Hello everyone, I’m Joe Neidhard (rhymes with “ride hard”). I’m a Cincinnati native and alum of Walnut Hills High School and Miami University. Along with being a for-better-or-for-worse Reds fan, I’m an avid runner, trivia buff, and wannabe woodworker. I’ve been singing since middle school, and you might see me cantoring at St. John’s some Sundays.
I first became involved in youth ministry the summer after 10th grade when I was convinced to go on my parish’s annual mission trip to Appalachian Kentucky. This would turn out to be the first of eight service trips I would take there in the next decade. It was in Kentucky that I first saw how enlivening a like-minded community of faith can be for high schoolers, and I immediately became an active member of my youth group. After four years in Catholic Campus Ministry at Miami, I eventually found myself as part of the inaugural group for the IGNITE youth ministry internship program at the Jesuit Spiritual Center at Milford, where I worked for three years. It was there I fostered an understanding of my vocation for youth ministry. It’s my hope to inspire the younger generations to “Go forth and set the world on fire” as St. Ignatius would say.
I seek to expose our community’s 7-12th graders to the beautiful depth and diversity of our Catholic faith, be it through youth group, confirmation preparation, or service/mission work. God has an undying desire to fill our hearts and act through us, and I hope St. John’s can make that truth obvious for our young people.
A priest friend once asked him, “Aren't you afraid sometimes, Dan, that you're asking a little too much of young people? Here you're asking them to be interested in everything under the sun and to lead not just good lives, but saintly lives. Isn’t it too much, and can’t it be discouraging to them?”
“Leo,” he said, “you can't ask too much of youth—it's impossible.”
-Daniel Lord, SJ in The Fifth Week by William O’Malley