Meet Our Faith Formation Staff
Kayla Rooney, Director
Blessings! I am honored to be the Director of Lifelong Faith Formation and to be a part of one's faith journey. Prior to working in Parish life, I was a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) and gained experience working with people of all ages with special needs. In all of my work and volunteer experiences, I have been blessed to assist people in becoming the "best version of themselves" (Matthew Kelly). I look forward to continuing that here at St. Joseph Community. My husband and I live in Apple Valley with our 3 daughters. Our family has been blessed to grow through the beautiful gift of adoption (Heidi is from New York City; Eviana is from Seattle; Lucia is from Burnsville). I am originally from Wisconsin, and by what can only be described as a miracle, I am a Vikings fan. I enjoy going on family walks, camping, baking, decorating cakes, musicals/theatre, donuts, squeaky cheese curds (from Wisconsin!), and a good movie with a bowl of popcorn.
Gabriel Leahy, Coordinator of Youth Evangelization & Discipleship
My name is Gabriel Leahy (lay-he), and I am 22 years old with a bachelor’s degree in Theology from the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND. I have been on fire with the Lord my whole life, when growing up I could not decide between the military or the priesthood so I went to Saint Thomas Academy, where I would get the best of both worlds. While there, I discerned out of the priesthood, and due to a brain injury from wrestling, the military was taken off the table. So, now I wish to share my passion for the True, the Good and the Beautiful with anyone in shouting distance. Fun Facts: While I do enjoy playing videogames with my friends, I also love to go fishing and hunting. I recently got into archery, and I am very excited to try my hand at bowhunting as well. I currently live in Apple Valley with my wife and dog, Rufus. As cliché as its sounds, I am extremely blessed to have the opportunity to work with such an active community, together we can all grow closer to God.
Kathy Neary, Coordinator of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
I am the Coordinator of the Sunday School and the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd programs. In 2010 I retired from the University of St. Thomas where I was an Administrative Assistant in the Teacher Education Program. Prior to working as a Coordinator with the Faith Formation department, I was a Sunday School Catechist as well as a 1st Grade Catechist. Children and education are a passion of mine. I am the proud to be the mother of 4 children, and grandmother of 7 grandchildren.
For the safety and well being of our youth participants, all volunteers with the Faith Formation program must be in compliance with St. Joseph Community and the Archdiocese's Essential 3 Components: Background Check, Code of Conduct, and Safe Environment Training (VIRTUS). Click here to learn more about the Essential 3/VIRTUS.