Michaela Dean, Youth & Young Adult Minister
Accepting this position still feels like a dream. Late November was my first conversation with Fr. Pat and Fr. Brian about feeling a desire to pursue ministry full time, and less than eight months later here we are. Only God could have orchestrated the events in my life that led me to serving this parish family. I grew up in Delaware, Ohio, just north of Columbus. As the oldest of two, my younger sister and I were baptized Presbyterian and raised Methodist, but we were raised in the community of the church to have the morals of a Christian, but not necessarily the beliefs. After developing PTSD in middle school as the result of being hit by a car, I became a God-hating atheist. In high school I changed my title to agnostic since I couldn’t hate something that didn’t exist; God had to exist so I could hate him. I hated him for all the unanswered prayers, the lack of perceived intervention to help me, and so much more. As the anger and pain subsided, I began searching for the Truth. I started believing in a loving just God who does care, but it wasn’t necessarily the Christian God. I investigated every major world religion, practiced all of them for varying amounts of time and eventually found the most Truth in the Christian faith. I started college at Clemson University in 2015 continuing my search for the Truth in every Christian denomination in town. Being in the bible belt it was a lot of research and a wide variety of pews on Sunday. It came down to the Methodist Church and the Catholic Church. When I was mulling over my decision at a Mass, I felt a heartbeat in the cross of the rosary I was holding and I joined RCIA the very next day.
I officially joined the Church on November 20, 2016. That first year I integrated with the parish, joined the choir, and went to Mass as often as I could in our beautiful parish chapel. I attended the fall retreat as a Junior, which marked the start of my involvement in campus ministry. Within two weeks I was going on another retreat, and three weeks after that staffing another. I got involved in leading small groups, coordinating our Tuesday Night Dinners, being a RCIA sponsor, offering spiritual direction to other students, and helping to staff and run nine Awakening retreats in four states in two years. I felt a call to ministry, but I convinced myself I just needed to earn my degree first. I graduated from Clemson in December 2019 with a degree in Biology, focusing on Botany with a minor in Biosystems Engineering. Then 2020 happened. I had four jobs fall through at the last minute because of hiring freezes. As a result, I had to move back in with my parents.
In September of 2020 I started as an Agronomy Consultant at Synagro Technologies, working from home and in farm fields all over western Ohio. I don’t recommend moving to a city where you know no one in the middle of a pandemic when everything is closed. As an extrovert, those first 10 months were very lonely. In June of 2021, I started discerning parishes as everything started opening back up. By July I began meeting and planning to start the Young Adult Ministry, Dayton Catholic Revival, here at Incarnation. In August I became a parishioner at St. Francis of Assisi, and I began working Revive, and became the parish liaison for the Dayton Catholic Young Adult (DCYA) Board, which coordinates young adult ministry across the city. On my fifth anniversary of joining the church, November 2021, I celebrated Mass with 10,000 high school youth as a chaperone for Incarnation at NCYC, an experience that prompted my discernment for ministry full time. The eight months since have been filled with many community building parties and socials, small groups, discernment groups, Theology on Tap nights, candlelight Masses, a dating series, and more. Along with all the activities of young adult ministry, my boyfriend of nearly 7 years, Matthew, finally moved to Dayton, ending two years of long-distance dating. During this time the desire of my heart was to leave the corporate world and serve my church and its people. The past three months since hearing about the open position have felt like a daze, a dream come true, an avocation found. I have no doubt in my mind that serving this parish family is exactly where God wants me to be. I look forward to meeting all of you and helping the youth and young adults of this community to come to know and love the persons of the Trinity, empowering them to answer what God is calling them to do in their lives, and be missionary disciples in the world.
Your Sister in Christ,
Kevin Samblanet, Director of Music and Liturgy
This week we begin our new Mass times schedule. As I mentioned last week, the Nearer To God Band (n2Gb) will have a new permanent home in church at the Sunday, 11:30 am Mass. Sherri Masline will continue to lead this band along with guitarist Alex Abuyuan. What is new is that Sherri will now be the director of the Children’s Choir. This is a parish choir comprised of students from Incarnation, public schools, and those home schooled. Watch for announcements to sign up when schools reopen. The Children’s Choir will sing with the n2Gb at the 11:30 am Mass once a month to start. Sherri has been a valued member of the music ministry at Incarnation for years and we are happy and grateful she has accepted these roles with the energy and vitality they will require. She will continue to play the 8:00 am Sunday Mass once a month. Be sure to thank her and the members of the n2Gb for all they do to enhance our liturgies through music.