BY DOMINIQUE JOHNSON
It was in high school on the grounds of a Benedictine Monastery in Washington D.C. when Vince Marcantonio said he went from “somebody who goes to church to somebody who has a very high desire to work in that environment” and that same experience “brought the Catholic Church from being part of my life to being my life.”
Marcantonio joined Holy Name Parish in January as their new director of Religious Education and Youth Minister after graduating from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor’s degree in National Security and minors in Russian, Arabic and Linguistics.
How does one go from majoring in national security to leading youth in the church? Vince Marcantonio said his path started to become clear two years ago while working for St. Ann’s Mission on the Turtle Mountain reservation in North Dakota, as a summer missionary. It was on the Turtle Mountain reservation where he “absolutely fell in love with youth ministry and found that he had a gift for Native American youth ministry.” After the summer in North Dakota he decided he wanted to pursue work in church ministry.
Marcantonio hadn’t been to Alaska before coming out for an interview with Holy Name, but said his initial reaction was “I’m in the right place.” He added that Ketchikan reminded him of Northeastern Pennsylvania, where his family is from, and that the only difference is that in Pennsylvania “the next community is simply over the mountain, where here it is over several.”
Marcantonio has the task of facilitating Religious Education for Holy Name Parish, the leading youth group and teaching confirmation classes. One of the highlights of the job so far came during confirmation class, while teaching on Saint Anselm’s “Cur Deus Homo” or “Why God Became Man”. Marcantonio said he broke it down and simplified the topic and he could see multiple students “have that lightbulb moment.”
As the spring semester continues in Ketchikan, he hopes to “find where everyone is at” in their faith and “meet them there” to help them on their journey. He wants to accomplish this by gaining the trust of the youth and letting them know that they can be open with him, “I want them to know I am a resource for them and they are welcome to talk with me.”
Secondly Marcantonio wants the youth to grow in their faith through “better catechesis.” He added that “better understanding of God’s love for them is going to enable them to be themselves in a healthier way.”
Marcantonio said that he has been working with Nicole Miller, the Administrator at Holy Name Catholic School and former DRE and youth minister, and that she has been a great help to him in the transition. He added that he was impressed with how personal the parishioners at Holy Name are and they have made him feel welcome in the community, “they are very genuine and I appreciate that greatly.”
For more information on Religious Education and Youth Ministry programs at Holy Name parish you can contact Vince Marcantonio at firstname.lastname@example.org.