by Dorothy Jaskey
For the past 100 years St. Isidore Parish has had 10 pastors. As shepherds of
the St. Isidore flock, according to Canon Law they were called to share the
ministry of Christ by teaching and sanctifying their parishioners.
1920 – 1955
Fr. John Wester
Fr. John Wester was appointed the first pastor in 1920. He formerly was the assistant at St. John the Baptist Church (Winfield). He spearheaded the building of the church/school building.
Fr. John Ott
With the retirement in 1925 of Fr. Wester, coming from St. Liborius Church (Steger) as their assistant, Fr. John Ott became the second pastor. He was born in Bavaria and attended Pontifical College Josephinum in Ohio (which trained priests to serve the German immigrants). Fr. Ott was responsible for the building of the rectory and the founding of churches St. Walter (Roselle) and St. Peter Damian (Bartlett). Retiring, after 30 years, to Minnesota, he died at the age of 79 and is buried in the St. Isidore cemetery.
1955 – 1977
Fr. John Klaes
Our next shepherd was Fr. John Klaes. (Marie Kylander, the first baby baptized at St. Isidore, remembers that the youngsters thought all priests were named “Fr. John”). Born in Germany and ordained in Teutopolis, IL, he served the parish from 1955 to 1977 when he retired to Woodruff, WI. Fr. Klaes was nicknamed “boom boom” because he hunted pheasants with his shotgun from the porch of the rectory. Under his direction a new school
building was built in 1964. He died in August 1982.
1978 – 1989
Fr. Anthony DeFilippis
Fr. Art Maher
Fr. Anthony DeFilippis was appointed the next pastor and during his one-year tenure he had the church redecorated and more masses were added.
For health reasons, Fr. DeFilippis had to resign and Fr. Arthur Maher was named the fifth pastor in 1978. Within two years the congregation tripled in size and the Multi-purpose Church was built. Today Fr. Maher resides in Glen Ellyn.
Fr. Henry Slade
For a month, Fr. Carmen Caruso served as administrator, until Fr. Henry Slade arrived in April, 1982. He served as pastor for nine years. The expansion of the school building and the addition to the rectory for administrative offices were among his accomplishments.
1990 – 2002
Fr. Joel Fortier
In 1990 Fr. Tony Ross was appointed administrator for six months until Fr. Joel Fortier was installed as the seventh pastor. A native of Kankakee of French Canadian parents, he was reared in a home steeped with Catholic spirituality and practices. Before entering the seminary, he studied at the University of Illinois. He was transferred to St. Thomas the Apostle Church in 2002 to become their pastor. During his twelve year tenure here, the parish grew to over 22,000 parishioners. “St Isidore is more like a town than a parish”, he would say. He retired from the Naperville parish and today resides in Michigan; he does help out at parishes when needed. The
Ministry Center was completed, the renovation of the multi-purpose Church into our present Church with handicap accessibility and the addition of the
Eucharistic Chapel were all Fr. Joel’s legacy.
2002 – today
Fr. Anthony Taschetta
In 2002 Fr. Anthony Taschetta was assigned as pastor and served till 2008 when he became pastor at Mary Queen of Heaven Church. He retired from the Elmhurst parish and today lives in Wheaton and keeps active as a charismatic speaker at various parishes. Born in Chicago, he considers Wheaton his home. He was a public schooler; while attending Wheaton High School, he started participating in daily mass at St. Michael Church. Benedictine seminaries in Conception, Missouri and Saint Meinrad, IN were
among his religious training grounds. Fr. Tony came to us from St. Theresa Church (Kankakee). He expanded our youth ministries and initiated our capital fundraising campaign.
Fr. Gerald Simonelli
Growing up on the northside of Chicago and later Joliet and Bolingbrook. Fr. Gerald Simonelli was our ninth pastor. Today he resides in Chicago.
Fr. Jim Murphy
Fr. Dennis Paul served as administrator until Fr. James Murphy became our current shepherd in 2010. Among his many endeavors were making the Perpetual Adoration Chapel a reality, a columbarium was built in the cemetery, Connect Youth Ministries was moved into the renovated chapel building and the parking lot was improved. Prior to joining the St. Isidore flock, he was pastor at Immaculate Conception Church/High School and has been associated with St. Francis High School since 1983 through sacramental celebrations, liturgies and KAIROS retreats. His family comes from St. John the Baptist Church, Winfield. His BA is from Benedictine University, MDiv from Meinrad School of Theology, with additional studies at Mercy Center in Burlingame, CA and Creighton University, Omaha. He taught classes and served as Associate Dean of Formation and Spiritual Director at Mundelein Seminary. His litany of ministries includes Engaged Encounter and he currently serves on the Boards of St. Francis High School, Wheaton and LaSalle Manor Retreat Center, Plano.
Our roots are indeed deep and still spreading, thanks to the shepherds who have led us!