Fr. Ziomek, Dennis, or to most close friends, he is called “Zi”. Fr. Dennis Ziomek received this nickname as a freshman at Quigley South when his Latin teacher, Mr. Jim Range, could not pronounce his Polish name and asked him if he could call him “Zi” and the rest is history.
The sport of running never left him since his freshman year at Quigley South when he started as a sprinter on the track team and then ran track for Loyola University while attending Nile College Seminary. After his Ordination into the Priesthood in 1978, he began his first assignment Coaching Cross Country & Track at St. Gall’s Catholic elementary school while being the resident priest. Not long after, jointed the faculty at Quigley South in 1983 until it’s closing in 1990. After Quigley South closed, Fr. Ziomek headed north as a full-time faculty member at Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary (Formerly known as Quigley North) from 1990 until it’s final days in 2007. If you ask any of his former student athletes, he will be known to remark, “It’s always a great day for running.”
He has many memories of Quigley. A highlight was back in the early 90’s, when the AQPS Cross Country team won XC Regional’s and qualified as a team for state finals three years in a row and placed in the top 20 bracket; it was the only sports team at AQPS to win regionals and qualify for state.
He is currently a member of the Presbyteral Council, representing Deanery A, Vicariate V; the Executive Information Technology Steering Committee for the Archdiocese of Chicago; and the Association of Chicago Priests.
Aside from Priestly duties, his personal interests include a good game of racquetball, downhill skiing, golf, fishing, and playing basketball and volleyball on Pray and Play Teen Nights. He is into technology big time and was the Webmaster for the St. Barbara’s parish website. Last fall, he ran a successful Navy Pier 10-mile race as a fundraiser to reduce St. Barbara’s Debt. Now he is the new Pastor of St. Catherine of Alexandria in Oak Lawn.
His personal best is 3 hours and 36 minutes at the Chicago marathon. Now that he is older, he continues to run 4 to 6 miles several times a week and limits himself to the half-marathon. In addition, he grew up helping his dad work on the family car in the garage. “He helped me fix my first car, a stick-shift 3-speed on-the-column 1970 red Ford Maverick. We even pulled and replaced the engine and the clutch. So to this day, I do my own car maintenance, like changing oil and replacing brakes.”
Recalling his years as teacher, he said, “I am proud to have students whom I taught now share in the ordained priesthood of Jesus Christ. I am also proud of the students I taught who, though not ordained, are fine young Catholic men involved in their parishes and communities.”