Fr. John PaladinoFr. David Santos
Deacon Robert Gurske | Deacon Don Hessemer
Sr. Elizabeth Calello | Patricia Krema | Paul Milan
Connie Boruch | Jennifer Ryan | Elaine Coupe


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Very Rev. John J. Paladino, V.F., K.H.S.

Father Paladino was raised in Paramus, New Jersey and was
No. 8 of 10 children.

Father Paladino graduated Seton Hall University in 1987 with a degree in Psychology. He entered Immaculate Conception Seminary and was ordained a priest and received a Masters Degree in Divinity on May 25, 1991. Further studies included earning a Masters Degree in Education Administration from St. Peters College in 1998.

Father Paladino´s assignments have included parish work, education/campus ministry, and hospital chaplaincy.

Father Paladino was assigned as pastor to St. Bartholomew on May 1, 2005.

He was appointed Dean of the Union County southwest Deanery, Deanery 26, in 2008. Fr. Paladino also serves as a member of the Presbyteral Council of the Archdiocese of Newark and as Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus, Fr. John S. Nelligan Council in Scotch Plains.

Archbishop Myers appointed Fr. Paladino Executive Director of Clergy Personnel in December of 2014.

At about the same time he was appointed Chaplain to the Scotch Plains Police Department.


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Fr. David C. Santos
Parochial Vicar

Born and raised in the archdiocese, Fr. David Santos and his twin brother are the first generation of Americans born in his family.

His parents, older sister and brother immigrated to the U.S. in the 70s and joined the growing Portuguese community in Newark, later moving to Kearny, NJ.

After graduating from Kearny High School, Fr. Santos attended Rutgers University in Newark and pursued a degree in criminal justice.

Two and a half years later, shortly after 9/11, he and his twin brother enlisted in the Army National Guard in Rhode Island. After a few years of military service as a paratrooper, Fr. Santos entered the Archdiocesan College Seminary at St. Andrew's Hall at Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J. He graduated two years later (2008) with a bachelor's degree in Catholic Studies.

Upon completing his time at St. Andrew's, Archbishop Myers asked him to continue his priestly formation and theological studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Italy. While in Rome Fr. Santos attended the Gregorian University, completing an STB (Bachelors in Sacred Theology) as well as the STL (Licentiate in Sacred Theology ) in Dogmatic Theology.

He loves the outdoors and playing soccer.

In December 2014, he was appointed Chaplain to both the Police and Fire Departments of the Township of Scotch Plains.



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Deacon Bob's Website

Deacon Robert Gurske
Director of Operations and Communications

Deacon Robert Gurske is a lifelong member of St. Bartholomew Church and a graduate of St. Bartholomew Academy.

From early on, he felt that God was calling him to a vocation in either the priesthood or brotherhood. He developed a strong relationship with the Marist Brothers and the Jesuits.

The upheaval in the American society of the 60´s and 70´s made him reconsider his vocation and, on June 29, 1974, Bob married his childhood friend Joanne, who had considered entering the convent of the Sisters of St. Lucy Fillipini. Together, they have participated in nearly every ministry available to parishioners.

In 1998, with Fr. Michael Merlucci's support Bob entered the diaconate program and was ordained a Permanent Deacon in June, 2002. His initial assignment was to St. Bartholomew Church and Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center.

Today, Deacon Bob continues to live out his vocation with the full support and encouragement of Joanne.

They are both 25-year veterans of the Scotch Plains Rescue Squad where they both have served as officers.

They have two grown daughters, Mary Beth and Kate, also graduates of St. Bartholomew Academy, and a granddaughter named Anika.


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Deacon Don Hessemer
Director of Outreach

Don was born in Brooklyn and grew up in North Merrick, Long Island. He attended Maria Regina Diocesan High School in Uniondale NY and the College of Environmental Science & Forestry in Syracuse. He also received a Master’s Degree in Environmental Health Science in 1985 from the Polytechnic Institute of NY.

Don and his wife, Joan, moved to Edison, NJ in 1985, and have two grown children, Brittany and Kenny. They joined St. Bartholomew Parish in 1991 after moving to Fanwood.

Don has taught Religious Education to 3rd and 4th graders for 6 years and has served as Extraordinary Minster and Lector. He also has lead the Social Outreach Ministry since its inception in 2005. It was during this time that he discerned his call to the Diaconate. Don currently works as a Senior Project Manager in the Environmental Group of a NYC architecture and engineering firm. Among Don’s interests is his love for running. You might catch him running through the streets of Fanwood and Scotch Plains.

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Sr. Elizabeth Calello, M.P.F.
Academy Principal

Sister Elizabeth Calello received a B.A. in Elementary Education from Felician College in Lodi, NJ, and a Master of Arts in Religious Studies from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, PA. Sister has her certification in School Administration and Supervision.

Sister Elizabeth has taught grades K through 8 in the Archdioceses of Philadelphia and Newark, and in the Dioceses of Trenton, Camden, Cleveland and Albany. Her experience as a principal spans 16 years and five schools. Sister served as the principal of St. Anthony School, Akron, OH; Villa Victoria Academy, Trenton, NJ; Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School, Schenectady, NY; Holy Innocents School, Neptune, NJ, and St. Peter School, Merchantville, NJ.


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Mrs. Patricia Krema
Pastoral Associate for Liturgy
and Adult Faith Formation

Pat Krema holds an M.A. in Pastoral Ministry (Caldwell College), an M.S. in Biology (Loyola University Chicago) and a B.S. in Secondary Education Biology (Bowling Green State University).  She serves as the Pastoral Associate for Liturgy and Adult Faith Formation at St. Bartholomew, prepares families for funerals, baptisms and weddings and is the Assistant Director of RCIA.  Pat also works with the Archdiocese of Newark’s Worship Office as an editor and contributing writer for the liturgical publication, Word On Worship.  Previously, Pat served as the Confirmation Director at St. Bartholomew for 9 years, worked as a biologist for a government contractor monitoring Great Lakes water quality, worked as a research and teaching assistant at the University of Michigan’s Biological Station and taught high school biology and middle school math and science in Chicago.


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Mr. Paul Milan
Director of Divine Worship and Music Director

Paul Milan was born in Bayonne NJ and grew up there, attending Marist High School and St. Peter´s College in Jersey City. He has been working in the field of liturgical music full time since 1994. Prior to joining the staff of St. Bartholomew the Apostle, he worked at St. Bernard of Clairvaux parish in Plainfield, St. Joseph´s parish in East Rutherford and Our Lady Star of the Sea parish in Bayonne.



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     Mrs. Jennifer Ryan
     Youth Minister

Born and raised in Scotch Plains, Jennifer received her Sacraments (Baptism, First Holy Communion, Penance, Confirmation, and Marriage) at St. Bartholomew Church. Her parents, brother and sister’s family are also parishioners of St. Bartholomew. Along with her three siblings, Jennifer is a graduate of Scotch Plains – Fanwood High School. Upon graduation, Jennifer attended the University of Scranton, where she met her husband Todd. During college, Jennifer worked at Moses Taylor Hospital as the Assistant to the Director of the Employee Assistance Program and volunteered in Stirling, NJ, at Honesty House working with co-dependent individuals. On campus, she was a Drug and Alcohol Peer Educator/Counselor and a Hand-in-Hand volunteer. After earning her BS in Health and Human Services with a Psychology minor, Jennifer worked at Mt. Carmel Guild as a Mental Health Counselor for adults and MICA, mentally ill/ chemically addicted, individuals. It was then that she decided to attend nursing school. She earned her BS in nursing from Seton Hall University as a Sigma Theta Tau Honors Society member. After achieving her RN license, Jennifer worked in various specialties of nursing, including Cardiology, Oncology, Pediatric Homecare, and Gerontology, before becoming a full-time mom to raise her and Todd’s four children, Todd Jr., Meghan, Dillon, and Erin. Upon returning to Scotch Plains in 2007, her family immediately got involved in St. Bartholomew as altar servers and children’s choir members. They also became active in the local PTA, youth sports programs, and a leadership training program for local teens. Jennifer and Todd have also enjoyed being a Mentor Couple to those preparing to marry at St. Bartholomew. Jennifer enjoyed being a young adult leader in the St. Bartholomew Youth Group when she was out of college and is excited to be a part of this ministry. After watching her older children benefit from the Youth Ministry program at St. Bartholomew, Jennifer is looking forward to other high school age students learning and enjoying this important ministry.Jennifer believes that with Friends, Family and Faith you are never alone.

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Mrs. Elaine Coupe
Director of Community Outreach

Elaine was raised in North Massapequa, Long Island. After graduating from SUNY Oneonta with a degree in Elementary Education, Elaine focused her career in Human Resources for CS First Boston managing their training and development and compensation programs. She attended Columbia University for Organizational Development. She married Kevin Coupe and with the birth of her children, Elaine turned her focus to Kelsey and Kyle while settling in Scotch Plains. Over the years, Elaine has been very active in various volunteer efforts, including; Welcome Wagon, Newcomers Club, Evergreen and Park Middle School PTA and serving as an Ombudsman for the State of NJ, representing nursing home residents at Runnels Hospital.

Elaine joined St. Bartholomew in 2007 after her family experienced a tragedy which brought them to St. Bartholomew.  They joined the RCIA program and the family was welcomed into the Catholic Church. Elaine believed she needed to help with our youth and jumped right in by teaching Confirmation classes. While teaching, Elaine helped to coordinate the student’s service project with Homefirst Interfaith Housing by hosting a Christmas Party for homeless families. She continues to help coordinate the ministry that supports Homefirst and assists United Presbyterian with their hosting as well as organizing various fundraisers for Homefirst. Elaine will be attending Seton Hall for classes in Youth Ministry and is devoted to building a growing youth ministry here at St. Bartholomew. Elaine enjoys spending time with her family and friends, cooking, music, Book Club, swimming and her weekly Coffee Group.

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Connie Boruch
Pastoral Associate of Religious Education
and Faith Formation

Connie Boruch, along with her husband David and their three children Sarah, Emily and Matthew moved to Scotch Plains and joined the St. Bartholomew Church community in 1998.
Connie received a degree in Early Childhood Education from William Paterson College and a Master’s Degree in Education from Mary Grove College.  She began her teaching career in 1983 and has worked in both Catholic and public schools throughout her career.  Most recently, she taught for the Secaucus Board of Education.  While there, she was very active in Mentoring and Leadership, School Safety, School Improvement and Professional Development, Curriculum Writing, and presenting parent workshops in the district.  Aside from her passion for teaching, her desire to lead all children to see God in each other and to treat others as we would have them treat us, led her to become an advocate for character education. She became an active member of the county’s Social Emotional Learning, School Climate & Culture Committee.  She sat on the steering committee and worked to arrange for speakers, plan meetings, and lead conferences.  She was most excited about directing and facilitating a “Bully-Free Zone Rally” which involved all students grades K through 6.  The rally was successful in kicking off an anti-bullying campaign, which continues to grow in the school community each year.  Connie was honored with the Teacher of the Year Award for her school in 2010.
Here at Saint Bartholomew Church, Connie has been an active volunteer in various ministries, including: Eucharistic Minister; Co-Director/Director of Vacation Bible School; Member, Leader and Spiritual Director of Women’s Cornerstone; Stations of the Cross leader; teacher of Whole Family Communion classes, Confirmation classes, Children’s Liturgy of the Word, and Pray & Play.  Connie was honored with the Knights and Dames Award in 2016.
It is Connie’s desire, as Pastoral Associate of Religious Education and Faith Formation, to foster closer relationships between children, families, the church and the Lord through the continuation of our strong religious education program.
Connie enjoys music and reading. She has recently begun to write a series of children’s stories based on the pillars of character education.

St. Bartholomew the Apostle Parish

2032 Westfield Avenue
Scotch Plains, N.J. 07076
Tel: 908-322-5192 | Fax: 908-322-2598
Contact Us

St. Bartholomew Academy

2032 Westfield Avenue
Scotch Plains, N.J. 07076
Tel: 908-322-4265 | Fax: 908-322-7065
Academy Website

Religious Education

2032 Westfield Avenue
Scotch Plains, N.J. 07076
Tel: 908-322-2359
Religious Education