Father Patrick Kalich
Our Pastor is Father Patrick Kalich. He was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania in 1949 to Martin and Bridget. Just a few years later his family relocated to the Midwest and settled in Hammond, Indiana. His family attended Saint John Bosco Church and he attended Saint John Bosco School. Later he attended Bishop Noll Institute, Class of 1967. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics from Saint Joseph’s College and a Master’s Degree in Counseling from Purdue University. He served at Bishop Noll Institute for twenty years (1970 – 1990) as teacher, counselor, Director of Student Services, and Campus Minister.
He enrolled as a seminarian at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake, Mundelein Seminary in 1990, completed Clinical Pastoral Education at Stanford University Medical Center in 1993, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1994.
His has served at Saint Mary’s Church, Nativity of Our Savior Church (Portage) and Andrean High School (Merrillville). A joy in his life is serving the people of Saint Mary’s as priest.
Sister Joanne Marie Schutz, SSCM
Our Pastoral Associate is Sister Joanne Marie Schutz, SSCM. She was born to Herb and Rachel (Ornelas) Schutz in Gary, Indiana and was baptized at Holy Angels Cathedral in 1949. She attended Saints Peter and Paul School and Andrean High School. She left home and the Gary Diocese to explore her call to religious life with the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius. Her discovery led her to final profession in 1976.
Her professional preparation includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Alvernia University in Reading, Pennsylvania; a Reading Specialist Degree from Bloomsburg University; and a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University in Chicago. She was certified as a Pastoral Associate in the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1997.
Sister Joanne Marie has served as Teacher, Vocation Director and Parish Pastoral Minister. She finds it a joy to be “back home” after thirty-nine years of ministry in five diocese/nine parishes. She hopes that what she has received as gift from the people of God, she is able to give back as gift to God’s people at Saint Mary’s.
Deacon Dan Lowery
Dan Lowery was ordained a deacon on June 1, 2013. Assigned by Bishop Dale Melczek to St. Mary’s, he continues to serve as President of Calumet College of St. Joseph as well, a position he assumed on July 1, 2011.
A native of Chesterton, Dan holds degrees in history and philosophy, business administration, and public administration from Valparaiso University, Indiana University Northwest, and the University of Illinois at Chicago respectively. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in pastoral studies at Catholic Theological Union.
Dan served as a federal employee for 20 years, but has worked in higher education since 1995. He has also served as a board member with several nonprofit organizations, including Campagna Academy, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Gary, Ancilla Systems, and Lake Area United Way.
Mrs. Marian Weeks
Our Faith Formation Coordinator is Mrs. Marian Weeks. She was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania to Anthony and Anna Benyacko. She attended Saint Stephen’s Grade School, Bishop McCort High School, Calumet College, and the Diocese of Gary Ministry Formation. Marian served as teacher, Director of Religious Education and Youth Minister at Nativity of Our Savior Parish in Portage, Indiana for twenty-five years. She joined Saint Mary’s to serve as Faith Formation Coordinator in 2005.
Marian has a love for children and delights in helping them grow closer to God and to live by His Word.
Marian and her husband Dennis reside in Portage, Indiana. They are the proud parents of four children and four grandchildren.
Mrs. Lisa Casimer
Our Pastoral Minister is Lisa Casimer. Her academic achievements include a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Purdue University and a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Studies from Chicago Theological Union. Her certification as a bereavement facilitator served her well during her ten years of ministry in Hospice. Lisa’s presence at Saint Mary’s includes ministering to engaged couples preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage. She has also facilitated our Grief Support Series.
Lisa loves the opportunity to walk with couples as they journey through the Marriage Preparation process, perhaps offering them new opportunities to navigate that journey in a deep and graced way.
For more than two decades, Lisa and her husband Greg have ministered to engaged and married couples. They are proud parents of two young adults, Kevin and Grace.
Mr. L. Thomas Ruiz
Our School Principal is Mr. L. Thomas Ruiz. His professional educational career includes service as a Science Teacher, Dean of Students and Assistant Principal before Father Pat appointed him to serve as Saint Mary’s School Principal in 2006.
Mr. Ruiz loves his role as Principal of Saint Mary’s School. He has an “open door policy” that encourages students, parents and teachers to maintain open lines of communication. He is especially proud of the tremendous progress the school made to implement new technology as a tool to enhance learning.
Mr. Ruiz and is wife reside in Crown Point with their two young daughters and are parishioners at Saint Mary’s Church.
Mrs. Jan Mucha
Our Business Manager is Jan Mucha. She was born in Hammond, Indiana to Bob and Joan Hamnik. She grew up in Schererville, Indiana and was a member of St. Michael’s Parish until 1995. She is a proud product of Catholic education, having attended St. Michael’s School, Andrean High School and Calumet College of St. Joseph.
In 1986 she married her husband, Dave, and they have been blessed with 3 wonderful children. They are all graduates of St. Mary’s Catholic Community School. Their daughters, Arielle and Megan, have graduated from Andrean High School and attend Purdue University, West Lafayette. Their son, Joey, is currently a student at Andrean High School.
Prior to coming to work at St. Mary’s in 1996, Jan worked for 10 years in banking, having last served as Human Resources Director for Bank One, Merrillville. She joined St. Mary’s in 1996 as Director of Religious Education. She served in that role for 10 years, during which time she began to take on responsibility for some of the business aspects of parish life. In 2006 she became full-time Business Manager of the parish. She continues to serve as one of the Catechists for the children in our Faith Formation Program who are preparing for Confirmation.
She feels truly blessed to be able to use her business education and experience in such a special place as St. Mary’s.