Assumption Catholic Church
323 West Illinois Street - Chicago IL 60654
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A River North Couple Shares their Many Talents with Assumption
By John Cipriani

If you’re a regular Assumption parishioner, or even if you’ve just come once or twice as a visitor at some point, chances are that you’ve seen (and heard) James Dion and Stefania Pinton.  This couple—a partnership in every sense of the word—have been sharing their time and talents in many Assumption ministries over the past thirteen years.
Stefania’s story began in Padua, Italy, where she was born, raised, and studied foreign languages (she knows four) and literature.  She moved to Toronto in 1995, where she was director of international training and development for the Bata shoe company.  While living in Toronto, she met Jim, a Chicago native who grew up in the Back of the Yards neighborhood just a few miles from Assumption.  Jim’s background is also in retail: he was a senior consultant at the J.C. Williams Group, a marketing consulting firm. Since 1996, he has been the founder and President of Dionco, through which he has become an internationally known consultant, speaker, trainer, and author on running retail businesses.  Since 2002, Stefania has been a partner and sought-after retail consultant at Dionco as well, advising clients on all aspects of the retail industry including human resources management consulting, instructional material design and development, retail and consumer trends reviews as well as retail best practices research and market studies.   Together, Jim and Stefania help retail companies large and small around the world.
Jim and Stefania were married civilly in 2002 and have been going to Assumption since that same year.  They loved the inclusive, welcoming atmosphere they found here. Since they live within walking distance in River North, they are part of the Assumption community in more ways than one, and they have been inspired to contribute to that community in a number of ways. For over ten years, Stefania has sung in the choir, and for the past eight years Jim has been a lector. Most recently, they both started helping in the Sunday hospitality ministry. They didn’t even slack off at their own church wedding “validation” ceremony in 2011, performed at Assumption by Fr. Joe during a 10:30 Mass: Stefania sang during the Mass, and Jim lectored! That has made them so much more a part of the parish—sharing Eucharist together and becoming Ministers of the Eucharist themselves. 
Family is important to James and Stefania as well: James has a son and daughter from a previous marriage, Julie, a marketing executive here in Chicago, and Jamie, a buyer who lives in Pittsburgh.   They love spending time with their grandson, Jack. 
Jim and Stefania’s inspiring service in so many ministries is their way of giving back to the Assumption community that they love.   Through Assumption, they’ve met many visitors to the parish, and made many friends who share their Catholic faith and values.  Through their service, they hope to do what they can to keep  the same welcoming environment that they found when they began coming here.  Jim and Stefania set a wonderful example for those of us who want to find ways to get involved and share our talents here at Assumption.