I’m so excited to take on the role of Youth Minister and continue to serve the youth of this parish. I know that saying goodbye to Anthony was bittersweet, but I hope to build onto the strong foundation that he’s formed and help the ministry flourish at a new level! I have already felt so welcomed by this community during my first few weeks here, especially by the amazing parish staff. I’m looking forward to getting to know the families of Corpus Christi and integrating my own into parish life.
I’d like to take this opportunity to briefly introduce myself. My name is Grace Rivera and I was born and raised as a Diocese of Phoenix Catholic. I grew up at Saint Maria Goretti Parish in Scottsdale, where my parents were married and my husband, Daniel and I were married as well, two years ago last May. I think it’s important to mention that I am the young Catholic woman I have become today due to two main influences: my parents and a great high school youth group. My parents took their role as the primary teachers of the faith seriously, and instilled in me, my brother Noah, and my sister Rose, a deep love for Jesus Christ and His Church. By their example, I have been able to establish a home and mission within the Body of Christ.
I also know the importance of growing up in a vibrant church community because of the youth group I went through high school with. My parents suggested I start attending youth group at OLPH in Scottsdale and it was there that I met some of my lifelong friends and grew in my understanding and love for my faith. I remember the feeling of peace, belonging and confidence that I developed while attending Sunday night youth groups, Bible studies and retreats. Those years were very formative for me and along the way, I got to know our dear Fr. Chad King as a newly ordained priest!
After high school, I gave a year of my life as a NET Missionary. NET Ministries train teams of young adults and send them to minister in parishes and schools across the United States to ignite the faith of young Catholics. In my case, God planned to take me a little farther out of my comfort zone and sent me to Australia. Through NET, He taught me how to live out my faith fearlessly, share it with others and cultivate a personal prayer life. I also got to experience my fair share of kangaroos, koalas, and dangerously large spiders…
After returning from NET and starting my most recent job with The Sacred Art Gallery, I started college at Benedictine University at Mesa, studying Fine Art and Theology. It was there that I fell in love with the study of the faith, also falling in love with one Theology major in particular – my now-husband Daniel. He is my best friend. He calls me to be holier every day (newlyweds get it) and although he’s more serious and I’m the silly one, he brings a distinctive joy into my life.
Now I’m here with you, embarking on this new adventure! I’m eager and excited to walk with you (the middle schoolers, high schoolers and young adults of Corpus Christi) on this beautiful, challenging and thrilling journey towards heaven.
Please reach out to me if you see me around the church campus, or if you have any questions about ministry. I am here to serve and walk with you! You can find me in the parish office or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.