Rev. Leonard Sudlik
Born and raised in Buffalo, NY, Fr. Len has been a priest since 1976. His family is of Polish descent. He has three siblings, one of which is also a priest. Prior to being the Pastor of St. Robert’s in Ada, he led the parishes of Immaculate Heart of Mary and Holy Spirit in Grand Rapids, and St. Mary’s in Spring Lake. In 1995 he made the transition from being an Oblate of Mary Immaculate (missionary priest) to a diocesan priest. Shepherding large parishes is to his liking; he values being involved with the people of God and their ministries. He particularly enjoys the challenge of being a skilled homilist and never met a mic he didn’t like. Golf proves to be a love-hate relationship and he tries to play once a week during the summer. His cat is named Matilda and he likes to tell people that she is the blonde in his life. He doesn’t seem to vacation too often, but does enjoy serving as a cruise chaplain for Holland America.
Sr. Ann Michael Farnsworth, OP
Pastoral Care Minister
I am a Grand Rapids Dominican sister and have been on the St. Robert’s staff since August of 1997. Prior to joining the staff here I taught middle grades for 26 years in a number of parishes here in Michigan as well as northern New Mexico. After a sabbatical study year in St. Louis, MO I did 5 years of parish work at IHM parish before joining the staff here. I recruit, train, and schedule parish volunteers to take communion to the 9 different facilities where our parish provides Catholic chaplaincy. I also coordinate the Bereavement Ministry in the parish, visit our parish members who are hospitalized or homebound, facilitate Grief Support Groups several times yearly, and act as staff liason with the heads of several Christian service outreach groups within the parish. I am a dog lover who enjoys reading, scrapbooking, and garage sales. J
Pastoral Associate for Faith Formation; Marriage Preparation & Christian Initiation
As Pastoral Associate for Faith Formation, Teri directs the planning and development of all parish catechetical processes, including the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, Baptism and Marriage Preparation, Adult Faith Formation and Bible study. She holds Bachelor’s degrees in Theology and Sociology from Aquinas College, Grand Rapids, and a Master’s in Pastoral Theology from St Mary-of-the-Woods College, Terre Haute, Indiana. Teri’s top 5 strengths are Learner, Input, Intellection, Adaptability, and Connectedness. Her husband, Deacon Jeff Burns, is Pastoral Associate at St Bartholomew Parish in Newaygo. They have two adult daughters and a 4-year-old grandson. She enjoys reading, writing, walking, and is the author of www.CatholicFamilyFaith.com. You may also connect with her on Facebook.
Pastoral Associate for High School Ministries
My responsibilities are, as my title indicates, to minister to the high school youth of the parish. To that end, I plan and execute events and retreats which focus on formation, justice, and spirituality aimed at young people in grades 9-12. I have a special interest in Ignatian Spirituality and have brought the Examen here to St. Robert’s. I enjoy traveling, cooking, and reading.
Pastoral Associate for Middle School Ministries
Christine completed her major in Theology from Aquinas College in 2010. She and her husband Ryan have two children Aleisha and Jacob. Christine coordinates the faith formation and youth ministry year for grades 6-8, catechist formation and recruitment, VBS student volunteers, Confirmation. She is the parish World Youth Day Coordinator and Diocesan presenter for “Strong Catholic Families, Strong Catholic Youth”. She also collaborates with other staff members regarding social events throughout the year. Christine enjoys spending time with her family, reading, volleyball and softball.
Pastoral Associate for Elementary Ministries
Jolana graduated from CMU in ‘86 with her BA in Applied Arts/Interior Design, married in ‘89 at St. Robert to Eric. She has two children, Jack and Lexi. God had a different plan for her life other than Interior Design, and she came to work for St. Robert in August, 2004. Jolana coordinates faith formation for grades 1-5, catechist recruitment and formation, Vacation Bible School, Christmas Pageant, First Reconciliation and First Communion. She has also developed Grandparents Camp and the OWLS group. In collaboration with other staff members, she is planning a Women’s Evening by Candlelight and a Summer Kids Art Camp. One of the best things about her work is all the wonderful volunteers she has gotten to know and work with over the years. In her spare time she enjoys reading, decorating, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.
Pastoral Associate for Early Childhood Ministries
Born, raised and educated "south of the Michigan border" [Ohio] as the first in a happy family of 8 children. After receiving degrees in nursing and in education, Karen practiced at Western Reserve University Hospitals then did research at Ohio State. After marrying Steve [first of 11 children!] they moved to Grand Rapids where Karen taught at GVSU - before being blessed with 5 children. Members of St. Robert's since 1979, Karen took the position as Early Childhood Coordinator in 2000. Currently she recruits staffing for and manages all aspects of the Sunday Morning program for preschoolers and assists the catechists in providing quality Faith based materials to enhance this learning opportunity for the youngest in our parish. Other interests include biking, hiking, camping, learning and spending as much time as possible with my 6 local grandchildren [3 others are in Alaska and New Zealand!] - and finding God in all the people, places and beauty around us!
Faith Formation Office
Paula Benjamin and Rose Ennis
Paula (pictured left) has been a member of St. Robert Parish since 1982 and has worked part time in the Faith Formation office since 2000. Her duties include answering questions from parishioners and helping them register for their children’s classes, assisting catechists with classroom needs, and helping the other Faith Formation staff with their programming. She enjoys the unexpected events that make up each day. She has 3 sons who live in Seattle, NYC and Lowell. Their families are a favorite source of activities as well as needlework, reading, walking, and yoga. She also coordinates the annual Adopt-a-Family program.
Rose (pictured right) assists with Faith Formation Registration, prepares FF program information, prepares classrooms, Help to prepare Adult Bible Study, name tags and book orders etc., Help the Pastoral Associates prepare for Faith Formation, Copy machine for Faith Formation Program, Mail Box distribution, Preparing class material, File and Data Entry on computer or hard copies, Answer Questions on Program (phone or email), Help with Vacation Bible School Program. I have been a member of St. Roberts for over 30 years. In that time I have always been involved in the Faith Formation Programs. I enjoy teaching and reading to children. I get to practice a lot more now that I have 7 grandchildren. I have retired from teaching here at St. Roberts and at Ada Village Preschool. I enjoy meeting families and helping them here with Faith Formation. This job is ideal to be able to share and allowing me to spend time with my husband. We both have enjoyed being involved in St. Roberts in the Music Program. In our future we plan to travel and spend time up north on the lake at our cottage.
Director of Music
I am very blessed to direct and accompany 2 children's choirs, our adult choir, resurrection choir, teen choir and 2 handbell choirs. You will see me busy in my office throughout the week planning and organizing music, liturgies, mass sheets and spending time practicing my passions: organ and piano. I have been married to my husband Jim for 26 years and we have 3 children Kathryn, Elizabeth, my nephew Michael, and a few pets. As president of the Orchestra Boosters at FH Central High School and having teenagers, I am very involved with the youth and also enjoy reading, traveling, fishing, cooking, yoga and fitness and spending time with my family.
As the Business Manager, my responsibilities include: preparing and monitoring the parish budget; processing payroll and maintaining personnel records and benefits; ensuring that all legal and diocesan regulations and procedures are followed; working closely with the Finance Council; and many other tasks related to the temporal needs of the parish (i.e. involvement in the recent office and classroom renovations). In January 2015 I will begin my 27th year working at St. Robert of Newminster. In my other life, I am a farmer’s wife, and can be found riding in a Case IH tractor as my husband plows the fields, helping with the planting of corn and soybeans, checking the fields in the summer, taking soil samples, and praying for appropriate weather from planting to harvesting!
For the past 25 years, I have been the “keeper of the data” at St. Robert’s. My duties include: bookkeeper, database administrator, IT administrator, and all things digital. I help the staff with any type of imagery presentation that they might need. I also prepare the special programs for Christmas, Easter, and Funerals. My weekends are filled with liturgical music as I am an “on-call” musician for weekend masses. I have had the privilege of playing piano and organ here at St. Robert’s as a sub. My husband and I belong to St. Charles Parish in Greenville where we coordinate the Christmas Adopt a Family Program each year.
When it comes to a warm welcome, nothing matches the smiling face of Diane Lomonaco, our Parish Secretary. Some of Diane’s responsibilities at St. Roberts include answering the phone, greeting visitors, making room reservations for all activities, and organizing baptisms. She has always lived in the Grand Rapids area and has three grown children who live in the area. Diane enjoys reading, spending time with family and friends and traveling. She is expecting her first grandchild in June of 2015.
As a Michigan native I was raised in modern day seclusion, Greenville. With no brothers, no sisters, and a natural disposition as a tinkerer; I discovered myself though a wide range of interests. Starting in the earlier years was my passion for music and the outdoors. Bicycling evolved to motorcycles, the violin evolved to the bass guitar, and a fish tank evolved into what some might call an addiction to fishing. Along the way was the desire for self-improvement. I eventually found myself in California as a Personal Trainer and Fitness Manager of the busiest 24hr Fitness on the globe. After the fast paced lifestyle of California grew exhausting I came back home to MI, to my trees, to my water, and to my fish.
After being retired eight years from General Motors I took this part-time position which includes many things from heating and plumbing maintenance to hanging Christmas lights. Outside interests include first my family, all sports especially golf, sponsoring children from Third World countries and travel.
Communications Director & Webmaster
My educational background includes business, marketing, and retail. In 1990 I converted to Catholicism and have worked for the church since 1993. The responsibilities I have at St. Robert’s include: producing the weekly bulletin, designing and maintaining the parish website, documenting parish life, managing the app and social media development. I direct parish social events including the Auction and Spring Walk. My camera is very often in hand. Say cheese! You will frequently see me at baptisms during Mass assisting Fr. Len. Penpalling, child sponsorship, my cats Winn and Dixie, and crafts are things I enjoy. I am a "Big Sister" with the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentorship program.