UNIVERSITY of NOTRE DAME

INSTITUTE FOR CHURCH LIFE

Echo 12 Galveston-Houston

Mookie Manalili

Echo Class:
Echo 12 Theology Teacher

School & Diocesan Placement:
Strake Jesuit College Preparatory
Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston

Hometown:
Santa Clarita, California

Undergraduate Institution & Area(s) of Study:
Loyola Marymount University, 2015
Civil Engineering
Catholic Studies, Applied Mathematics (minors)

What are your favorite hobbies and activities outside of your ministry work?
My favorite hobbies include making calories delicious through cooking, finding meaning in between words through poetry, making colors dance through art, and enjoying the “living waters” through surfing. Oh and laughing with God at the silly, simple things.

What attracted you to Echo and helped you decide to join the program?
After undergrad, there was the seed of desire to give myself to a year or two of service. However, Echo struck a chord in my soul, because the program not only allowed me to journey beside others but to be formed further myself.

What is the most significant thing you’ve learned in Echo?
The most significant thing I have learned from Echo is that our faith is both simple and deep. Simple, because our faith tradition is rooted in Love. Deep, because it will take a life-time (and more) to unpack and truly understand what those few words contain.

What do you hope to do after Echo?
After Echo, I hope to share my care with those who are in need of the corporal works of mercy; and, perhaps in a selfish sense, to also learn from them the root of humility. Down the line, I would like to serve with my significant other in countries and areas that would need our talents and gifts the most.

Sara Spittler

Echo Class:
Echo 12 Theology Teacher

School & Diocesan Placement:
St. Agnes Academy
Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston

Hometown:
Wheaton, Illinois

Undergraduate Institution & Area(s) of Study:
University of Notre Dame, 2015
Theology, Peace Studies, Italian

What are your favorite hobbies and activities outside of your ministry work?
Teaching is a lot of work so I haven’t had much time to get back into my hobbies. However, I do enjoy reading, knitting, crafts, writing, and spending time with YouTube or Netflix. I love travel and photography. Also, I’m somewhat addicted to online shopping.

At my placement, I spend most of my time with my community members. They’re fantastic and they truly relate to everything I’m doing at work. We love to play board games and go to the movies together.

What kinds of things are you up to in your Echo school?
Teaching takes up 85% of my time, but I have had the opportunity to participate in the Rosary Club and I will be joining the sophomores and juniors on their retreats in the upcoming months. I’m still hoping to get involved in some other ways, but I’m trying to focus on preparing lessons and grading tests for the first semester.

What is the most significant thing you’ve learned in Echo?
Echo goes way beyond classroom learning – it has taught me how to be adaptable, how to prepare for big tasks in small amounts of time, and how to share my faith with others in a relatable way. Most significantly, however, I have learned what it means to serve the Church and be a minister on various levels.

What do you hope to do after Echo?
After Echo, I would love to work in international peace and justice for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops or the Vatican.

Chris Siemann

Echo Class:
Echo 12 Theology Teacher

School & Diocesan Placement:
Strake Jesuit College Preparatory
Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston

Hometown:
Naperville, Illinois

Undergraduate Institution & Area(s) of Study:
University of Notre Dame, 2015
Theology

What are your favorite hobbies and activities outside of your ministry work?
I love singing generally and particularly singing in musicals! Theater is a great passion of mine, whether we are talking about musicals or straight plays, and whether I am participating on stage or as an audience member. Music is a constant part of my life, in various forms. Also, whenever I get the chance, I love playing and watching baseball and tennis.

What kinds of things are you up to in your Echo school?
I am teaching 5 sections of Theology 1, which puts me in front of 131 young men daily. Having one prep has been helpful thus far regarding self-reflection–by the 5th go around, I know the ins, outs, flaws, and strengths of my lesson and can accurately take notes for next time, improving as I go. I also am one of the assistant theater directors here, so I go to rehearsal at least two times a week and am the “acting coach,” working on the side with individuals on scenes and/or monologues.

What is the most significant thing you’ve learned in Echo?
Having the freedom to fail is invaluable. Echo gives us that freedom to fall and to fail, but then allows and pushes us to grow and learn from those bumps and bruises–growing all the more stronger.

What advice would you give to Echo applicants?
If you feel like this program will challenge you, DO IT!! That is how the most fruit is borne. The application and interview process itself is a fantastic discernment tool–use it to gauge how you react to these topics and aspects of formation being talked about and focused on.