France to Columbia, Missouri and now Chicago: we’re glad that this leg of Komi and Awa’s journey brought them to our Assumption community. 


Heidi Hornsby and John Durso
By:  Lynne Japp

John is a born and bred Chicagoan and loves living in the city. In fact, he has never lived anywhere else. He was born on the Southside (St. Thomas More Parish for those who know that one's parish defines a Southsider), received all his schooling in this city and graduated from Loyola Law School. His life's work has been as an attorney representing religious orders and not-for-profit healthcare organizations that run hospitals and nursing homes. Some of his clients include Catholic Charities, Little Sisters of the Poor (Heidi lovingly calls him a "nun magnet"), the Archdiocese of Chicago and other dioceses.  Early in his career he represented the Servites in a dispute involving a seminary they owned in Ireland (and won the case).

Heidi, on the other hand, is a country girl from Morris, Illinois. She was raised in an entrepreneurial family that ran a chain of stores that were eventually sold to the Walton family. She grew up on the family farm, which she still owns, where they raised Holstein cattle and she raised horses.  She thinks she'd like to return to live on her farm, but has yet to convince John to leave the city. Heidi first went to work in advertising in Joliet, then fulfilled her dream of living in the big city and moved to Chicago. She has since worked in advertising and marketing for CLTV Tribune Broadcasting, CBS Radio, Comcast, the Clare and Montgomery Place. She is now the Marketing Consultant for Chicago Help Initiative and is a regular volunteer there during their Wednesday night dinners.

Heidi and John met on a blind date arranged by friends and made an instant connection due, in part, to their mutual love of all things Chicago sports-related (Bulls, Bears, Blackhawks, Sox -for John, and Cubs -for Heidi). They dated for several years until, in 2012, John suffered a major health setback and was near death. Heidi left her career to be at John's bedside while he was in the hospital and then rehab for six months. John  says that, every day he'd say to the doctors, "Tell me what I need to do to get well so I can ask Heidi to marry me." Although Heidi was John's healthcare proxy, they appreciated what a difference not being married made in her ability to be informed about what was going on with John's care. Nearly a year to the day after John fell ill they were married at Holy Name Cathedral where they were members.

Although they were married there, the Cathedral never felt like home to them, so they started parish shopping and found Assumption where they felt an immediate affinity. They love to listen to Fr. Joe's homilies and Heidi says the church has a small-town feel that reminds her of her old parish in Morris. Until she convinces John to make the move to the country, it looks like we'll be seeing Heidi and John in the pews of Assumption.


Our Annual August Homecoming Picnic – Honoring Feast of the Assumption
By: Susan Gold

Our Annual Homecoming Picnic was held on Sunday afternoon, August 9th in front of the church on Illinois Street.  The street was closed to traffic and the big tents were set up very early in the morning and outfitted with tables and chairs and the cooking grills.  The weather reporters were all predicting rain in the middle of the day but it had never rained on this picnic in the last 7 years and I knew it wouldn’t rain this year either until maybe the tents came down.  And I was right, it was a beautiful day, not too hot and not so much sun that people felt the need to go into the church hall, which was also set up for guests.  The staff from Gene & Georgetti’s arrived about 10:30 with all the food and drinks and began preparing the feast.  They are a wonderful group and they enjoy this day as much as we do.  Tony Durpetti, the owner of G&G, is always on hand to lend his support and enjoy the day reminiscing of his childhood days when he lived on the block in his parents’ home across from Assumption.  How the neighborhood has changed.  After a brilliant special mass and homily, Fr. Joe blessed everyone and the food and then Jack Foy struck up the band and the festivities began promptly at 1:00. 

We had desserts by the dozen thanks to our generous parishioners. Our own John Escola entertained throughout the afternoon accompanied by Jack’s band of merry men.  By 4:00 it was over and time to clean up and pack up the tents until the next time, which will be next August 15th. 


The full story in pictures is available here