Meet Our Staff

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Rev. Thomas Demse, Pastor

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Hello, I am Fr. Tom Demse and I have been the pastor of St. Gregory the Great Parish for 6 years. I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Theology from St. Francis de Sales College in Milwaukee and went on to earn a Master of Divinity from St. Francis Seminary, where I was then ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
I have one older sister, Bonnie, who is married to her husband, Dan. They live in the Sturgeon Bay area. I also have one married younger brother, Chris, who lives with his wife Jeanne in Sunset Hills, Missouri. I am also blessed with one nephew, four nieces, seven grand nephews and one grand niece!
When I am not busy at St. Greg’s, I enjoy watching Packer games, going to a variety of theater and musical events in the Milwaukee Area, and going out to dinner with friends. I also look forward to visiting my family from time to time at their homes. I am an avid scrabble player and enjoy doing puzzles in the daily Milwaukee Journal. When I am home I enjoy surfing the web for interesting recipes to use when cooking meals.
The parishioners of St. Greg’s are very welcoming and live out the parish motto “Greatness through Service” in a variety of ministries, programs, and activities. It is an honor for me to preside and preach at Masses, Weddings, and Funerals and to pray with the community forth gathered. The parish staff is wonderful to work with and they are a very talented group of people.

 

 

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Rev. Mr. Jim Banach, Deacon 

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Hi, I am Jim Banach and I am the deacon of St. Gregory the Great Parish. My areas of ministry include St. Greg’s and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Within St. Greg’s besides being at the altar to serve and preach, I work with the Arise program, preside for Baptisms, Weddings, and Funerals, teaching from time to time for the families in the Lighthouse Program and RCIA candidates. Mary and I meet with couples for marriage preparation. I do look around for folks in the parish to nudge into ministry. For the Archdiocese I serve on the Catholics for Peace and Justice Commission, represent the Archdiocese on the Wisconsin Council of Churches Faith and Order Committee, Serve as Past President of the Deacon Senate and with my wife facilitate Inquiry Sessions for those considering the call of the Diaconate. I also provide spiritual direction for deacon candidates as they work their way through formation.
In 2005 I was ordained a Deacon and have served at St. Greg’s ever since. Our family has been a member of St. Greg’s for over 30 years.
My high school was Bay View here in Milwaukee. Since then I have received a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee in Criminal Justice and an MBA from the Keller Graduate School of Management. For over 30 years I worked for Quest Technologies, a 3M Company and retired as the Executive Vice President. My job gave me the opportunity to travel extensively in the United States, Europe, Asia and South America.
We have three sons, Christopher who is Dean of Students and Athletic Director for Nativity Jesuit Middle School, he is married to Becca and they have two daughters Audrey and Harper. Gregory who is a Director at a legal software solutions company is married to Sarah. Andrew lives with us and works at Goodwill Industries. We have all lived in Milwaukee our entire lives… so far.
There is nothing like a walk in the woods with Mary, a round of golf with any of our sons, or getting to travel with family to places that truly move and inspire.
My favorite part of ministry is being asked to listen… it is such an honor when someone trusts to share their struggles, pain, and suffering, or overwhelming joy with me. It is also pretty incredible that the Lord trusts me to share his words to us all.

 

 

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Mark Kurzynski, Director of Maintenance

414-543-8292, ext. 222

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Hello, I am Mark Kurzynski and I am the Director of Maintenance for St. Gregory the Great Parish. St. Greg's has been my parish home for many years and I have worked at St. Greg's for 5 and 1/2 years. Seeing the children each day is one of the things I enjoy the most about working at  St. Greg's. Watching them grow up is a blessing.
When I am not at St. Greg's I enjoy time with my wife Jean Ann (married 24 years) and son, Ryan-19. We enjoy taking trips up north and someday I hope to retire there. There is nothing like the peace of being surrounded by God's creation. 
One of my great interests is helping those who struggle with alcohol and drug dependency. Helping them manage their anxiety and depression as they find a new life without their dependency is both challenging and rewarding.

 

 

 

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 Patti Penkalski,

Dir. of Administrative Services

414-543-8292, ext. 219

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Thank you for visiting our website! I am Patti Penkalski and I am the Director of Administrative Services for St. Gregory the Great Parish. I graduated from Mount Mary University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration.
My responsibilities at St. Greg's include: personnel, salaries and benefits, finances of the school and parish, facilities management, and stewardship initiatives. 
I have two adult children, Andy and Lauren, and an adorable grandson, Luca.
I am a lifelong, die-hard Brewer fan! And when I am not at a game, there is nothing better than spending time with friends and family over a great dinner and wonderful wine – good food and conversation are at the top of my list of hobbies! 
I love the St. Greg's community because whenever there is a need, our parishioners rise to the occasion. The support system among the staff is incredible – when times are hard, someone is there to lend a hand. When times are good, they are the first to share in your joy!

 

 

 

 

 

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 Kim Fex, Secretary

           414-543-8292, ext. 210           

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Hello! I am Kim Fex and I have been the Parish Secretary at St. Gregory the Great for 11 years. I enjoy helping others in my role at the parish. I especially like helping our St. Vincent de Paul clients, as well as any other people in need. Editing the bulletin, processing bills, and being a friendly face to those who call or visit are some of my main responsibilities. In addition to my professional role at St. Greg's, I also enjoy volunteering in a variety of ways including: St. Ben's Meal Program, Art and Environment, Parish Festival and any other area that need my assistance.
When I am not at St. Greg's, I enjoy spending time with my sons, Samuel and Nicholas and the rest of my extended family and friends. I enjoy cooking, baking, gardening, and spending time on Pelican Lake at our family "home away from home". 
St. Greg's is an incredible parish, filled with such loving people. I am grateful and blessed to be here!
 

 

 

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 Michelle Zakula, Pastoral Associate

414-543-8292, ext. 216

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Greetings! I am Michelle Zakula, and I am happy to serve as the Pastoral Associate of St. Gregory the Great for the past three years. Pastoral Care and Justice and Charity are two of my main ministries at St. Greg's, but you might also find me leading a lesson in the school or assisting with formation activities. This is because I began my ministry as a Catholic school teacher. 
I attended Alverno College for my teaching degree and later continued my education in religious studies at both Cardinal Stritch University and St. Francis Seminary. 
My husband Dan and I have been blessed with two children--Sarah and Andrew. You can often find me cheering on the bleachers of Andrew's baseball games or attending one of Sarah's art shows. I also enjoy cantering for Mass and funerals, as well as spending time with treasured friends. St. Greg's is certainly "home" for me and my family. I pray that you might find a home here as well!

 

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 Amy Schlegel, Principal

414-543-8292 ext.228 

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I am thrilled to serve as the new principal of St. Gregory the Great. I come to St. Greg’s with a strong belief in Catholic education. I have 23 years of experience teaching in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and have served in many leadership capacities during these years. In addition, I have been a Catholic school parent for the past 12 years. I attended Mount Mary University for both my undergrad and graduate studies and completed my administrative certification at Concordia University. My husband Jim and I have a 16-year-old son, Adam, and a 13-year-old daughter and we live on the northwest side of Milwaukee. My daughter, Libby, is attending St. Greg’s this year in the 8th grade. My personal mission is to motivate, educate, and inspire others to be their best. I look forward to collaborating with others to provide a safe, supportive environment that fosters self-discipline, motivation, Christian values, and excellence in learning. I am excited about the opportunity to get to know the students and families of the St. Gregory the Great community.

 

 

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Cindy Bremeier, Baptism, Matrimony, Liturgy

414-543-8292 ext. 213 

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I am Cindy Bremeier and I am the Director of Liturgy and the Coordinator of Baptisms and Weddings. I have worked at St. Greg's for over 20 years--15 of them full time. I enjoy my ministry because it brings me in to contact with people of all ages at the most memorable times of their lives. I enjoy working with children--training them as Acolytes or preparing them for special occasions like Quinceaneras. I also assist with all areas of liturgy including training Eucharistic Ministers and Lectors.
I have been married to my husband, Tom, for 40 years and together we have 4 children--all who graduated from St. Gregory the Great School. I also have 7 grandchildren with one more on the way! I love being a grandmother! I babysit as often as I can. In addition to being with my grandchildren, I also enjoy crafts of all kinds. I have made wedding veils and baptismal gowns for my family, in addition to sewing each dress that I wore for the weddings of my children.
Tom and I have been parishioners at St. Greg's for 39 years and I am most drawn to the friendly and welcoming spirit of the parishioners. We had many people "adopt" our family as the children grew up. I am so blessed to share my love of the Eucharist with this community!

 

 

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Matt Lawrenz, Liturgical Musician

414-543-8292, ext. 220

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 Hi, I am Matt Lawrenz and I am the director of music at St. Gregory the Great Parish.  I began  my ministry here  in 2010, and I direct the adult choir, handbell ensemble, and plan and play for weekend and weekday liturgies. I earned a Masters in Church Music from Concordia University – Mequon and a bachelor’s degree in music from Wisconsin Lutheran College and I love all types of music.  As music director, I find it  wonderful to experience how actively the congregation participates in song at St. Greg’s. It's a thrill to accompany a large group of people passionately singing out a well-known hymn. Outside of music, I try to stay active and spend time cooking, gardening, and traveling.  Most of all,I love to spend time with my wife Athena and play with my two sons Apollo and Alexander.

 

 

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Peg Kasun, Children's Choir Director

414-543-8292, ext. 240

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Hello, I am Peg Kasun!
I first came to St. Greg’s in 1997 as a weekend musician. In 1998, I started the Children’s Choir. This program has blossomed to 60 singers, encompassing the Youth Choir (grades 3-4) and Schola Cantorum (grades 5-8). The choirs sing for school masses and two weekend masses per month. They have performed in nationally-televised masses through Heart of the Nation; sang the National Anthem for the Milwaukee WAVE and Admirals; and appeared in concert with nationally recognized Catholic composers Janèt Sullivan Whitaker, Marty Haugen, and Jesse Manibussan. They sing in many languages, play percussion instruments and hand bells, and are trained as cantors.
When I was in sixth grade, the School Sisters of Notre Dame welcomed me into their folk choir. This is where I first felt the presence of God through music ministry, which is my best form of prayer. Today I am honored to work with the wonderful students at St. Greg’s, helping them grow as singers, music ministers, and leaders of their church community. 
I also serve as a music minister at our collaborating parish, Our Lady of Lourdes. I started at Lourdes in 1993, and am now their Director of Music Ministry. It is a blessing to serve these two communities through the ministry of music. Currently, I am on the Board of the Archdiocesan Liturgical Musicians Association (ALMA), and also enjoy spending time with my husband and three kids.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gail DeFransico, Director of Religious Education

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Hi, my name is Gail DeFrancisco and I feel blessed to be part of the staff at St. Gregory the Great Parish as Director of Religious Education.

I started this journey as a catechist when I was in high school.  I graduated from UW-Milwaukee with a BS in Education.  I also received Advanced and Intermediate certification from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

My ministry here will include preparing the children of the parish for the Sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Communion implementing formation and family programs, assisting the teachers and students to prepare for weekly school liturgies and more.

When I’m not working I enjoy spending time with my daughter Lizzy, family, and friends.  I also enjoy gardening and traveling. There is so much beauty all around us.