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Notre Dame Students Recognized as Saints in the City

Monsignor Francis Cilia greets Karissa Peinado ‘16 at Notre Dame High School's Confirmation Mass.

Notre Dame’s Freshman Family Liturgy introduces our freshmen and their families to our Catholic experience of liturgy, providing catechesis for people of all faiths with the goal of building familiarity, inclusion and shared faith practice for the community. Key to this “teaching” mass is the use of student commentators who explain each step in the liturgy in Catholic and multi-faith terms. One of the commentators this year was Karissa Peinado ‘16, who has been part of Notre Dame’s Peer Ministry Leadership Team for two years.

Karissa’s spiritual journey included the sacrament of Confirmation as well as two immersion trips, one to New Orleans with Notre Dame and the other to Tijuana, Mexico with Saint Julie Billiart Parish. “The people in these communities have such strong faith. I wanted to be part of bringing that back to ND and helping others find something to believe in,” shares Karissa. In addition to helping her Notre Dame sisters strengthen their faith, Karissa and Camille Miller ‘16 are working to establish an organization to provide school supplies and uniforms to students in Mexico as part of their Senior Service Learning Project (SSLP). “We left the community with some supplies when we were there and returned in October to bring clothes and additional supplies.”

In recognition of Karissa’s work at Notre Dame and in the community, the Diocese of San Jose recently presented her with the Saint Francis of Assisi award. The award, part of their first Saints in the City program, honors the young saints who possess a spirit of apostolic outreach. They witness with the joy of the gospel and evangelize their community fearlessly. The Saints in the City program honors young disciples in the Diocese of San Jose and was celebrated at a recognition banquet in November hosted by the Diocese of San Jose offices of Youth & Young Adult Ministries, Vocations, Evangelization & Apostolado Hispano. In addition to an address by Bishop McGrath, the event featured a keynote presentation, “Diamonds in the Rough: Raising Saints in a Secular Society” by Mark Hart, executive vice president of LifeTeen International.

Also recognized with the Santa Teresa award was Notre Dame sophomore Fatima Jacquez. This award recognizes a student who has embraced the breadth and depth of Catholic spirituality and understands the beauty of the interior life and longs to attain the greatest heights of holiness.

As Fatima continues her spiritual journey at Notre Dame and Saint Leo’s Parish, Karissa will be graduating from in the spring and moving on to study animal science at one of the universities in California.