Fr. Christopher Stanish
Fr. Chris was born in South Chicago (Go White Sox!), but was raised in Hammond. He is the fifth of nine children. As his family continued to grow they moved to Portage where his parents and younger siblings still reside.
Fr. Chris graduated from Andrean High School and started studying Math Education at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Steubenville, Ohio. After a year, he transferred to Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary at St. Mary’s University in Winona, Minnesota. He spent three years there studying Philosophy and Spanish. After graduation, Bishop Melczek sent him to Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan. He spent four years there studying Theology. By the time he finished, he completed three different Master’s Degrees, one of which has a concentration in spirituality.
When he finished all of his studies, he came back to the Diocese of Gary and was ordained a priest on June 7, 2014. For his first two years of priesthood he was assigned to Queen of All Saints Parish in Michigan City. He taught two classes while he was there – one on Scripture and one on Prayer. He was named the temporary administrator there while the pastor took a three month research sabbatical.
As for some of his hobbies, he loves to be outdoors. He likes to cycle, run, swim, kayak, etc… He used to be really big into racquetball when He was in the seminary. He is an avid reader, coffee drinker, and health food fanatic… He works hard, he prays hard, and he loves every minute of it.
To email Fr. Chris, click here.
Scott Chuchla ~ Campus Minister
Scott joined St. Teresa’s in 2014, coming from the University of Dallas, where he served as a Campus Minister. Previously, he was a missionary at Florida State University. He earned a Master’s in Pastoral Ministry from the University of Dallas and a BS in Business from the University of Central Florida. He has spoken at many events, seminars, and conferences and his favorite topics are Scripture, relationships, and the Incarnation. Scott has a great sense of humor and will go to great lengths to make others laugh. He was born and raised in Orlando, loves being outdoors, and the beach is his favorite place to spend time. To email Scott, click here.
Bob Marben ~ Deacon
Deacon Bob Marben, along with his wife Karen, has been actively involved with St. Teresa of Avila since 1994. Together they have six children and nine grandchildren. Bob was ordained on June, 4, 2011 and was assigned to St. T's along with pastoral work with the Diocesan Office of Youth and Young Adults. He holds a Bachelor's degree from St. Joseph in Organizational Management. While completing his Masters in Pastoral Studies from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, he enjoyed his studies in Italy, along with his studies in Greece and Turkey which took him on the footsteps of St. Paul. Bob is not shy about his love of Scripture and how Christ is alive in our lives today...his mantra is, "What do you want me to do for you?" (Mk10:51) So just ask him! To email Deacon Bob click here.
Carol Niepokoj ~ Bookkeeper/Office Support
Carol joined St. Teresa’s in July 2014. She worked at St. Patrick School, Chesterton as bookkeeper and is happy to be back working in a church setting. Carol was born in Arizona, raised in Chicago, and then moved to Indiana. She enjoys time spent with her husband and son, skiing, bicycling, walking her beagles, and loves Lake Michigan. To email Carol, click here.
Christine Harsh ~ Secretary
Christine has been a member of St. Teresa's since April of 2001 and employed as secretary since June of 2007. She was born and raised in South Bend, Indiana, graduated from Indiana University in Bloomington and moved to Valparaiso in 1998. Christine is a fan of college basketball and admits that it's hard to choose which team to cheer for...IU or Purdue!! She enjoys spending time with her daughters, walking her dog, bicycling, working in her yard, playing a game of Euchre and even going bowling!! To email Christine, click here.
Sue O'Connell ~ Director of Faith Formation
Sue O’Connell is a lifelong Catholic and longtime member of St. Teresa’s, joining in 1999. Her first role at St. T’s was the developer and director of the RCIA program. After spending 11 years building the team and processes, Sue moved onto the Stewardship commission. Sue’s work career took her from high school teacher, to technology professional in the manufacturing world, to director of program and project management at CME Group in Chicago. Last October, the Holy Spirit called her away from corporate America to take care of her parents and spend the last few months with her mom as she transitioned from this earth to her heavenly reward. Now Sue has discerned that she is being called to serve the community of St. Teresa’s as Director of Faith Formation.
Faith, spirituality, and worship have always been highly important to Sue, and most especially liturgy and the sacraments. Sue likes to spend time outside connecting with God through nature, and loves to read and especially to write about her faith. Sue’s organizational skills and love for connecting people to Christ are the gifts that she plans to use to maintain and build faith formation at St. T’s. Sue is a frequent contributor to the bulletin reflections and a member of the women’s bible study. Sue made a Cursillo weekend in 1995 and a CRHP weekend at St. T’s in 2013.
Sue attended catholic schools through college, holds a degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from Clarke University, and expects to receive her MBA from VU in December. Sue relates strongly to the first disciples who were fishermen and tax collectors, a background that made them unlikely candidates for ministry as apostles, but also made them rely more deeply on Christ. Sue sees herself as a servant to the community and welcomes requests for assistance, especially in areas of faith development. Although Sue’s title is Director of Faith Formation, she relies on the guidance of the Holy Spirit who she considers the True Director of all of our faith activities. To email Sue, click here.
Michelle joined St T’s staff in 2011 after returning to Indiana from California and Colorado! Michelle is a VU alumni and was active at St T’s during her time at VU. She studied Psychology, Theology and Youth and Family Ministry. She also ran on the cross country and track teams and served with the youth and children at St T’s. She met her husband, Nick, during their senior year teaching confirmation! After graduating, she moved to Pasadena, CA to attend Fuller Seminary and received an MA in Youth, Family and Culture (a youth ministry-focused degree). At Fuller, she also had the opportunity to work with the 5th and 6th grade students at Saddleback Church in Orange County. After Fuller, Nick and Michelle moved to Colorado where Nick worked on his Masters of Engineering at CU Denver and Michelle served as the Middle School Youth Director at Rockland in Golden, CO.
Now that they’ve moved back to the area Michelle’s excited to be working with the middle school and high school students here at St. Teresa! She’s thrilled to be back ‘home’ at Valpo and St. T’s and loves working with the local community! Watch for upcoming youth events! To email Michelle click here firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Teresa’s has a peer ministry program that fosters future leaders in the Church. Three students live in our on-site house, called the Green House, and work an average of 15 hours per week in one of three assigned areas: Community Life, Outreach and Marketing, and Service and Justice. We are so excited about this ministry here at St. Teresa’s! Here are this year's Peer Ministers:
Outreach and Marketing ~ Steven Byers
Hi, my name is Steven Byers. I’m from Valparaiso Indiana and attended St. Elizabeth Ann Seton before I
came to VU. I’m going into my senior year and studying mechanical engineering.
At VU, I am involved with Valpo Robotics, Science Olympiad and ASME (American
Society of Mechanical Engineers). At St. T, I help out with youth ministry (I
was the youth ministry intern this past summer), I serve as a Eucharistic minister,
and I’m a nightly dweller of the student lounge. In my spare time, I play
racquetball and video games, binge watch TV shows on Netflix, and go on
adventures with my friends. Over the past 3 years, St.T has had a huge impact
on the development of my spirituality and understanding of my faith. I hope that
as a peer minister, I can help other students get just as much out of their
time here as I have.
Community Life ~ Matt Wilson
Hi everyone! I’m a senior meteorology major from New
Franklin, Ohio (a suburb of Akron), and I’m excited to be your Community Life
peer minister this year. At Valpo, I’m involved with the Valparaiso University
Storm Intercept Team, Valpo’s American Meteorological Society chapter, VUTV,
and WVUR. I’m also the president of Valpo’s chapter of Chi Epsilon Pi, the
meteorology academic honor society. In my spare time, my hobbies include
hiking, reading, and photography. This year, I’m looking forward to planning
all sorts of fun events and adventures for St. T’s!
Service and Justice ~ Rebecca Greaney
Hi, my name is Rebecca and I’m a
senior at VU this year, studying English and Communications/PR. I’m from
Lowell, Indiana, and I love reading and all things Harry Potter (seriously, there
isn’t a Harry Potter trivia question I don’t know the answer to)! I’m also
really enthusiastic about art, and enjoy drawing and painting. On campus, I am
an Assistant Editor for Valparaiso
Fiction Review, an Honor Council student member, and a member of Sigma Tau
Delta and Lambda Pi Eta (academic honor societies for the English and
Communications departments). St. T’s has been an integral part of my college
experience, and for the last three years, I’ve enjoyed being involved with Café
Manna, several retreats, and spring break service trips. I’m so excited to have
the opportunity to give back to a community that has given me so much. I can’t
wait to get to know more students and community members, and to share my
passion for service and social justice with everyone!