Melissa is an Orlando native that went from non-practicing Catholic to Youth Minister as a result of Youth Ministry. She has enjoyed 9 years in Youth Ministry in the Diocese of St. Petersburg (so far!) She graduated with from Ave Maria University with a degree in Theology and Literature. Melissa has a passion for story-telling and her Catholic Faith that she brings to her work with the young Church.
Very few adults would cite Middle School as the best time in their life. Middle Schoolers find themselves sandwiched between childhood and adulthood: while not quite fitting either category. But, these young people are capable of a depth and a child-like joy which is a blessing from God! Melissa brings 8 years of experience to engaging Middle Schoolers on the topics of Faith and helping them to understand their identity as sons or daughters of God.
Each generation offers new advantages and challenges to parenting. It is important for parents to have a place to voice concerns and learn in a community of faith. Melissa uses her experience working with teens to help parents to understand more about engaging the new generation, understanding social media, and/or incorporating prayer into the fabric of family life.
THEOLOGY OF THE BODY
Today’s world has a lot of confusing messages for youth when it comes to sexuality and gender. Melissa is comfortable teaching young people the truth of the Catholic Church’s message regarding the gift of their bodies (man or woman) and the joyful freedom it brings.
SCIENCE AND FAITH
All too often teens, and even adults, feel caught in the false dichotomy of Faith or reason. God created us body and soul and we are blessed to deny neither. As Catholics we know that our mind does not hinder our piety but informs it. Melissa is happy to discuss the truth that the Catholic Faith and Reason go hand in hand.
THE FALL AND THE FIRST GOOD NEWS
The Fall of Adam and Eve is one of the most iconic scenes in the Scriptures. It has been captured countless times through the art of generations: but it is not myth. The story is also not a story so distant from our own. Melissa brings the reality of the humanity of our first parents to light while connecting their fall to those we experience today. The Story of the Fall begins as a story of sin and shame but God, in His loving mercy, transforms it into a story of Hope and salvation through the first good news. It is a timeless story of our need for salvation and God’s fidelity.
High School Students today are surrounded by voices trying to shape them into the men and women that they will become. Melissa has been blessed to walk part of that journey toward Christ with High School students for 9 years (and counting.) Whether it is addressing the questions of why Catholics believe what we believe, or how to live as a follower of Christ in the world today, Melissa is happy to address a wide number of topics in a substantial and engaging way.
Effective leadership is an essential part of any ministry. If our ministry programs are going to truly care for the young people which Christ has entrusted to us, we must exhibit healthy Christian leadership. Melissa would love to use her experience in Youth Ministry to strengthen your ministry from helping to form adult volunteers, learning to prepare for events, or developing effective teen leaders.
“God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good” (Gen. 1:31a) Melissa is passionate about the importance of every human life from conception to natural death and has years of experience answering teen’s questions and helping them to understand the foundational right to life.
THE REAL PRESENCE
“What wonderful majesty! What stupendous condescension! O sublime humility! That the Lord of the whole universe, God and the Son of God, should humble Himself like this under the form of a little bread, for our salvation.” - St. Francis of Assisi
The Eucharist is the source and summit of our Catholic Faith. It is also one of the largest mysteries which we will contemplate in our lives. Melissa ties Scripture and introductory philosophy together to lead teens into a deeper contemplation of the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is sometimes surrounded with reluctance and fear when it is actually an amazing gift! Melissa is happy to answer questions, dispel rumors, and speak to the overwhelming gift that Reconciliation is for the Faithful.