How would you describe your relationship with Jesus?
I’ve been Catholic my whole life and have adored Jesus for as long as I can remember. I’ve grown closer to him throughout my life. He’s my Savior and closest friend, and I rely on his guidance and strength daily.
How do you live your faith?
I strive to show the love of Jesus to everyone I meet. I believe that everyone deserves to experience the joy of the Gospel, so I love to share my faith with others. One of my favorite ways to share the Gospel is by empowering and walking alongside youth on their journey of faith.
Why did you decide to major in religious studies?
At the time I was choosing a major, I felt called to share my faith with the world and was determined to find a career that would help me accomplish that goal. I chose to major in religious studies because I believed that degree would best prepare me for my mission (and because I love learning about our faith).
What do you do in your position with St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish?
As the director of youth ministry, my primary goal is to help all youth encounter and fall in love with Jesus. I coordinate all faith formation programs, events and activities for youth in grades 6-12, and for young adults. I also organize Confirmation preparation.
What do you love about our Catholic faith?
I love the Catholic faith for so many reasons: Our focus on the sacraments, our beliefs about the Eucharist and the countless forms of prayer are some of my favorite parts about Catholicism. I believe that receiving Jesus in the Eucharist each weekend is the biggest gift. Some of my favorite forms of prayer are studying Scripture, Adoration, and praise and worship.
What kinds of faith experiences do middle schoolers especially enjoy?
Middle schoolers enjoy learning about the faith by completing any type of game or challenge. Some of the games they play connect to what they’re discussing at disciple formation, and they remember what they learn better when it connects with a game or activity. I also create weekly faith challenges to encourage them to memorize Scripture, practice different forms of prayer, and perform acts of kindness, and sometimes award prizes when certain activities are completed.
What about high school age?
High schoolers enjoy honest and open discussion about the faith. Our goal is to help every high schooler know they are loved and their thoughts are valued. After we build that trust, we dive deep into discussion about living out the faith.
What’s the best advice you can offer to parents or grandparents who want to have a positive influence on their children’s/grandchildren’s faith life?
Joyfully and authentically live out the faith. I think some of the best ways to pass down the faith are attending Mass regularly, trying out different forms of prayer and volunteering at your church together. I also encourage parents and grandparents to not be afraid of having deep conversations about faith with youth. Teens often have questions and doubts about our faith, and it’s important to walk with them through their struggles and discuss their questions in a loving and non-judgmental way. I tell people that God welcomes questions because when we seek answers, we are seeking truth about God.
What is something that inspires you?
The saints inspire me to live for God’s glory and to love others at all times. When I learn about the saints’ lives and the difficulties they faced, I’m reminded that God will guide me through every battle and that he can change the world through ordinary people like you and me.
What are your top three things to do in the summertime?
I am very close with my family and love attending Christian events in the summer with them. We’ve attended a Christian family camp up north (in Wisconsin) called Fort Wilderness for more than 12 years, and we go to Lifefest, one of America’s biggest Christian music festivals, each summer in Oshkosh, as well. I love playing and coaching volleyball, so I fill my summer up with volleyball, too. One of my other favorite summer activities is spending weekends at my cabin, which is near La Crosse.