Year of Graduation: 2002
Major(s): Theology & Music
Current Position: Director of Youth Ministry, St. Vincent de Paul, Brooklyn Park, MN (Graduate School: MA - Pastoral Ministry/Theology, 2008, St. John's University, Collegeville, MN)
Please give a brief description of your current position and where you're working.
I am the Director of Youth Ministry at St. Vincent de Paul in Brooklyn Park. My primary responsibility is directing Youth Ministry programming for grades 7-12.
What path did you follow to arrive at your current job?
I graduated from the College of Saint Benedict with majors in Theology and Music. After graduating, I was hired at St. Odilia in Shoreview as a Coordinator of Youth Ministry for grades 6-12. After two years of working in ministry I decided to pursue a Master's degree. I enrolled in St. John's School of Theology for an MA in Pastoral Ministry/Theology. This was a four year part-time program. I graduated in 2008. Following my graduation from the MA program I accepted the job as Director of Youth Ministry at St. Vincent de Paul. I have been at my job for three and a half years.
What advice/suggestions would you have for students who might be interested in your career?
Volunteer! Get involved in local parishes' youth ministry programs. This will help you to see all the many aspects of ministry. Also, pray...God will help direct what He wants you to do. Take advantage of the internship experience with the Pastoral Ministry focus. Also, talk to Dr. Jeffery Kaster in the School of Theology. He has been an incredible mentor to me in my ministry and has years of expertise in the field.
What skills are important in your field?
Communication, organization, and time management skills, as well as prayer, a sense of humor, and a healthy balance in life. One skill that is often overlooked in youth ministry is talking with parents. After almost 10 years in ministry I have come to understand that almost fifty percent of my job is communication with parents. Also networking with other youth ministers and parish staff members is vital to sustaining a long career in any Ministry in the Church.
What activities/experiences were helpful at CSB/SJU (and elsewhere) in preparation for this career?
I was involved in Health Advocates while at CSB/SJU and the team planning and learning how to organize events was very helpful. Also I was a counselor for the Youth in Theology and Ministry (YTM) program sponsored by the School of Theology. This summer program helped me in gaining skills while working directly with teens. I also had a full semester internship which allowed me to totally immerse myself into ministry.
What is the most satisfying/rewarding part of your job?
I love the "aha" moments when teens truly get the love that God has for them. It is amazing to see them transform from learning it, to living it, to sharing it! I also love watching my adult volunteers share their faith and become solid role models for the teens that we work with. There are hard days and days that I struggle, but knowing that God is using me to build His kingdom here on earth through these amazing teens makes it all worthwhile.