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Father Gabe Zeis, T.O.R.

Director & Chaplain

Father Gabe Zeis, T.O.R. is the Chaplain for the Aquinas Institute at Princeton University. With degrees in education and theology, one from the University of Saint Thomas, Minnesota, another from Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and an undergraduate degree in Education from Saint Francis University, Lorretto, PA, Father Gabe has served in many capacities in all arena of education, from the elementary level through higher education, most recently serving as president of Saint Francis University. He has a heart for the classroom and has extensive teaching experience. He also has an interest in creative writing and has submitted work to various religious periodicals. Father realized the importance of connecting Theology with service and ministry, as we are all called to be instruments of God’s peace and love for others.  With that said he is excited to serve the Catholic community here at Princeton University. Father Gabe will also be Vicar for Catholic Education in the Diocese of Trenton, NJ.  He can be contacted at fr.gabezeis@gmail.com

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Stephany Tuchez

Business Manager

Stephany Tuchez, from Hightstown, NJ, graduated from Rutgers University, with a B.A. in Labor Studies and Employee Relations. Stephany has been married since 2009 and has three children. As a very busy mom, you can always catch her cleaning, organizing, and “going somewhere!” Among her various interests, Stephany enjoys spending quality time with her husband in the kitchen, experimenting with new dishes. Stephany believes that the way to a person’s heart starts with a good meal. She is very passionate about growing in her Catholic faith and eager to serve the Catholic community at Princeton University. Click here to contact Stephany. 

 
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Don Carolina

Director of Music & Chapel Organist

Don Carolina is the Organist and Director of Music for the Aquinas Institute.  He is from Richmond, VA, and studied Music at Westminster Choir College.  Don has held Music Director positions in New York City, New Jersey and Virginia. One of the highlights of his career was a choir tour with St. Bartholomew Catholic Church to London, Germany and Austria as organist. The ensemble performed at the tenth annual Salzburg Music Festival and performed Mozart's Missa Brevisin C for High Mass at Salzburger Dom. He is thrilled to work with student organists and choir members, and is excited about building a thriving music program for the Catholic community at Princeton. He is an avid tennis player and enjoys antiquing.  Click here to email him. 

 
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Father Joe Thomas ‘99

Assistant Chaplain

Fr. Joe is a native of Bradenton, Florida. He graduated from Princeton in 1999 and later did graduate work in English Literature at New York University, where he received a Master’s Degree. He later switched to Theology, getting a Doctorate from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome in 2011. In that same year he was ordained to the priesthood. After nearly six years of pastoral work with students and professionals in Dallas, Fr. Joe is happy to return to Princeton and assist Fr. Gabe in the work of the Catholic chaplaincy. He can be reached at jthomas@exchange.Princeton.EDU

 
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Diana (Di) Hernandez '17

Associate Campus Minister for Evangelization

Di is a member of the Princeton Class of 2017 who majored in Psychology with a certificate in East Asian Studies/Chinese.

She was born and raised in Ecuador, where volunteering led her to believe that one of the most effective ways to serve others is by helping them grow closer to God. Di coordinates Aquinas’ Small Group Bible Studies, One on One Discipleship program, and student leadership training. In addition to her role as Associate Campus Minister, she is involved in a Catholic organization: Bonds of Marian Love. She spent a year in between high school and college doing missionary work in New Jersey and New York. She loves Aquinas because it challenges her to live her faith more fully every day and help others deepen their relationship with God. Di also enjoys playing sports, playing the guitar and talking to people.

Contact Di at dh11@princeton.edu.

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Danna Hargett

RCIA Director

Danna Hargett, Ph.D. moved to Princeton in 2006 as a Fellow in the Molecular Biology Department after completing her doctorate in Virology. A South Carolina native, she fell in love with the vibrant creative & intellectual community in Princeton and decided to stay in town after leaving academics. She is a Project Manager at Alcimed.  When not working, she can be found serving daily mass at St. Paul's and running the Mann Einstein Players Theater Company.  At Aquinas, she is a member of graduate fellowship, enjoys singing in the Choir and teaching people about how science interacts with faith. Danna, a convert, is passionate about helping students deepen their faith through teaching the fundamentals of the faith at RCIA and through personal devotion, such as feeding the hungry at Loaves and Fishes and taking students on Pilgrimage. Please feel free to reach out to her, click here to email. 

RJ Snell

Coordinator of the Institute for Catholic Life at Princeton

R.J. Snell is Contributing Editor of Public Discourse and Director of the Center on the University and Intellectual Life at the Witherspoon Institute. Previously, he was for many years Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Philosophy Program at Eastern University and the Templeton Honors College, where he founded and directed the Agora Institute for Civic Virtue and the Common Good.

He earned his M.A. in philosophy at Boston College, and his Ph.D. in philosophy at Marquette University. His research interests include the liberal arts, ethics, natural law theory, Thomas Aquinas, the Catholic intellectual tradition, and the work of Bernard Lonergan, SJ.

Snell is the author of Through a Glass Darkly: Bernard Lonergan and Richard Rorty on Knowing without a God’s-eye View (Marquette, 2006), Authentic Cosmopolitanism (with Steve Cone, Pickwick, 2013), The Perspective of Love: Natural Law in a New Mode (Pickwick, 2014), Acedia and Its Discontents (Angelico, 2015), and co-editor of Subjectivity: Ancient and Modern (Lexington, 2016) and Nature: Ancient and Modern (Lexington), as well as articles, chapters, and essays in a variety of scholarly and popular venues. He and his family reside in the Princeton area.

Email RJ for questions or more information.


ABOUT US

The Pastoral Team that has been formed is at the service of the Church of the Diocese of Trenton with its main mission being that of the Catholic Community of Princeton University. The mandate to serve was bestowed upon this ministry by the Bishop of the Diocese of Trenton. The ministry of the Aquinas Institute follows all the mandates and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. 

The ministry team of the Aquinas Institute welcomes all, no matter what one’s history or background brings them here; the ministry of the Aquinas Institute welcomes all students no matter their spiritual or religious state. We are here to serve, to strengthen, to comfort and console. But above all, we are here to welcome all to the love that is Jesus Christ. We are not here to judge, we are here to heal and forgive, to show compassion and mercy.

There are many styles of prayer and worship within the Catholic tradition. There are many Rites and practices among Catholics. The ministry team at the Aquinas Institute does not hold any particular practice more important than another; all aspects of approved Catholic worship are welcome and encouraged. All types of prayer that are approved by the magisterium are welcome at the Aquinas Institute. 

All members of the team have been approved by the Diocese of Trenton and the Office of Religious Life at Princeton University. They have all been certified under “Protecting God’s Children.” Background checks have been recently provided to the Office of Religious Life on all team members. The team follows all “best practices” relative to safety and care of its member community.

Team members who initiate small-group encounters must follow the rules relative to such small groups that can be found on this website. 

Each member of our team is highly qualified and has had much experience in Campus Ministry and in the life of the Aquinas Institute.