A few months ago, Lisa Ann M. Limongello was happy earning a master’s degree in theological studies from Loyola University Maryland, Baltimore. But she was concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it might have on the future. 

So she placed her concerns before God in prayer, and now “here I am,” said Limongello, newly named parish catechetical leader for the linked parishes of St. James Parish, Pennington; St. George Parish, Titusville, and St. Alphonsus Parish, Hopewell. 

“I feel like God led me [here],” said Limongello, who will serve as director of religious education, work with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and oversee adult faith formation.  

Limongello admitted that accepting the position during a global pandemic has come with immediate challenges that won’t have permanent or simple solutions. 

“Our world is changing every day, our situations are unpredictable, and we have to constantly reimagine our programs and revisit best practices,” she said. One idea for developing a virtual religious education program is based on her own experience from last spring when she was a college student, tutor and facilitator, which was accomplished “all while sitting on my couch looking at a computer screen.” 

“I know how it felt to be on both sides of the classroom, so I can empathize with our families and catechists,” she said. “My goal is to make virtual learning as informative and energizing as I can.”  

Limongello is a resident of Toms River and lifelong member of the town’s St. Luke Parish. Her passion for serving the Church was instilled in her at a young age by her family. 

“The moment I could almost see above the altar, I signed up to be an altar server,” she recalled. As a teenager, “St. Luke’s was truly a second home for me. My family spent multiple days a week at the church volunteering, teaching religious education, coordinating parish-wide events and socializing with the community.”

After Confirmation, Limongello volunteered by working with parish youth during special sacramental retreats, altar server training, religious education classes and coordinating vacation Bible camps. 

Limongello  said she inspired to pass on the faith by her mother, Mary Ann Limongello, a catechist in St. Luke Parish for almost 20 years. “I watched her light up in the front of a classroom for so many years. She made a real difference in her students’ lives. She ignited their love for Christ and told them every day that she could see God in each and every one of them.”  

Limongello hopes to create a similar environment for the students of the three linked parishes. “I have been studying theology for the past six years, and it has only heightened my passion to spread God’s love, share my unique perspectives and knowledge, and to be a contemplative in action.”