Summer 2023 Totus Tuus Missionaries
Learn about the men and women who are serving as Totus Tuus Missionaries throughout our diocese.
Team: St. Michael the Archangel
Hometown: Syracuse, NY
Hello everyone! My name is Jacob Cottet and I’m really excited to be returning to serve as a Totus Tuus missionary this summer! I just finished up my second year at Le Moyne College, where I am studying physics. I am also grateful to have the opportunity to run on the cross country and track teams at Le Moyne. Serving as a missionary last year was such a gift, and I am looking forward to what the Lord has in store for this year. The various people and stories I encountered last summer only further vindicated my faith!
My favorite saint has to be St. Lawrence, who is also my confirmation saint. He dedicated his life to the people he served, even giving up his own life. I frequently sought his intercession last summer, using his model of dedication and sacrifice as motivation for my own service as a missionary.
A fun fact about me is that I love going for walks with my dog, Willie!
Hometown: Greenville, NY
Hi everyone! My name is Fiona Donlon, and this will be my first summer being a part of Totus Tuus! I'm a rising sophomore at Franciscan University where I am studying nursing with the plan to become a pediatric nurse practitioner. I'm so excited to have the opportunity to share the Gospel and love of Christ with others this summer, as well as grow in my faith.
My favorite Saint is St. Joan of Arc because of her fearless courage and trust in God, which I try to emulate in my own life: "Go forward bravely. Fear nothing. Trust in God; all will be well."
A fun fact about me is I play on the Women's Basketball team at Franciscan! Looking forward to meeting you all this summer!
Hometown: Cicero, NY
Hello! My name is Gianni Verginio, and I’m currently studying to become a priest for the Diocese of Syracuse. I’m currently in my 4th year of College, in the fall I will be attending Saint Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore to complete my Masters degree in Theology.
I was assigned by the Diocese to do the Totus Tuus program for the summer. I think it will be a great opportunity to evangelize, and to share my vocation.
My favorite Saint is Padre Pio. I deeply admire his willingness to sacrifice his life to Christ, and his devotion to the crucified Lord.
In my free time, I love playing sports. Basketball, Football, Soccer, baseball, whatever it is I just love to stay active.
Hometown: Canonsburg, PA
Hello! My name is Lauren Brandl. I'm from Canonsburg, Pennsylvania where I was homeschooled all the way through high school.
Currently a freshman at Franciscan University of Steubenville, I’m studying for Early Childhood Education. For this reason, I want to gain some experience teaching God's children. More importantly, I love teaching little children, and it brings me so much joy.
I have many cherished saints, but my favorite is St. Therese of Lisieux. She found me before my Confirmation, and she has followed me ever since. I love her Little Way because the main aspect it focuses on is being a beloved daughter of the Father through trust and humility.
I enjoy calligraphy, card-making, and drawing with pencils.
Team: St. Joan of Arc
Hometown: Barnesville, MN
Hello! My name is Elizabeth Peppel and I'm a rising sophomore at Franciscan University of Steubenville. I am studying social work with a minor in sociology.
This is my first year serving with Totus Tuus and I am so excited! I chose to serve with Totus Tuus because prior to my time here at Franciscan, I had the opportunity to serve as a full-time missionary for two years with NET Ministries. In that time, I saw what a gift it was to encounter the Church in such a unique way. I am especially excited to be an instrument for the Lord to use this summer!
My favorite saint is St. Elizabeth of Hungary. Although I am not named after her, she is my confirmation saint! I especially admire her humility. St. Elizabeth grew up in a royal family but tried to live a life in unity with the poor. One of my favorite quotes of hers is "how could I possibly bear a crown of gold when the Lord bears a crown of thorns? And bears it for me!"
One fun fact about me is that I love to travel! In total, I have visited 3 countries and 30/50 states!
Hometown: Utica, NY
Hi! My name is Jonathan Hoole, and right now I am in seminary for the Diocese of Syracuse. I am entering into my first year of theology at Mount Saint Mary's Seminary.
I am teaching Totus Tuus as a summer assignment for the diocese. I think it will be a great way to grow in my knowledge of the faith and how to express the truths of the Catholic Church to others of varying ages and backgrounds!
One of the hardest questions I am asked is what is my favorite saint. I would say I am stuck between a few but I will say Saint Sebastian is towards the top of my list. He is my confirmation saint and the patron of Athletes. He converted many at the cost of his own life. Even after being left for dead full of arrows "like a hedgehog" he went back to the same Emperor who had sentenced him to death so as to condemn his persecution of Christians in which the Emperor ordered Saint Sebastian to be executed once again in which he finally received the Crown of Martyrdom.
A fun fact about me is that I studied for two years to be a history teacher and history is still one of my favorite hobbies!
Hometown: Ponder, TX
What’s up!! My name is Reece Pagel, and I will be a sophomore at Oklahoma State University this fall (go pokes!!!). I plan to major in Human Nutrition with a concentration in dietetics and minor in American Sign Language.
I am doing Totus Tuus this summer because I feel blessed to have had such incredible people to guide me in my faith throughout my life, and I want to be able to provide that same guidance to others and teach them how to better love, praise, and serve God!! I am super excited to do Totus Tuus in the Diocese of Syracuse because I’ve never been to the Northeast, and I can’t wait to meet all new people!!
My favorite saint is always changing, but right now, I would say my favorite is Pope Saint John Paul II because of his intentional love and his recognition of the value of offering up our suffering for the salvation of souls. Honorable mentions include Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, my confirmation saint; Saint Olga, whose story is an incredible testament to God’s mercy; and Moses the prophet, who saint-stalked me earlier this semester!!
A fun fact about me is that I am a HUGE fan of impressions; it doesn’t matter if they’re good or bad. Some of my favorites I’ve heard are Scooby-Doo from an Olive Garden waiter and Bob Ross from a blood donation employee.
Hometown: Hanover, CT
Hi there! My name is Isaac Turner, I'm a Sophomore at Franciscan University, studying Business Management. I’m a track and field athlete, I compete in javelin.
I’m the youngest of 8, with 28 nieces and nephews! I’m working on Totus Tuus because I'm good with kids, and I love sharing the childlike joy they have, and bringing them knowledge of the love God has for them.
My favorite saint is St. Anthony of Padua, my confirmation saint.
Team: St. Joseph
Hometown: Lancaster, OH
Hello, my name is Dominic Neighbor. I am currently a Sophomore Theology and Catechetics Major at Franciscan University of Steubenville. I am a part of the Apprentices of Saint Joseph Household, a men's group on campus, where we strive to be another Saint Joseph in the world today.
I want to be a high school theology teacher one day and teaching at Totus Tuus is a great opportunity to get some experience in this field. The past two summers I have served as a missionary with Damascus Catholic Mission Campus through Catholic Youth Summer Camp, through this I've grown to love sharing the faith with the young people in the world today. As a Totus Tuus missionary I want to continue being a witness and share the love and joy that comes from Christ by fully living out the Catholic faith.
My top 5 Saints:
- Mom (Mama Mary is just the best!)
- Saint Joseph: Terror of Demons and Guardian of the Redeemer
- Saint Maximillian Kolbe (my confirmation saint and a pretty cool dude!)
- Saint Philip Neri
- Blessed Chiara Badano
Fun fact about me is that I've built tiny houses!
Hometown: Syracuse, NY
Hi! My name is Cecilia D'Alberto, and I am a rising sophomore at Niagara University. At Niagara, I am majoring in chemistry, and minoring in biology. I am blessed to work in a chemistry research lab, where I spend most of my time when I am not in class.
I am so excited to be a Totus Tuus missionary this year because I have a passion for connecting with people, and helping them find the love of Christ in their lives. I am so excited for the opportunity to teach others more about their faith while growing in mine!
I have so many favorite saints, but my favorite saint is actually St. Cecilia. Her fearlessness and devout nature through her faith in the Lord is so inspiring to me. She is also the patroness of musicians, and music has always been a huge part of my life. I continue this passion for music by playing cello at Sunday evening Mass at university each week.
A fun fact about me is that I love spending time outdoors, especially hiking. I love any adventure!
Hometown: Federal Way, WA
Hi everyone! My name is Joshua Navos, and I'm a junior at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, studying philosophy and theology. I'm so excited to serve as a Totus Tuus missionary this summer! I hope to use the gifts that God has given me to build up the Body of Christ, and to show every youth that I encounter that they are loved by the Father that they each have an irreplaceable part to play in the Church.
My patron saint is St. Maximilian Kolbe. His story of self-sacrifice for a stranger has always struck me as a sign of how our love for God ought to overflow into our love for neighbor. Also, St. Maximilian's devotion to the Blessed Mother has inspired me to grow closer to Our Lady in my daily life. Ever since my Confirmation, St. Maximilian has grown to be my friend, who constantly guides me back to Jesus and Mary.
One fun fact about me is that I can play 4 instruments! (guitar, piano, ukulele, violin)
Hometown: McGraw, NY
Hello everyone! I’m Hannah Fitzgerald, I go to SUNY Cobleskill and I am studying to earn a bachelor's degree in Canine Training and Management and an associates degree in Early Childhood Education.
This will be my second year teaching as a Totus Tuus missionary. I do it because it is awesome. I get to spend hours everyday in prayer and I can introduce young people to Jesus, the sacraments, and the saints - that to me is pretty amazing.
I could talk about saints all day, there are so many I love. My mom and I have a special devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Bernadette. One of my favorite saints is probably St. John Bosco though. Originally, I liked him because God sent a great big dog to protect him and I love dogs. But, I also love and admire his zeal for the Church, especially in ministering to young people.
One fact about me is I like to play sports and to be outside with my dogs.