Crystal Lake Parish Hosts Salesian Installation
By Pat Szpekowski, Observer Correspondent
January 31, 2019
CRYSTAL LAKE—The decision to engage in an apostolic life has true meaning for four individuals who made a commitment to dedicate themselves to the welfare of young people.  
They have chosen to accept God’s personal invitation to His service as Salesian Cooperators and to be guided by the “Salesian Spirit” example of St. John Bosco, also known as Don Bosco.
Julia Wagner of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Crystal Lake; Kelsey Borg, Christ the King, DeKalb; Stephanie Padley of Kansas; and Sue Berndt of Champaign, accepted their act of “opening oneself up to cooperating” and making the Gospel values a reality in their lives. 
They were formally inducted to their vocation as Salesian Cooperators at a Church-recognized ceremony during Mass at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish on Jan. 19, here. 
The Mass was celebrated by Father Brian Grady, pastor, with Father Thomas Dunne, SDB, the province delegate for the Cooperators; Father Thomas Brennan, SDB, of St. John Bosco Parish in Chicago; and Father Michael Mendl, SDB, of Washington, D.C.
The induction was conducted by Father Dunne; Sister Denise Sickinger, FMA, the Salesian Sisters’ delegate; Mike Hahn, the  Salesian Cooperator’s Coordinator for the St. Philip the Apostle province in Tampa, Fla; Joyce Caldwell, a Salesian Cooperator, member of St. Patrick Parish in St. Charles and coordinator on the local council;  and Elizabeth Wlodzimierski, a Salesian Cooperator and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parishioner. More than 24 current and aspiring Salesian Cooperators also attended.
Wlodzimierski serves on the local St. Philip the Apostle Salesian Cooperator Provincial Council which serves the eastern part of the United States from the Mississippi River. 
There are 252 Salesian Cooperators in 16 locations. She is a formator, communication councilor and state liaison. 
A Cooperator for four years, Wlodzimierski works with special needs children in Crystal Lake. 
“Every child is precious to me,” she said. “I wanted to dedicate myself to their welfare and help them find God.”
Three council locations in Illinois include the St. Mary Mozzarello Center at St. Patrick Parish, plus Chicago and Champaign. 
The center has 11 members from four states — Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Kansas — with eight from the Rockford Diocese; and seven parishes including St. Patrick, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and Christ the Teacher University Parish in DeKalb.
“We are a very large association of the faithful,” said Sister Sickinger. “There are over 30,000 Salesian Cooperators in 140 countries around the world. The laity, religious and clergy take the promise of the Salesian Spirit. Many are called to be a Cooperator by the example of another.” 
The Cooperators are the first group of youth ministers established by St. John Bosco in 1841.
“I have worked with kids my whole life and this seemed the right thing to do to live my faith,” said Wagner on why she aspired to become a Salesian Cooperator.
The core of the Salesian Cooperators’ commitment is to live his or her life as a good Christian and a good Catholic.
Cooperators do not work with any particular ministry, but bring the Salesian Spirit to their work place, profession, and family. 
“Some Cooperators provide their service through prayer,” adds Father Mendl. “Blessed Alexandrina da Costa, a Cooperator, lived exclusively on the Eucharist for 13 years. She died in 1955 and was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2004.”