St. Joseph Parish Office Staff

    fr mRev. Manuel P. Cuizon, Ph. D. - Pastor


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    Sr. Mary Ellen Backes, O.S.U. - Director of Religious Education

    Coming Soon: A short biography of Sr. Mary Ellen Backes, O.S.U. Sr. Mary Ellen's story.

    Sr. Mary Ellen's email:



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    Deacon Larry Day

    Lawrence H. Day

    Although born in Peoria, Larry Day calls Springfield his home town, as his family was living in the capital city by the time he started first grade at Blessed Sacrament School. An accountant at City Water Light and Power for 28 years, Day also is retired from the Air National Guard, where he served 34 years as a chaplain's assistant. He spent four of those years on active duty and 30 years in the Air Guard. He was deployed to Albania and to Saudi Arabia and, shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, his unit spent six months in Washington, D.C.

    "As a chaplain's assistant we are suppose to carry a weapon to protect the chaplain who does not carry a weapon, but we are not aggressors. Working in the chaplains' office for the guard, I had very good support from chaplains throughout my whole formation program," Day says.

    Vesting him at his diaconate ordination is Father Jeff Laible, pastor at Holy Family Church in Lincoln. Father Laible is wing chaplain for the 183rd Fighter Wing in Springfield. "We were at my cousin's, (Rob Heiple's) diaconate ordination in 2002 in Peoria, and my wife Linda leaned over and asked me, ‘Have you thought about becoming a deacon?' I had kind of followed my cousin's formation. I would ask him what he did as a deacon. I found it very interesting."

    At St. Agnes Parish in Springfield, Day was an extraordinary minister of holy Communion, usher, and member of the money counting/audit team, as well as a volunteer in other parish activities that didn't conflict with his guard weekends. He also refereed at basketball games for years.

    When Day learned the Springfield diocese was considering a diaconate program, "within a day or two of it being in the Catholic Times, I went to my pastor, Father (Patrick) Wright, and had a nice long talk with him. He agreed I would be a good candidate and gave my name to the diocese. I was sent the paperwork to fill out and returned it, and got a letter saying ‘come join us.'"

    During his formation, Day served two years at Little Flower Parish, a year at St. Augustine Parish in Ashland, and the last two years at St. Joseph Parish in Springfield. Deacon Day is assigned to St. Joseph Parish.

    The Days have a grown son and a daughter, and have one grandchild. Deacon Day served his first Mass as deacon in his home parish, St. Agnes, at 9:30 a.m. on June 21, 2009.

    For more information on the liturgical garments worn by the Deacon: Deacon Liturgical garments Email Deacon Larry at

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    Mr. Paul H. Johnson - Pastoral Associate for Music Ministry

    Paul is the Pastoral Associate for Music Ministry at St. Joseph Church, in Springfield, IL and has held the position since 1974. He is the organist/pianist at the 3 weekend liturgies and coordinates the Adult Choir and works with instrumentalists. He also prepares and trains cantors for the parish liturgies.

    Paul began his musical preparation very early and at the age of 6 was playing for children's church services at Redeemer Lutheran in Peoria, IL. Under the direction of his mother as his initial teacher, Paul continued his studies under Carroll Green of Peoria and then came to Springfield College in Illinois to study under Mr. Raymond Keldermans. He was one of the youngest members of the American Guild of Organists (A.G.O.) of the Peoria Chapter. Besides the organ as his performance instrument, Paul studied and performed on the carillion for several years under Mr. Keldermans. Paul also was an initial member of the "Singing Y'ers," a boys choir founded by Mr. Henry Charles from Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, IL and was a member for several years as a singer then as their accompanist. In 1974, Mr. Johnson attended Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, IL and studied organ performance and church music under Dr. David Gehrenbeck.

    Before acquiring the position at St. Joseph Church, he was the organist at Christ Episcopal Church in Springfield, IL for 2 years. In July of 1974, Mr. Johnson was hired as Director of Music at St. Joseph Church. For the past 30+ years, Paul has been involved as an accompanist in theater productions and also has given several organ recitals. He has served as a member of the Diocesan Liturgical Commission and also a member of the Music SubCommittee. His involvement in church music extends most of his lifetime. He has been composing for the past several years and much of what he composes is sung at the parish liturgies. He spends time recording and enjoys improvising on the piano. He is currently a member of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians along with the parish.

    Paul is married to Becky and between them he has 3 grown children and 2 grandchildren and she has 3 grown children and 5 grandchildren. Besides his love for his 'blended' family and gatherings with them, his passion for music is "wedded" with his passion and love for life and wanting to share that love and passion with the people around him and those he works with, of all ages. If there is one song that gives "light" to this passion it would have to be "How Can I Keep From Singing!"

    Email Paul at

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    Mrs. Pam Johnson - Business Manager

    Pam Johnson has worked for St. Joseph Parish since 1996. She is married to Patrick Johnson and has 2 children Kate and Michael who are alumni of St. Joseph School (Kate in 2000 and Michael in 2004). Pam has an Associates Degree in Accounting and prior to coming to St. Joseph was employed by First National Bank (now US Bank) in the Corporate Trust Department. Her hobbies include reading and gardening. Email Pam: