Dominican welcomes new director of ministry

By Diana Hernandez

September 4, 2013

Along with many renovations that occurred on campus this summer, one university department has undergone several changes itself.

University Ministry, a pinnacle department at Dominican, experienced a restructuring of positions over the summer. Shannon Green, former director, relocated to her native California, and Matt Palkert, former director of faith formation, moved back to Minnesota to take care of his family.

In July, John DeCostanza was welcomed on-board as the new director. He comes to Dominican from St. Ignatius College Prep, where he spent the last two years serving as director of formation and ministry.

“I am very happy to be part of this wonderful team and look forward to a great year building leadership and faith among students and colleagues,” he said. “I was immediately attracted to ways that Dominican continues to be a leader in social justice issues.”

DeCostanza, a graduate of St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia has been working in ministry for over 10 years. Beginning as a Jesuit Volunteer in San Diego, he organized people of faith to support a living wage campaign. He later volunteered at a prison and parish ministry in Chimbote, Peru.

Upon returning to the U.S., DeCostanza began working in ministry at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School on the southwest side of Chicago. Upon graduating from Loyola University with a master’s in both social work and divinity, he worked as a clinical social worker on the west side of the city.

Working in college ministry for the first time, DeCostanza is excited to transition to a different level of experience.

“Working with college students is a different kind of blessing,” he said. “You are all so very capable of deep reflection, incredible thought, and an admirable spirit to change the world.”

Specifically, DeCostanza has been working on a program for the first IMPACT seminar, which will take place on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

“It will be a day that will bring students together in the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement to develop personal tools to take civil action in addressing social problems,” he said.