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School of Theology and Ministry

Clarissa Aljentera, M.A. ’10

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After five years as a beat reporter for The Herald in Monterey, California, Clarissa Aljentera saw that the future of local daily newspapers writ small. As a round of layoffs began at her paper in 2008, she asked herself, “What else is God calling me to do?”

It was almost a rhetorical question for Aljentera. “I had always wanted to be in ministry,” she said, recalling her experiences in youth and young adult ministry while she was growing up in Fremont, California. When she applied to college, her parents urged her to consider other, possibly more lucrative paths. She settled on journalism, “because I like to talk to people and hear their stories,” and graduated from San Jose State in 2001.

Aljentera’s answer to the question of God’s calling led her to Boston College in September 2008. There, she became immersed in youth ministry—this time as a minister herself. She worked with undergraduates in the campus group Salt & Light for eight or more hours each week.   

STM professors generally advise students to “use your gifts,” Aljentera noted. Theresa O’Keefe, her professor in the course “The Practice of Ministry with Youth and Young Adults: Discernment in a Poly-Vocal World,” encouraged her to reach into her background as a media professional. She did, and wound up writing a thesis on using Facebook as a tool for campus ministry.

“Boston College opened up the possibilities of what I could do as a pastoral minister,” Aljentera said. “I was able to get in touch with what God wanted me to be and who I wanted to be.”

Since graduating from STM, Aljentera has worked at Northwestern University’s Chicago campus ministering to Catholic medical and law students. She is also author of a forthcoming book, The Parish Guide to Social Media: How Social Networking Can Recharge Your Ministry (Twenty-Third Publications), rooted in her Boston College experience.

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