Story by Megan Morrison
From South Side Catholics Magazine
“What does it mean to be Catholic? It’s about caring for others. Being Catholic has to be a part of your life, not just something you do on Sunday.” This statement by Jerry Joyce illustrates his family’s focus on faith and service. Jerry and Jannine Joyce met at Yale University as undergraduate students. They have been married 19 years and are raising their four children in Saint Barnabas Parish. Two things are constant themes in the lives of the Joyce family, faith and service.
Jerry Joyce grew up in Saint Cajetan Parish with his three brothers. Under the watchful eyes of loving parents and inspiring priests such as Fr. Dillon, who who married Jerry and Jannine, and Fr. O’Donovan, the Joyce boys grew in faith, played every possible sport, and formed lifelong friendships with fellow Saint Cajetan Warriors. Jerry said he “feels very fortunate that I was raised where a parish community played such a vital role in reinforcing the values I learned at home.”
Jannine was raised in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where she attended the Academy of the Sacred Heart School and was a proud member of Saint Hugo Parish. Jannine’s parents immigrated from the Philippines and raised Jannine and her sister in a home where “the most important things were education and faith. Our church and community were our family.” As a student at Yale, Jannine studied computer science and economics. Initially working in management consulting, Jannine then went to medical school and became a pediatrician because she wanted “to feel like my life had a purpose. At the end of every day, we want to feel like we helped somebody. At the end of every day, I know that I impacted somebody’s life in a positive way.” Currently, Jannine works as a pediatric hospitalist at the University of Chicago attending high-risk deliveries and taking care of hospitalized infants and children.
Jerry attended Marist High School where he was a standout football player and wrestler. It was there that he met formative figures such as former principal and current president Br. Hank Hammer. Marist strengthened Jerry’s faith and helped him develop study and organizational skills that he would rely on for years to come. After graduating from Marist in 1987, Jerry attended Yale University where he majored in economics and political science. He later earned his law degree from Loyola University School of Law and then worked at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office under State’s Attorney Dick Devine before entering private practice.
Jerry and Jannine are parishioners at Saint Barnabas. As their family has grown, so has their involvement in Saint Barnabas’ school and parish as well as in their community. They are grateful that Saint Barnabas has such welcoming, involved and caring parishioners and offers opportunities to volunteer, participate, and grow in their faith. Denny Conway, a lifelong parishioner, has served as an inspiration to the Joyces for leading a life with commitment and dedication to service for others. Jerry and Jannine and their family regularly volunteer at the local soup kitchen and the nearby nursing home. Jerry has served as a coach and mentor in the community. Also, Jerry and Jannine have participated in medical mission trips to Guatemala and hope to continue this service with their children in the near future.
Of note, Jerry is currently running for Mayor of Chicago. He would like to be mayor for many reasons but primarily because he wants to give back to the city that formed him.
The four Joyce children have been taught how important service is by living in a faith-based home and parish where volunteering and helping others is the norm and service to others is a way of life. Jerry and Jannine want their children “to be people who care about other people.” Jeremiah, the oldest son, and oldest daughter Karina are both seniors at Marist High School. They are both active in the High School Youth Ministry Group at Saint Barnabas and both recently received an award for commitment to service and leadership from the Archdiocese of Chicago. Jeremiah loves playing tennis and is also interested in a career in business. Karina plays tennis and lacrosse, has been a camp counselor with the Chicago Park District the last two years, and volunteers with Park Lawn.
Youngest son Christian is a 6th grader at Saint Barnabas who plays basketball, football, lacrosse and wrestles. A 5th grader at Saint Barnabas, youngest child Keyli is an artist who loves theater and singing in the children’s choir. We know that as Christian and Keyli grow older, they will follow in the footsteps of their parents and older siblings by strengthening their faith through service to others.
Faith and service. These two words embody the Joyce family. By living such a life, Jerry Joyce believes “you realize you are a part of something larger than yourself.” Make sure you say hello to the Joyces when you see them at Mass or out volunteering and serving others. Good luck to Jerry in the February 26th election.