Front Row: Patrick Drury, Youth Minister, Father Edwin Montanez, Parochial Vicar
2nd Row: Izzy Menchero, Business Manager, Father Gregory Kandt, Pastor, Al Reynolds, Administrative Assitant
3rd Row: Kristen Schenk, Coordinator of Justice and Charity, Deacon Chris Morash, Worship Director, Mary Ricciardi-Balsam, Administrative Assistant
4th Row: Nancy Brinkac, Christian Formation Minister, Steve Brown, Accountant, Lucy Pardee, Administrative Assistant, Alaina Furman, Charlottesville Fellow (Youth Program)
Missing: Deacon Bernie Taylor, Hispanic Ministry
Fr. Gregory Kandt, Pastor
Fr. Gregory is proud of 3 things: being a Catholic, a German, and a Southerner (no one of which goes very well with the other two). Raised in the Old Dominion of Virginia, he received his B.S. at James Madison University in the Shenandoah Valley. What did he do there? He “danced and studied Special Education on the side”. Fr. Gregory performed in the Folk Ensemble of the University Dance Theatre while studying modern dance and a little ballet for technique. Following college he performed Bavarian dance in Das Festhaus at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg before beginning his teaching career in Virginia public schools, teaching elementary school-aged mentally handicapped children. During that time he toured with an Appalachian folklore dance company, the Massanutten Mountain Cloggers. His last 2 years teaching was in a Catholic school in the Archdiocese of Washington, teaching regular 5th and 6th grades. This was when he began performing with Step-In-Time, a company that danced a modernized, urbanized style of clogging. Finally he landed at Theological College, the national seminary at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. He still dances traditional American dance for fun.
He has been a priest of the Richmond Diocese for 20 years, pastor at Incarnation for 9 (as of 2010).
He has many spiritual influences besides the Gospels, notably the Discalced Carmelite school, Blessed Charles de Foucauld, Dorothy Day, and Madonna House Apostolate, to name only a few (“Fr. G.”, as many young people call him [but anyone else can, too!], has a Cistercian heart and a Carmelite soul.)
He loves talking about spirituality and holy things, movies, playing games, reading, music, (of course, dance), and just hanging out with good people.
Get together with him to find out more, and so that he can discover all the richness about you!
.Fr. Edwin Montanez, Parochial Vicar
Fr. Edwin was born in Güicán (state of Boyaca), Colombia, a small town in the mountains near Bogota. He is the fourth of five sons, and his older brother, Rodrigo, is an Incarnation parishioner along with his wife Melissa and daughters, Olivia and Emma. From his early childhood – young Edwin was an altar server at age 7 – he felt the call to be a priest, and he was encouraged to follow his call by his pastors and the nuns in the Catholic schools he attended. After finishing his eight years of study at the Seminario Mayor in Bucaramango, Fr. Edwin went to Rome for advanced studies at Pontificia Universitas Lateranensis (Theology) and Pontificia Universitas Regina Apostolorum (MA in Bioética). Before coming to the U.S., he taught in the Regional Seminary de Bucaramanga.
Fr. Edwin enrolled in an English immersion course in Texas (he learned English with a Southwestern accent!), and then came across the U.S. to Church of the Incarnation to minister to the growing Hispanic community. His goal is “to accompany people in the Lord’s name to know and grow in faith and love and to become good disciples.” Fr. Edwin is devoted to his call to the priesthood.
Fr. Edwin enjoys reading about religious life, philosophy, theology, and psychology. He recently joined a gym and looks forward to “practicing sports” and particularly likes basketball. When in Rome he traveled around Europe and the Holy Land and enjoys visiting historical places. Perhaps his time in Virginia will offer him opportunities to expand this interest.
Deacon Chris Morash, Director of Worship
Deacon Chris was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada in 1950. He is the son of the late Parker and Mary Edith Morash and has a younger brother Nick and sister Mary-Anne who still live in Halifax. Chris attended St. Francis of Assisi Elementary School, St. Patrick’s High School and Dalhousie University there.
Chris began the study of piano at age seven and received his grade ten in piano through the Royal Toronto Conservatory of Music. In his first year of high school in 1965 and at the beginning of the liturgical changes of the Second Vatican Council Chris was invited to play the organ at St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica in Halifax, Nova Scotia for Sunday Liturgies. He remained there becoming the principal organist until 1971.
In 1971 Chris left Dalhousie University in Halifax and enlisted in the Canadian Forces as a musician. He was then posted to the Canadian Forces School of Music in Victoria, British Columbia from 1972-1974. It was during this time while a student musician at the Canadian Forces School of Music that Chris became the principal Organist and later Director of Music and Liturgy at St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Victoria. He collaborated closely with Bishop Remi De Roo, the then Bishop of Victoria and a father of the Second Vatican Council. During his twenty-four years in the Diocese of Victoria Chris facilitated many liturgy and music workshops within the diocese and outside of the diocese. For several years Chris was a member of the Liturgical Committee of the Western Conference of Canadian Bishops and for the last thirty years he has been a member of the National Pastoral Musicians.
During his many years in Victoria Chris was fortunate to bring to the diocese and work with many composers of liturgical music such as Carey Landry, Marty Haugen and the “St. Louis Jesuits” who were then living in Seattle, Washington. Chris sang in the choir for the St. Louis Jesuits recording “The Steadfast Love” in 1986 and was invited by Fr. Bob Dufford, SJ to write the keyboard arrangements for two of his compositions “All the Ends of the Earth” and “Save Us, O Lord,” subsequently published by Oregon Catholic Press.
Chris completed his Bachelor of Music in organ performance and conducting and graduated from the University of Victoria in 1994 “with distinction.” In 1996 Chris came to Charlottesville as Minister of Public Prayer and Worship at the Church of the Incarnation. He met his future wife Peggy Cornett in the parish and they were married on May 9, 1998. Peggy is the Director of the Center for Historic Plants at Monticello. Chris entered the Richmond Diocesan Permanent Diaconate Program in September of 1999 and completed his diaconal formation through the Benedictine School of Theology at St. Meinrad’s Archabbey. Chris was ordained a deacon by Bishop-Emeritus Walter Sullivan on February 15, 2003.
Deacon Bernie Taylor, Hispanic Ministry
For more then 26 years I have been blessed to serve as a deacon in the Catholic church. It has been a great privilege to work, live, and pray with others and to enter into the joys and struggles of their lives.
God has put in my heart a love for the needy, especially for the migrants from the Americas. For the past eight years it has been a joy to have served in ministry to the Spanish speaking people here at this parish and the surrounding area.
In 2008 Janice and I celebrated our 46th year of married life together in the very high (8 thousand feet) and very cold mountains of Guatemala. During the months of January and February we lived there with the Mayan people doing advanced studies in history, culture and the Spanish language of the Americas.
I was born in Jamaica Long Island. Before moving to Virginia, I worked as an IBM Field Engineer and in 1995 I started a Restoration and Alteration company in Babylon Long Island. Early in our marriage God called us to worship and to serve in a racially, culturally and economically diversified mission church in Wyandanch Long Island. I was richly blessed while working there with and among the poor and needy for more then 30years. God has graced us with five adult children and six grandchildren and many opportunities to meet new friends.
Izzy was born in Holguin, Cuba, and immigrated to the United States in 1961 at the tender age of 15. After finishing high school in Miami, Izzy moved to Connecticut to study history at Sacred Heart University, where he was a member of the first graduating class and where he so happened to bump into his future wife, Lynette. After a stint in Chicago where he earned his MA in Latin American Studies at Loyola University, he returned to Connecticut, married Lynette, began a career as a teacher and a coach, and added the title of “Dad” to his resume with the birth of daughter, Sumner. Izzy and Lynette dedicated themselves to Catholic education, both in their professional endeavors as teachers and within their own family, sending their daughter through 12 years of Catholic schooling.
In addition to his time in the classroom and on the athletic field, Izzy served in Catholic institutions as principal of St. Malachy’s School in Tamarac, FL; parish administrator of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs in Ft. Lauderdale, FL; development director at the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, an organization that works to aid immigrants entering the United States; and as both a team member and capital campaign director for two companies, specializing in fundraising campaigns in Catholic parishes and dioceses around the country. In these posts, he facilitated development efforts in churches and dioceses in Virginia, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, Georgia, and California. Izzy also served as Director of Development with the Roanoke Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross.
In his spare time, Izzy enjoys University of Miami football (with apologies to UVA fans), the Washington Nationals, Boston Red Sox, David Baldacci books, his dog with a Napolean-complex, and the company of his wife and daughter.
Nancy Brinkac, Director of Christian Formation
Nancy is a wife of 38 years, mother of Chris and Lauren, and grandmother of Kellylyn, who was involved in lay ministry at several parishes on both the east and west coast during two decades of moves necessitated by the career of husband Mike, a now-retired Navy helicopter pilot. Nancy earned a Bachelors degree in education and taught fifth grade. When Chris and Lauren were midway through elementary school, Nancy earned a law degree from the University of San Diego School of Law. She subsequently clerked for a federal magistrate judge, was an attorney in a commercial litigation firm in Florida for two years, and spent 16 years as an attorney in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, in Washington, D.C. It was during the latter career that Nancy’s faith deepened, and she felt called to serve the church more directly. Nancy entered a four-year program at Trinity College in Washington, D.C., called EPS (Education for Parish Service), which was designed to instill Catholic laity with the knowledge and tools to assume leadership roles in the church. After a year assisting a Director of Christian Formation in Easton, Maryland, where Mike and Nancy initially retired, Nancy applied for and was hired as the Director of Christian Formation at Incarnation. In 2007, Mike and Nancy made one more move to Charlottesville, which they liken to “coming home” at the warm welcome they received from all the Incarnation parishioners. Nancy says that it is a both a joy and a privilege to support the faith journey of so many souls as the Director of Christian Formation at Incarnation. She also enjoys hiking and fishing in the beautiful Piedmont region of Charlottesville.
Steve Brown and his family have attended Incarnation since 2000, when his wife Laura became the Social Justice Coordinator. In 2005 Steve, his wife, and their three daughters joined Maryknoll Lay Missioners and spent the next three years working with Maryknoll in Bolivia and Chile.
After returning to Charlottesville Steve and Laura founded the Charlottesville Catholic Worker, which provides housing for the homeless, and works toward sustainability and peace. Steve is a 1995 graduate of Notre Dame, and worked as a bookkeeper for St. Mary’s Church in Lovingston before joining the Incarnation Staff.
Steve has lived in eight different states, and three different countries, and is looking forward to settling in Charlottesville for a long time. He enjoys spending time with his family, bicycling to work, beekeeping, gardening, and playing the bass guitar.
Kristen is originally from Louisville, KY and attended Saint Louis University, where she studied international studies, chemistry, theology, and French (she couldn’t make up her mind). After she graduated, her desire to integrate her faith and her call to work for justice led her to spend two years as a Jesuit Volunteer in Belize, Central America. She was a social worker with families living in poverty, helping to empower them and enable them to improve various areas of their lives.
Outside of social justice interests, Kristen loves outdoor recreation (especially backpacking and hiking–she backpacked the El Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in northern Spain in 2008), biking, yoga, traveling, cooking and baking, do-it-yourself projects, gardening, and spending time with family and friends. She is grateful to be a part of such a welcoming community that puts great emphasis on reaching out to those in need and working for justice in our world.
Patrick Drury was born and raised in Alexandria, VA. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 2000 with a BA in psychology. While at UVA he served as the Chairman of the Catholic Students Association and was the founding President of One in Four, an all-male sexual assault peer education group. After graduating, he worked at Marymount University in Arlington, VA as the Assistant Director of Campus Ministry. In 2002 he married his lovely wife, Cynthia, and they moved to South Bend, IN where she received her MTS in Biblical Studies from Notre Dame. While there, Patrick worked as the Volunteer Coordinator at the local rape crisis center and then served as the Director of St. Joseph County Right to Life. Patrick then served for seven years as the Director of Youth Ministry at Good Shepherd in Alexandria, VA. He began serving at Incarnation in September 2011.
Patrick and Cynthia have two daughters, Isabelle and Sophia, who occupy a large amount of their time and energy. When not busy changing diapers or playing dress up, Patrick enjoys playing and watching sports, hiking, movies, board games, and eating (especially with friends).
Mary Ricciardi Balsam is originally from New York City. She graduated from Hunter College-Bellevue School of Nursing with a B.S. in Nursing. She joined the U.S. Army Nurse Corps in 1980 and specialized in Neonatal Intensive Care. Mary has seen many wonders of the world through her many moves. Along the way she stopped her career in nursing and enjoyed raising her two children Teresa and Anthony (Oh , did I mention she is Italian?). She has always been active in school, church and community life! Prior to moving to Charlottesville, Mary worked as Assistant to the Principal of Holy Family Catholic School in Dale City, VA. Mary met her husband and long-time Incarnation parishioner Bill Balsam while they both worked in a Retreat Ministry for the Divorced, Separated and Widowed called “Beginning Experience”. Bill & Mary were married in July of 2004. Mary joined Incarnation’s Pastoral Staff in October 2004. Mary enjoys reading, traveling “anywhere”, gathering weekly with her Cursillo Group, and training her Golden Retriever /Lucy/. She enjoys the natural beauty of this area and loves nothing more than celebrating life with a meal outdoors surrounded by family and friends!
Maria is originally from Long Island, NY and recently moved to the Charlottesville area with her family. She graduated from St John’s University with a degree in Education. She is a retired, former NYC Speech and Language Therapist who has worked with young adults with special needs for over 15 years. She went on to become an Evaluations Coordinator for an Early Childhood Intervention Agency while still in NY. Maria and her husband Frank are a blended family with 5 children, and 4 grandchildren. She enjoys do-it-yourself projects, cooking and spending time with family and friends on the weekends. Maria and her family are so happy to have moved to Virginia and look forward to exploring all of its beauty.