John Jelinek Begins Service at the Diocese
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
March 14, 2019
ROCKFORD—John Jelinek has long been familiar with now-retired John McGrath’s work in the Diocese of Rockford.
That “makes it all the more daunting,” says Jelinek as he takes up the leadership reins as director of Religious Education and Formation in the Department of Educational Services of the Diocese of Rockford.
“I revered him,” Jelinek says, happily adding that McGrath “is going to walk with me” as he begins his new position and fills the big shoes of his predecessor’s long tenure.
Jelinek, however, comes with what he calls a “nice cross-section” of educational experience at the parish level. 
During his 13-plus years at the Church of Holy Apostles in McHenry, he has directed youth ministry and was coordinator of confirmation sacramental preparation (junior high and high school), RCIA and adult small groups, and served  children in kindergarten on up in his most-recent position as director of Family Faith Formation.
Additionally, Jelinek has worked with and for the diocese since 2006 as a consultant and mentor to parishes starting family catechesis programs, as a presenter for the diocese and McHenry Deanery on Family Faith Formation, as a teacher for the Ministry Formation program, as a witness speaker at diocesan Natural Family Planning trainings, and as a coordinator and presenter for diocesan high school retreats.
“Our parish has been big on Family Faith Formation,” Jelinek says, describing its focus as empowering and encouraging parents to be the primary catechists for their children.
He explains that statistics, studies and experiences show that children of families that deliberately live and teach the faith at home are the ones most likely to stay in their Catholic faith as adults. 
The practice of relying solely on a parish or program to give the Catholic faith to children — no matter how dynamic and amazing those programs — does not often lead youths to continue in the faith.
The “idea of being able to serve the Church on a larger scale (and) being able to support deaneries as we address the new and continuing challenges of our culture and with Millennials,” led Jelinek to apply for his new position. 
He says he is excited with “the idea of being able to look at the new dynamics” and work on “ways to communicate faith to this next generation ... to minister and present the full truth and beauty of the Gospel.”
Jelinek is a graduate of Barat College of DePaul University (with majors in biology and studio arts and minors in pre-medicine and chemistry), and of Franciscan University of Steubenville (Master of Arts in theology).
He is married almost 13 years to Cecilia, a religion teacher at Marian Central Catholic High School in Woodstock. They have five children, ages 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, and  have one on the way. The three oldest attend Montini School in McHenry where they live.