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Rachel Blonski is very excited to be working with Peacebuilders in a completely new way! In June 2004, she participated in Peacebuilders Initiative and during the service portion of the program she worked at Little Brothers, Friends of the Elderly. She continued working with them after the week at CTU and used them as inspiration for her service project. Since her time at Peacebuilders, Rachel has remained very involved with the group as well as using her experiences to help others.
Rachel graduated from Trinity High School in 2005, where she then went on to the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. She graduated in 2009 with a B.S. in Biochemistry. Currently, Rachel has returned to her alma mater, Trinity, teaching chemistry, and is attending graduate classes for her M.A. in teaching at Dominican University. She loves the classroom environment and enjoys bringing peace and justice to light in her science classes. Rachel resides in the Northwest side of Chicago and can be found attending Cubs and Illini games, and spending as much time as she can with her family and friends.
|Melissa Carnall is pursuing her Master of Divinity degree at Catholic Theological Union, after having spent her first year in Chicago as a full-time volunteer with Amate House, the young adult service program of the Archdiocese of Chicago. She spent the year seeking to live the values of community, faith, service, social justice, and stewardship (and plans to spend the rest of her life seeking to live those as well!).|
She is a graduate of Furman University in Greenville, SC, where she majored in Religion and Economics. At Furman, she was involved in campus ministry, residence life, and various ministries at a local parish. Melissa is originally from Gainesville, FL. Through studies at CTU and as a former Catholics on Call participant, another program of the Bernardin Center, Melissa heard about Peacebuilders and thought it would be a meaningful way to combine her spirituality of reconciliation with her love for relationship-building. It is also a way to pass on the inspiration and love of all the mentor figures in her life. She is grateful to be a part of such a Spirit-filled endeavor!
|Andrew Cirillo is a first year Master of Arts (Theology – Systematics) and Master of Divinity student at Catholic Theological Union. A native of Central New York, he was born and raised in Utica, attended New York Mills Jr./Sr. High School, and subsequently the University of Rochester. He graduated with a major in Religion and with minors in Classical Civilization (Classics) and International Relations. At the University of Rochester, Andrew served as sacristan, lector, and altar server to the Catholic Newman Community, while also working in the office with the Chaplain and Campus Minister. Additionally, he spent time studying abroad in Madrid, interning with The Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei.|
While at CTU, Andrew has been involved in several different activities and student groups. These include everything from being the Chairperson of the Student Representative Council to assisting with the Liturgy Committee. Additionally, he is working as an intern in the Information Technology Department and the Events and Student Services office.
Apart from his academic and ministerial studies and activities, Andrew loves spending time with his beautiful girlfriend, Kaitlin, as well as his adorable cat, Pinkie! He enjoys such leisurely activities as traveling, running, bicycling, working out, and playing soccer!
Andrew is extremely excited to be a Peacebuilders’ Mentor, and hopes that he can exude his passion and love for God to all the wonderful student participants and eventual Peacebuilders!
|Rolando Hernandez Lizcano loves working with youth “because they are the young face of Jesus Christ." Rolando was born in Guadalajara Jalisco, Mexico. He has a bachelor degree in Philosophy from the University of Senor San Jose in Guadalajara, Jalisco.|
In 2005 he came to Chicago to pursue the priesthood. He attended Mundelein Seminary for two years. Then, he was assigned to work with youth at Saint Gall Parish on Southside of Chicago. Indeed, it has been the most amazing experiences of his life. He has been working in that community for four years. Currently, he is finishing his studies for the M.Div. at CTU. He hopes to work with and for Youth for 10 more years.
|Melissa Link is a theology teacher at Trinity High School in River Forest, IL. She is a 2008 graduate of Catholic Theological Union and a former Bernardin Scholar. Recently, Melissa lived abroad in Amman, Jordan where she taught International Baccalaureate English at The Ahliyyah School for Girls for four years.|
Before moving abroad, she taught theology and served as a campus minister at other Chicago based Catholic high schools. Melissa is also a former Peacebuilders partner, and she is excited to join the Initiative this year in a new capacity. Melissa and her husband currently live on the south side of Chicago.
|Katie Neu is so excited to be a second time mentor with Peacebuilders! She actually went through the program herself, in 2005. She is one of the first Peacebuilders alumni to return to the program as a mentor. Her peace project was called Homelessness Awareness Weeks, a four week program that she facilitated at her parish, St. Barnabas, on the south side of Chicago. In 2007 she graduated from Marist High School and then attended Quincy University where she earned her B.A. in Theology and Philosophy in 2011. Katie is currently the Campus Minister at Mt. Assisi Academy and will graduate with her Masters in Pastoral Studies from Catholic Theological Union in May 2013.|
Katie says that it was her powerful experience with Peacebuilders that set her on the path she is on today. “Peacebuilders has given me so much and I am thankful for the opportunity to finally give back!” While schoolwork and her work at Mt. Assisi take up a lot of her time, Katie carves out a moment or two for her favorite activities, which include making creative art projects out of recycled things, reading any book she can get her hands on, watching Harry Potter, and learning how to cook. She is looking forward to working with Peacebuilders again and is ready to go on this incredible journey with you!
|Yves Payen is from Haiti. Among his academic accomplishments, Yves has earned a diploma in philosophy from the Grand Séminaire Notre Dame de Cazeau, Port-au-Prince, Haiti and an M.Div. degree from the Catholic Theological Union at Chicago. In addition, Yves speaks four languages: Haitian Creole, French, Spanish, and English. Yves has been exposed to several different ministry settings that have given him experience with people of different cultures, religions, ages, and social strata; he has interned at St Benedict the African East Parish, at North General Hospital in New York, at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, and at Deaconess Hospital in Evansville.|
Currently, Yves works as a hospice chaplain, he is on the Board of Directors of the Urban CPE Consortium, and he is a site supervisor for students of the consortium. Yves welcomes the opportunity to be a mentor at the The Peacebuilders Initiative.
Nereida Pereda has been working at Regina Dominican High School teaching Theology for the past eight years. She has been involved in Youth Ministry for over fifteen years. Nereida serves as a Core Group Member of Teen Service Week, a non-profit organization that has been working with youth in the Chicago-land area for over 25 years. She graduated with a Masters in Pastoral Studies from Catholic Theological Union in May of 2010. She is excited to be returning to Peacebuilders as a Mentor. She is looking forward to the many experiences that Peacebuilders has to offer.
|Sister Eliana Remiszewska is a professed member of the Congregation of the Franciscan-Felician Sisters. She is from Poland where she grew up and received her education and a Masters Degree in Theology. She worked as a religion teacher in different parishes in Poland and was a formator of the young sisters and postulants.|
She worked for 10 years as a missionary in Kenya, Africa and the last three years she spent in Rome serving as a translator for her Congregation. She moved to Chicago in October of 2012. She is taking spiritual courses at CTU with the aim of obtaining a Certificate in Spiritual Formation. Her motive for applying to work with Peacebuilders is a personal conviction that every Christian is called to be a peacemaker and should use her/his God-given gifts and talents to promote and build peace.
|Lindsey Robitaille is returning to Peacebuilders for her second year as a mentor. She received a Bachelor's degree in Catholic theology from Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA, where she learned to love Benedictine spirituality and its heritage. She recently obtained a Master of Arts in theology from Catholic Theological Union.|
She has fostered a passion for working with youth ever since she was in high school. Currently, Lindsey is a theology teacher at Bishop Noll Institute in Hammond, IN and serves as a catechist at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Hyde Park. She also spends quite a bit of time with her husband making all meals and desserts from scratch, playing with her German shepherd, going on road trips, and striving to imitate the Blessed Mother.
|Daniel Zundel is excited to return for his second year as a Peacebuilders mentor! Daniel currently serves as the Director of Christian Service and US History and Civics Instructor at Christ the King Jesuit College Preparatory School (CtK). He has served CtK in this capacity for three years, most recently completing a two-year volunteer program and accepting a full time position this past fall. He loves CtK because of his outstanding students and because it is a place where he can fulfill his passion for Catholic education, service, and helping young people discover their own passions and talents. A native of Chicago, Daniel graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a degree in Secondary Education and History, completing a minor in Pastoral Leadership. At Loyola, Daniel served the Department of Sacramental Life as a student worker, sacristan, and altar server. He led small faith sharing groups on campus and organized different spirituality nights. He studied in Rome and traveled to Australia for World Youth Day. As an Eagle Scout, Daniel served his local council’s scout camp as Program Director. For two years as a volunteer, he lived in community with his nine housemates in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, living under the four principles of simplicity, community, prayer, and service. He looks forward to another great summer working with Peacebuilders to mentor students and discuss how our Catholic faith calls us all to serve our community for the greater glory of God.|