Can you describe a little about your journey after GSV? What steps brought you to your current position?
After GSV I went straight into grad school, studying Pastoral Ministry at Boston College. At that time, I planned on looking for a job in college campus ministry after graduation, but after two more years of studying and living in a college residence hall, I realized that perhaps trying a different form of ministry might be better for me. I started work as a campus minister and theology teacher at Xaverian Brothers High School in the fall of 2002, and have been there ever since. For the past three years, I have served this community as the Dean of Students. It’s a challenging position, but still very much a ministerial role.
What motivated your career choice? Was it planned or unexpected?
I’ve always found it important to pay attention to the many ways that God is speaking to me in my work–through the people I work with, our interactions, the challenges, my accomplishments, etc. By doing so, I’ve learned much over the past several years about my own strengths and weaknesses, and discovered what I can confidently say is my vocation. Working as a high school administrator was certainly not the plan I foresaw at the end of my time with GSV, but only because I think that I wasn’t really paying attention and listening to the experiences of my life at that time.
Can you describe a day-in-the-life for yourself? What do you most enjoy?
There is no typical day for me at school. Because I’m not stuck behind a desk, each day I have literally hundreds of interactions with students, teachers and fellow administrators. Some are quite mundane, but others can be challenging in a variety of ways. I greatly appreciate the opportunity I have each day to work with our students, especially those who are struggling most academically, personally, or with their behavior. It’s rewarding to help students reflect on their decisions and to envision new possibilities for their lives. It’s also frustrating when these efforts seem to go to waste, and students don’t grow and mature as I had hoped. I just trust that a seed was planted, that will later bear fruit.
I always look forward to the few hours I get with my wife and children after school, before they head off to bed. Being a father brings on a whole new set of challenges, but also fills me with a tremendous amount of gratitude and joy. And because I have to be “the bad guy” at school, I’m kind of a softie at home…at least until my kids are teenagers.
Has your GSV experience continued to have an effect on your personal or professional decisions? If so, how?
One of the unexpected effects of my GSV experience has been the continued importance of community. I was blessed to live with six other wonderful individuals during my volunteer year in Brooklyn. Over the past decade we have reunited several times for weddings and other celebrations, and have enjoyed sharing in the blessings of each others’ lives. Sadly, two years ago, one of my housemates, Jessica Kochis Fedeli, lost her battle with cancer, dying way younger than anyone ever should. Jessica’s death brought our community together again to celebrate her life and the impact she had on our world. Last May, we held the first annual Jessica K. Fedeli Benefit to raise money for the GSV. It was a great success, and will hopefully become an annual opportunity for us to come together with our families to remember Jessica and support the program that brought us together.
Five years ago, my wife and I bought a 2-family home with two of my friends from college, who had a 4-month old son at the time. We still live in the house now–they’re upstairs with 3 kids, we’re downstairs with 2 kids and a dog. The house is probably a bit small for all of us, but there’s a lot of love in it. The community we have with one another is extremely unique. Our kids are like brothers and sisters to one another, and while we have our own separate floors, the house is one big community for all of us. Living with my housemates during my GSV year certainly taught me the value of community living, and showed me how much of a gift a loving, supportive community can be. It’s a lesson that obviously still impacts my life in profound ways today.
Any future plans or other news you would like to share?
Congratulations to my housemate Sara on the birth of her first son Cristian last month! That makes 6 GSV babies for the Brooklyn house, who are now living in Chicago, Boston, New York, Texas, Maine and Uganda.