This post continues our 30 Under 30 series. We are spotlighting 30 young Catholics under the age of 30 who are making a difference in our Church and in our world.
We received hundreds of nominations for this series. There were so many amazing nominations and I have so much hope for our Church! In the end, we can only spotlight 30 folks. We don’t claim that these are the best 30 young Catholics in the world, but 30 people who are doing awesome things and who we wanted to highlight.
We will release the 30 under 30 series in 5 different posts, each featuring a different category of honorees.
Occupation: Director of i.d. 916
Organization Facebook Page: i.d. 916
Personal Twitter Account: @peteburak10
What would the world look like if Catholic young adults were intentional disciples? Pete Burak has dedicated his life to help make this happen. Pete is the director of i.d. 916. The i.d. stands for their identity as intentional disciples and 916 comes from 1 Corinthians 9:16 – “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” Its mission is “to form young adults into intentional disciples of Jesus Christ.”
Burak is a native of Ann Arbor, MI and a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville. He also attended the University of Michigan for the first two years of college and walked onto the men’s basketball team. Pete has worked as the director of a dynamic Christian boy’s camp, Pine Hills, as well as given numerous high school and middle school retreats and conferences. He has appeared on EWTN’s Crossing the Goal and the Choices We Face along with the radio program Fire on the Earth.
Burak notes that only 10% of Catholics who are 18-29 attend Mass on a daily basis. i.d. 916 has four pillars from the heart of the Church that seek to reverse this trend– conversion, communion, orthodoxy and mission. Pete is working to establish i.d.916 chapters in parishes across the country that will help young adults not only come to know our Lord, but to help them tell others about him as well. For more on i.d. 916, check out their website or Pete’s interview on The Choices We Face.
Occupation: Founder and President of made in His Image
Websites: Made in His Image
Organization Facebook Page: Made in His Image
Want to see an outreach that brings healing and meaning to women across the country? Maura Byrne started Made in His Image to do just this. Maura Byrne was born and raised in northern New Jersey, where she graduated from Seton Hall University. After college she worked for Varsity Catholic, which is a subdivision of FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students). In 2009, God etched in her heart the desire to one day launch a ministry for women called Made in His Image. Maura then moved to Nashville, TN, during which time she worked as a baker and pastry chef. In September 2011, Maura left her job to answer God’s call and officially launch Made in His Image.
The mission of Made in His Image: To begin a dialogue, a discussion, in a safe and compassionate setting, to foster hope and healing, and to empower women to turn from victim to survivor. Ultimately, to provide holistic medical treatment and healing for women suffering from eating disorders, physical, and or sexual abuse, which entails, educating all women on the nature and dignity of the human person, created in the image and likeness of God.
Bryne has an immense yearning to inspire others to choose to see beauty in their suffering and in the ambiguity of life. It is her desire to use her story, to foster hope and healing in the lives of all she encounters. Maura is dedicated to educating women about their inherent dignity as daughters of God, created in His image and likeness and the love of God the Father.
Occupation: Men’s National Program Director for St. Paul’s Outreach
Websites: St. Paul’s Outreach
Organization Facebook Page: St. Paul’s Outreach
Personal Twitter Account: @CaseyDynan
Do you believe that the Catholic Church needs more great men? Casey Dynan has a gift to reach men, both inside and outside of the church, in ways that are relevant to them. Known for his frank, “tell it like it is,” style, Casey mentors and disciples men, leads men’s retreats, and gives messages that challenge and inspire college students across the country. This gifted communicator has a heart for meeting men where they’re at and helping them become the men they were created to be.
Dynan primarily does this through his work as the Men’s National Program Director of St. Paul’s Outreach (SPO). SPO actively invites college students to a life of Christian discipleship by creating environments that challenge students to deepen their relationships with Christ. Within his work for SPO, Dynan developed a series for college students on love, sex, and dating.
Casey sees a gap in the church’s current ability to reach men in today’s culture. He looks to create a culture of men who are secure in their identity and “not just men who are ‘good boys’ – men who live with purpose, are dangerous for the good, and are someone to be reckoned with. Not just men that follow all the rules and avoid trouble, but men who embrace risk and adventure, get outside the church walls, live from the heart, and know how to fight spiritually for spiritual results. Men whose hearts are free and fully alive. Men who pursue greatness.
Occupation: Director of Development at the Dynamic Catholic Institute
Websites: Dynamic Catholic
Organization Facebook Page: Dynamic Catholic
How do you re-engage millions of fallen-away Catholics around the country? Shane Giblin works for The Dynamic Catholic Institute to do just that. Dynamic Catholic’s goal: “To re-energize the Catholic Church in America by developing world-class resources that inspire people to rediscover the genius of Catholicism.” As the Director of Development, Giblin is involved in a number of critically important parts of the Dynamic Catholic mission.
Giblin is a graduate of Seton Hall University where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Master’s in Strategic Communications and Leadership. After graduation, Gilblin discerned where he could use his gifts and talents to serve the world. After being impacted by Matthew Kelly’s books and after hearing Matthew Kelly’s vision for Dynamic Catholic, Giblin was hooked on living out this mission.
Beginning in 2009, Shane worked to help bring the Dynamic Catholic vision into a reality. Most recently, he has spearheaded the Parish Book Program, an evangelization initiative aimed at re-engaging disengaged Catholics by providing them with best-selling Catholic books during Christmas and Easter for as little as $2. The program has distributed over 6 million books since 2010! Matthew Kelly, the Founder of Dynamic Catholics, had this to say about Giblin: “He is passionate about the future about God’s people and the future of the Church. I am certain he will be one of the most influential Catholics in America over the next 20 years.”
Occupation: FOCUS Regional Director of the Southern Plains
Organization Facebook Page: FOCUS
Personal Twitter Account: @SamMazzarelli
If you wanted to change the world for Jesus Christ and his Church, where would you start? Sam Mazzarelli works for FOCUS, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, because he believes that the college campus is the most strategic place to make a difference. A native of Longmont, Co, Mazzarelli serves FOCUS as the Regional Director of the Southern Plains, which encompasses 14 campuses in 6 states (Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma).
FOCUS currently has over 350 full-time missionaries working on 83 campuses in 34 states, including the District of Columbia. FOCUS’ Main Thing is “Inviting college students into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church. Inspiring and equipping them for a lifetime of Christ-centered evangelization, discipleship, and friendship in which they lead others to do the same.”
Mazzarelli has seven years of missionary experience across the country, from University of Northern Colorado, Benedictine College, and the University of Connecticut. He has played a vital role in FOCUS’ mission not only in the management of dozens of missionaries throughout the year in his region, but also in developing and training thousands of missionaries and students to use practical resources for evangelization, disciple making, and Bible studies. In particular, Sam spearheaded the development of FOCUS’ Discipleship Road Map and Spiritual Multiplication Depth Chart. These resources have helped missionaries and students learn the vision behind evangelization and given them practical ways to live them out on campus.
Occupation: National Director of FOCUS Greek
Personal Twitter Account: @amandamtex
How do you take some of the most influential college students in America and turn them into evangelists for the Catholic Church? Meet Amanda Teixeira. She is the National Director and Founder of FOCUS Greek, an initiative of FOCUS. FOCUS Greek exists “to revolutionize Greek culture for Jesus Christ and His Catholic Church that impacts today, tomorrow, and eternity through raising up a transformed generation of fraternity and sorority leaders convicted to bring truth to the world.”
A native of Omaha, Nebraska, Teixeira was a student involved in Greek life herself at the University of Nebraska where she earned a Bachelor’s in Nursing. During college, Amanda joined Alpha Phi and spent four years living with some incredible women. She was also heavily involved with the Newman Center, FOCUS, and several on campus clubs and philanthropies. Upon graduation, Amanda joined staff with FOCUS and spent four years at the University of Illinois leading bible studies and mentoring others.
During those years, much of her work was spent with students in Greek life. It was during this time that Teixeira fully realized the impact of Greeks. For instance, over 85% of the students in campus leadership on 730 campuses are members of Greek-letter organizations. She and a few other FOCUS staff members began to meet and discuss how to reach Greeks on campus more effectively. After a couple years of grassroots efforts, Amanda officially launched FOCUS Greek. They now reach Greek students through the FOCUS model while providing these students and missionaries with specific training, resources, and opportunities to impact the students in fraternities and sororities.
Check out other 30 under 30 posts by category: