Parishioner Testimonials

St. Francis de Sales parishioners are always encouraged to share their personal stories and experiences with our parish community. If you have a story that you would like to share, please send an e-mail to

"Dear Father Ryan,
My son is a third grader at St. Francis. I wanted to let you know how much of an impact you've had on him from Mass every Wednesday. The lessons you teach are invaluable, and he is always telling us what he learned from you. This is our first year at St. Francis and we are thrilled to be part of the parish and school!

We also really appreciate the fact that you didn't raise tuition for the upcoming school year. With two older children at Carmel, we greatly appreciate how you continually try to make Catholic education affordable to everyone. Thank you!"

-Letter to Father Ryan, received July 2012

"Hi Father Ryan,
I'm the mother of one of the volleyball team girls that carried up offertory at 11 a.m. Mass yesterday. I just wanted to let you know that we thoroughly enjoyed your Mass and really appreciated how welcoming everyone in your parish was toward us. Your parishioners are very lucky to have such an enthusiastic priest to energize them at Mass every Sunday and to carry that loving energy with them throughout the week. We were thrilled to have found (through this website) such a nice Mass to attend while we were visiting Lake Zurich.

By the way...your blessing worked very well for them...they won all 4 games yesterday and we all had a safe trip home! Thanks again and God bless!

-Submitted June 2012

"Dear Father Ryan,
I wanted to thank you for a truly inspiring Easter Vigil last night. Listening to all the readings that were so eloquently read. The music was wonderful. We are so fortunate that so many people have volunteered to sing and play music for us to enjoy. Watching and being a part of 20 new Catholics join our parish last evening made me think that God was so happy to have new members hear His Word. My daughter and I look forward to the Easter Vigil service with the candle light procession and being a part of the Mass. This is truly a beautiful Mass. Thank you again for bringing new life to Mass."

-Josie Fongaro
Submitted April 9, 2012

"Dear Fr. Ryan,
Greetings from St. Nicholas! The family of St. Nicholas wishes you and the parishioners the very best in the new year. The Church in Ghana, particularly St. Nicholas, will forever be grateful to you all for your concern and support. The parishioners and St. Francis School (in Ghana) could not hide their joy when I informed them about the support from your side. I thank the family of St. Francis de Sales sincerely for all the donations. With prayers and blessings, I am."

-Fr. Francis Akomeah
Pastor, St. Nicholas Parish - Ghana, Africa
Submitted December 31, 2011

"I am a member of the first 1st grade class to go all the way through St. Francis. From our start in the basement of the Pastor's rectory to 8th grade graduation, it was one of the most memorable times in my life. I still remember so much about it. I'm still a fanatic about grammar. Something I learned at St. Francis. I still analyze almost everything I say trying to make it grammatically correct. Since the ever popular spelling bee, I have never forgotten how to spell "necessary." (Missed that one and had to sit down.) I live in Wisconsin now but miss the good old days..."

- Leah (Huebner) Schmecht
Submitted December 2011

"The family of Fr. Richard Valker wishes to extend their heartfelt thanks to the parishioners of St. Francis de Sales for their kind expressions of love and concern for him during his last illness. It definitely lightened his burden. May God bless each one of you."

-Ann Benge, Sister of Fr. Richard Valker
Submitted November 2011

"My family and I recently relocated to Lake Zurich from a suburban community in Connecticut. I know Christianity and Catholicism are about so much more than money, but I am tremendously impressed by the financial generosity of St. Francis's parishioners, especially compared to the parishioners in my former home. This generosity is what enables St. Francis to offer such a multitude of ministries, and makes me examine my conscience to ensure I am giving my fair share. To the generous benefactors of St. Francis, thank you for making me feel welcome in the Midwest."

- Paul Conlin
Submitted August 14, 2011

"Dear Father Ryan,

I wanted to personally thank you for meeting with me a couple months ago about returning to the Catholic Church. Participation in the Feedback Forum (from the bulletin last Sunday) is a great idea for Catholics who have been absent from the faith, giving people the freedom to be open and honest about what happened and where they are now.

I am still working through some issues on Church, but I have been attending St. Francis and feel at home in the community there."

- Cathy
Submitted July 13, 2011

"Francis and Jean Gudgeon are always to be remembered as the force behind the beginning of St. Francis de Sales of Lake Zurich in 1946. As our family transplanted from Chicago 65 years ago, our parish, St. Francis de Sales, was the stabilizing force of our lives. Jimmy, Kathy and A.J. (children of Jerry and I) were Baptized and went to school at St. Francis de Sales. For the many friends we have in the community, I am thankful. And grateful for a good Pastor, Father David F. Ryan. We are a family."

- Leda Gudgeon, daughter-in-law of Francis and Jean Gudgeon
Submitted April 19, 2011

"At some point in time and for various reasons, I drifted away from attending Mass every week. As the years marched on, it became more difficult to go back to Church. Because of my faith and upbringing, I struggled with this and the guilt, while convincing myself that I had legitimate reasons for not honoring God with my presence at Mass. Recently, some hardships cropped up that challenged my family and myself. In order to find peace amonst the financial struggles, health issues and loss of close friends, I decided to go back to my roots and use prayer as a form of relief. As I started this journey, it became clear that I needed to combine prayer with going back to Church.

When I decided to make my way back to Mass on a regular basis, I attended a couple of different churches in other towns - that were closer to my own home. In one of these many visits, I attended a Mass at St. Francis de Sales and as soon as I took a set, I immediately felt 'at home.' As it turned out, this parish, the families, and Father David Ryan, have become a joyous part of my life - probably without even realizing this. In a very short time, I've experienced peace, unity, warmth and great opportunities for growth as a member of St. Francis de Sales. I thank God at every Mass that He's not only welcomed me back to Church, but that He's also helped me find a home where I can continue practicing my faith for the rest of my time here on Earth. I feel blessed to have found my way back!

Thank you St. Francis de Sales for welcoming me home!"

- Sue
Submitted April 6, 2011