Lesa Wackerle

Office Assistant/Bulletin Editor

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Lesa Wackerle has worked at Saint Thomas since June of 2019. Lesa enjoys creating many different things, by hand or on the computer. Lesa has friendships with a variety of saints – as a former homeschool Mom, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton is her favorite. Saint George is also a favorite because both Lesa’s husband and son are very involved in the Boy Scouts of America. When Lesa isn’t working, she enjoys getting coffee with her daughter, interacting with members of American Heritage Girls, reading, camping and being outside.

Sam Lindgren

Youth Minister

+1-616-459-4662 ext.1212 Email Me

Sam Lindgren is a native of Grand Rapids. Saints Peter and Paul Church on the west side has been his home parish for almost 20 years. It was there under the guidance of Fr. Den Morrow (and largely his parents) that he developed his appreciation for the Catholic Faith.

With a desire to learn more about the Faith and to grow in personal formation, he attended a small Catholic liberal arts school in Ontario Canada called Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College and studied Philosophy and Theology and other sciences. He graduated in 2020 with a Bachelor of Catholic Studies.
He enjoys being outdoors and experiencing God’s beautiful creation. He especially likes camping, canoeing, star gazing, and snowboarding.

Deacon Dean Vernon

Deacon

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Deacon Dean Vernon has been married to Lori Lundell Vernon since June 28, 1986. They have seven children and many grandchildren. His favorite saint is Saint Benedict from which he has adopted Benedictine spirituality. He was ordained to the diaconate on June 21, 2017. He consecrated his life to Jesus through Mary in January of 2018 and is considered to be a Marian Deacon.

Deacon Dean is a passionate public speaker who has a heart for evangelism. He has many favorite Bible verses, but Romans 16:19, “Be excellent at what is good, and innocent of evil” is one of his top favorites. He has been employed as a School Psychologist for Grand Rapids Public Schools since August 1988.

Deacon Dennis Williams

Retired Deacon

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A graduate of Saint Thomas, Catholic Central, and Aquinas College, Dennis (“Denny”) has been a deacon and parishioner at Saint Thomas for over 50 years. He has been married to Suzanne Haas Williams since 1984, has four children and four grandchildren. Denny retired from the Williams Group, Inc., in 2002 after founding it in 1978. There he served as creative director, writer, and account executive. His community service includes the Peace Corps (Guatemala, 1965-1967), the Grand Rapids Urban League (1980-1984), Heart of West Michigan United Way (1988-1992), and the Dominican Center at Marywood (1998-2004). He has served as the executive director for Epilogos Charities and held various volunteer positions for the Diocese of Grand Rapids. Denny has served on the board of directors for the Inner City Christian Federation and on the board of trustees of Aquinas College.

Lori Vernon

Liturgist

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Lori Vernon answered God’s call to serve in the ministry of Liturgist for Saint Thomas parish in 2014. She has been Catholic since just before her marriage to Dean Vernon, our Deacon, in 1986, and is incredibly grateful for the blessing of the sacraments and richness of Catholic spirituality. While in college Lori was the large group coordinator and then president for an ecumenical campus ministry, and was always seeking speakers, volunteers and new members. She has been involved in various ministries in her past parish, taught high school Mathematics, and then Lori and Dean answered God’s call to homeschool their children. Later Dean was called to become a Deacon, and they trained together and learned a great deal more about faith and service. In 2004, Dean was assigned to Saint Thomas for his Deacon Internship and the Vernon family moved join the parish. They have felt blessed to stay and call this their home parish.

 

As the Saint Thomas Liturgist, Lori has the honor of prayerfully helping to connect parishioners with the ministries involved Liturgy and Communion. She is incredibly grateful for this privilege, and for the joy of working with the generous volunteers currently sharing their gifts with Saint Thomas!

Pam Strobel

Parish Life Coordinator

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Pam Strobel joined the Saint Thomas staff as the Parish Life Coordinator in August 2020 after being a member of the Parish since 1988. She and her husband, Steve, have raised their seven children at Saint Thomas and have been actively involved in various ministries through the years: cantor, lector, choir member, Liturgy Commission, Homebound Ministry, and Challenge Girls’ Club. Pam and Steve have faithfully directed Vacation Bible School since 2001, engaging thousands of students and volunteers over the years in this wonderful ministry to the parish.

After receiving an undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame and a Master’s Degree from Michigan State University, Pam was employed at Aquinas College as the Director of Residence Life, before being called to homeschool her children.

Pam feels extremely blessed to serve the Saint Thomas community and to join the parish staff, utilizing her skills and past experiences in promoting and strengthening parish life.

Deacon Jim Thorndill

Emeritus Retired Deacon

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Jim is currently designated as an Emeritus Retired Deacon. He graduated from Grand Rapids Community College, with an Associate’s degree in business, received a Bachelor degree of Science from Aquinas College in 1977, and a Bachelor’s degree in Theology in 2007. He and his wife, Diane, entered the diaconate program in 1999 and was ordained by Bishop Walter Hurley on February 11, 2006. During his ministry at Saint Thomas the Apostle Parish, he served as the spiritual assistant for the Third Order Franciscans, held Life in the Spirit seminars, hosted a local television show in the West Michigan area called Catholic Forum, engaged as a guest host and the Development Director of Holy Family Radio, and served as an on-call chaplain at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Hospital.

Jim and Diane’s greatest joy is to be with their children and grandchildren, spending holidays, birthdays and special events. They live in Heritage Hills, in a home which they have totally refurbished. They both love the hands-on work and the dedication of finishing a project and seeing the fruits of their labor.

In 2014, Jim completed studies at Manresa, a Jesuit retreat house and education Center in Bloomfield Hills, and was commissioned as a spiritual director, offering his services to the Diocese of Grand Rapids.

Pauline Peterson

Parish Bookkeeper

+1-616-459-4662 ext.1204 Email Me

Pauline began working at Saint Thomas in the Fall of 2016, after relocating to Grand Rapids from Metro Detroit. She held a similar position in her former parish and feels truly blessed to be a part of the Saint Thomas community.

Pauline is married to Chris and they have two daughters, one son, and a handful of beautiful grandchildren.

 

Kathy Proulx

Assistant Director of Music Ministry

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Kathy, and her husband Greg, have been doing music ministry at Saint Thomas the Apostle Parish since August of 1983! She is a graduate of Catholic Central and Aquinas College. Kathy has been a music teacher at Saint Thomas since 1991 and has four sons. Living in the Eastown area, you can frequently see Kathy walking her dog around the neighborhood any day of the week! She enjoys playing with her grandchildren, camping, hiking, swimming, and just about anything outdoors.

Patti Reynolds

Director of Faith Formation

+1-616-459-4662 ext.1209 Email Me

Greetings Good People – May the Lord give you peace!

It is truly an honor and a privilege for Patti to serve you as the Director of Faith Formation. Saint Thomas the Apostle has been her home parish since 1986. She has been blessed to serve both as a volunteer in the School and in the Parish and as a member of the Parish Staff since 2001. Currently, she oversees the Monday Night Religious Education programs, children’s Sacramental preparations and retreat days, the Sunday School program, Vacation Bible School, the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and Children) Process, as well as the Adult Faith Formation opportunities of the Parish. Patti has four adult children; Katy, Patrick, Betsy, and Trisha who have all attended Saint Thomas the Apostle School and Catholic Central High School, and who, along with their spouses, and their children, are beautiful inside and out!

Patti has a vocation as a professed member of the Third Order-Secular Franciscans journeying alongside Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi and with many Franciscan friends in Fraternity, locally, regionally, and nationally. Baptized and raised in the United Methodist Church, Patti came into the Catholic Church when she was 19. Her love of the Lord, her family, and Franciscan Spirituality are most important to her.