Hometown: Syracuse, New York
Ministry Position: Coordinator of Theological Formation and Next Level Ministry
Ministry Background: I’ve been involved in ministry since I was a sophomore in high school. I started by volunteering in the music room at Vacation Bible School at my home parish and had an absolute blast! I was hooked after the first day! I became more involved at church by singing in the choir, helping out with the children’s choir, and even co-planning the next year’s Vacation Bible School as the assistant director.
As I continued into college, I couldn’t imagine not being involved at the local parish. The Lord lead me deeper into ministry and love for Him through service, especially to youth and young adults. I taught 4th grade faith formation, sang in the choir, and even ended up as president of the Newman Club for my four years at school. A good friend of mine in college introduced me to Adoration and an event called World Youth Day. I ended up going to the next World Youth Day with my home diocese, and from that pilgrimage, came an internship with the diocesan Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry.
During my internship I realized that God was calling me to a lifetime in ministry. It became clear that I needed to have a solid grasp on my faith so that I could share it with others. What better way to really know your faith than to get a Master’s Degree in Theology?! Once again, I couldn’t stop ministry just because I was in school. I became involved in one of the local parish’s youth group and also lead prayer teams on campus.
Not long after graduating with my MA, I got a job as the Coordinator of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Diocese of Steubenville. In that role, I had the pleasure of planning large events, working with parishes to start youth ministry programs, supporting and mentoring youth ministers, and helping youth across the diocese grow in their faith and relationship with God.
During each step of this journey (so far, thirteen years!), there has never been a doubt that God is calling me to serve others and spread his Good News in a personal way. He has continually drawn me closer to Him and stretched me in ways I never thought possible. I can’t wait to see all He is going to do now!
Passions and interests: I love the arts. I particularly enjoy painting and singing—you can normally tell how good of a mood I’m in by how much I sing. You’ll usually find me singing praise and worship music as well as soundtracks from musicals. I especially love attending musicals. They offer the thrill of being transported somewhere else by music and scenes. I also enjoy traveling, swimming, biking, canoeing, roller & ice skating, dancing, and hiking.
I relish spending time with God in prayer, especially adoration, and I revel in learning the history, tradition and meaning behind the Scriptures.
In my free time, when I’m not doing any of the above, I like to watch movies and random TV shows online.
My favorite flowers are daisies—I’ve found profound meaning in these simple flowers (ask me anytime; I’ve got a whole daisy catechesis worked out!). I thoroughly take joy in learning new things, especially with friends! Every day has the potential to be an adventure in some way, we just have to look for it.
How did you become involved with Ablaze/why are you involved? I first heard about Ablaze when a friend of mine from grad school, Jennifer Stavinoha, served as a missionary from 2013 until 2017. Another friend and classmate of mine, Taylor Schroll, joined the team not long after. After serving with the Diocese of Steubenville for several years, I felt God was calling me to move on. I was actually on the phone with Taylor, booking him as our keynote speaker for one of our diocesan events, when we got talking about Ablaze. Taylor mentioned they had a position open for a Director of Youth Ministries and sent me the job posting. I was apprehensive at first, but God changed my heart in less than a month. The more I talked with Taylor and Jennifer and the more I prayed about the position, the clearer it became that God was asking me to take this huge step in faith and trust on my journey to know him more.
I am involved with Ablaze now because obviously God has called me here, but also because I have personally seen the need for this type of ministry and community within the Church. Having worked in a mission diocese with parishes and parishioners that desire well-formed ministers but don’t have the funding, resources, or community to form, equip, or pay these leaders, I can see the beauty and importance of Ablaze Ministries. No person on earth should be denied the joy and fullness of the Gospel due to poverty or lack of resources. If they do not know Jesus, it should not be due to a lack of effort on our part. In being involved with Ablaze, I have an opportunity to follow Christ more closely and live the Gospel life like the early Christians.
Favorite quote/Bible verse:
“Look to Him that you might be radiant with joy.”
Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
“Do not be afraid to be holy! Have the courage and humility to present yourselves to the world determined to be holy, since full, true freedom is born from holiness.”
―Pope St. John Paul II
“Act in such a way that all those who come in contact with you will go away joyful. Sow happiness about you because you have received much from God; give, then, generously to others. They should take leave of you with their hearts filled with joy, even if they have no more than touched the hem of your garment.”
―St. Maria Faustina Kowalska