Youth Ministry at Saint Theresa

Posted September 1, 2017

Saint Theresa’s Youth Ministry

“Christ says “Follow me” to each person…He says “Follow me” to each one of us.  And following him means walking after him, in his footsteps, following him with your mind, your will, and the whole of yourself.”

–St. John Paul II, The Way to Christ


Our Mission: The mission of Saint Theresa’s Youth Ministry is to help all of our young people develop a wonderful, life-giving relationship with Jesus.  It is the only thing that will make them happy, that will give them joy and contentment and meaning for the rest of their lives.

And it is fun!  There is nothing more enjoyable at a deep level than being part of a supportive group of young people and caring adults committed to building the Kingdom of God right here in Ashburn Virginia.

High School — Upper Room Squad

We seek to meet teens where they are.

For some that will mean going on our awesome adventure treks like hiking Buzzard Rock or tubing down a river.  Others love our relaxed Sunday invitation evenings with games, gospel contemplation, and pizza. Wednesdays are an opportunity to learn more about God in a warm and friendly setting.  And Mondays are small groups with the accompaniment of awesome adults, for those who want to launch a different type of adventure, that of deepening their faith journey.

Middle School — Rock Squad

One Saturday of the month the high school youth ministry hosts an exciting evening for 6-8th graders.  A great time is had by all, and everyone comes a little closer to God.

How We Form Disciples of Christ

At the heart of our ministry is the 7-Pillars of Discipleship Framework.  It is a road map for how to follow Christ with the wisdom of the Catholic Church.  It gives teens a toolkit they can use for the rest of their lives to understand how to encounter Jesus, to come to know Him as a friend, and to become the person they are meant to be:

Christocentrism:  Centering our lives on Christ and understanding our deepest identity as beloved sons and daughters of God.

Word:  Coming to know the mind of God through sacred scripture and the teachings of the Church.

Sacrament:  Receiving the grace of the sacraments, and being strengthened by them.

Prayer:  Learning to listen to and speak to God.

Will:  Knowing and doing the will of God.

Communio:  Living in relationship.

Purpose:  Finding the joyful fulfillment of one’s calling.


Adult Volunteers

We believe you can only give what you have, and we support our adult volunteers with a fulfilling ongoing communio formation program.  It is by knowing the love of God themselves that they are able to pour out the living water of faith for the youth they care so much about and whose good they seek to serve.

We would love for you to join us!

Whether you are in high school or middle school, a parent or an adult considering volunteering with the youth, we invite you to “Come and see.”

Who’s who in the Youth Ministry Office:

Paul Dwyer – Coordinator of Youth Ministry

Hi! My name is Paul Dwyer. I have been a parishioner here at St. Theresa’s since 1997.  I live here in Ashburn with my wife Colleen, and my two daughters, Casey & Jessie, who are now attending James Madison University and are active members of the Catholic Campus Ministry down there.  I began volunteering with the Youth Ministry here in 2014 and was brought onto the staff two years ago.  I love working with the teens and am very excited about the direction of our Youth Ministry.  We have such a wonderful community here in Ashburn and an amazing Parish in St. Theresa’s.  We would love for you to get involved with our group and we welcome all ideas and thoughts about growing our ministry.


Megan Bounds – Volunteer in of Youth Ministry

My name is Megan Bounds and I am a missionary disciple. My hope is to encourage the young people of today to recognize what is true, good and beautiful in our world. I want to support them on their journey to encountering the Word, having a conversion of the mind and heart to following Jesus Christ and his Church and assist them in creating habits that are proven successful as they trail blaze into the future and become missionary disciples. Armed with the scriptures, the teachings of the Church, the support of our amazing priests, parish and diocese, and all the parents and friends, I help accompany the teens on the narrow road as they find true freedom to be who they are called to be. I am humbled to be able to work with the youth and find I learn far more from them then they ever could learn from me. While I’m not doing Gospel contemplations, discussing the seven pillars or Theology of the Body as Pillar 2 coach (The Word), I work as a veterinary radiologist locally and love all my furry patients! I also travel as often as I can and try to explore fun new places, always looking for the local churches and patron saints! Totus tuus!


Theresa Carrescia – Volunteer in of Youth Ministry

Hi! My name is Theresa Carrescia. I am a life time parishioner of St. Theresa, a horse woman, a book worm, and am devoted to Jesus’ Divine Mercy. My idea of a good time is horseback riding, watching movies, reading and hanging out with friends and the teens at URS. I recently was a teenager and remember having many questions about the faith that I felt I could not voice. Now I have the opportunity to answer questions that teens might not feel comfortable asking “real adults”. I love the energy they have and I am inspired by how many want to go deep into the faith and be a breathing member of the body of Christ. I am a pillar 5 coach: Obedience. 


Jean Gibbs – Volunteer in Youth Ministry

Hi I’m Jean Gibbs, a retiree both surprised and delighted to find myself involved in Saint Theresa’s inspiring ministry to our teens. My Christian history began at age 20 not long after my Lutheran boss told me Jesus was God and died for my sins (something I’d never heard before.) I worked with teens most of my life from then until I became Catholic in 2001. Fr. Thomas called me back into active duty in 2015 with his assurance that it was Jesus’ idea, not his, that I join our great team of youth workers. My heart’s desire is that everyone—not just kids—know, love and trust the God who became one of us and died for our sins. The better we know God, the more we trust Him and understand that lasting happiness comes from willingly conforming our lives to His will. I am a Pillar 1 coach: Christocentricism!


Barbara Hochstein – Volunteer in Youth Ministry

Hi! My name is Barbara Hochstein.  I am a wife, mother, sister, daughter, high school teacher, and most importantly a beloved daughter of our Lord!  I LOVE almond milk lattes, hanging out with friends, nature, reading, being an URS adult leader and TEENS I Yes, you read that right!  Their curiosity and wonder and joy for life are contagious. My passion is helping the young hearts of teens discover the joy of forming a deeper relationship with Christ; walking with them on their spiritual journey through the trials and tribulations of teen life in this secular world and leading them to the Lord for their hope and peace in the Truth. I am a Pillar 7 coach: evangelization!


Jon Hochstein – Volunteer in Youth Ministry

Hi! My name is Jon Hochstein. I just graduated from Johns Hopkins University in May 2017 and am applying to medical school while working on a medical technology at the National Institutes of Health. I love working with kids of all ages and am really just a kid at heart. I am a new URS adult leader and am looking forward to encountering as many teens as I can and helping reveal the love of Christ to each of them. I am a scientist and engineer at heart and love the intersection of Catholicism and reason. So naturally, I love talking about all sorts of controversial issues and infusing Catholic theology with science based reason. Because hey, God created everything so you better be sure that the truth found in science reinforces and reveals the beauty in His theology!


Tricia Suarez – Volunteer in Youth Ministry

Hi, my name is Tricia Suarez.  I met my husband Mario at Notre Dame and we have been married for 14 years.  I was an elementary school teacher before our children were born (we now have 5 children; ages 4-12).  We have been members of St. Theresa parish since 2005.  I grew up in St. Louis, MO, where my own high school youth group helped me choose to love Jesus for myself; not because it was something I was supposed to do.  I am so lucky to be welcomed into the team of people who want to help fan the flame of faith in the youth of our parish.  This is definitely a wonderful group that you will want to be a part of!