When Cathedral Catholic High School religious studies teacher Ms. Amy Gembara interned as a hospital chaplain at the University of Los Angeles Hospital in Santa Monica, working in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and general medicine units, she knew God was calling her to the task.
“God called me to meet with a lot of sick and hurting people,” Ms. Gembara said. “[He called me] to meet them where they were, to pray with and for them, and to walk with them on their difficult journey.”
Originally from Chicago, Ms. Gembara graduated from Fordham University’s Rose Hill campus in the Bronx, New York City with a Bachelor of Arts in Classical Languages and English, emphasized on Latin, and a double minor in Medieval Studies and Theology.
After graduation, Ms. Gembara completed one year of Jesuit Volunteer Corps, a service year dedicated to spirituality, simple living, social justice, and community, served as a youth minister and Service Immersion Coordinator at Dolores Mission Church in East Los Angeles, and began her graduate studies at the Institute of Pastoral Studies of Loyola University of Chicago. In December 2018, Ms. Gembara completed her Master of Divinity and walked into her commencement at LUC.
“I believe that God called me into ministry and educating young people,” Ms. Gembara said. “Learning has been a gift and blessing in my life, and I love to share my knowledge with others. I am extremely grateful for all the teachers in my life and the ways they helped shape me into the woman I am today.”
Ms. Gembara not only taught religion and worked in campus ministry at two Catholic schools in Chicago, but she also substituted in the religious studies department at the Academy of Our Lady of Peace. During her prior work as a resident minister at the University of San Diego, Ms. Gembara, who met CCHS chaplain Fr. Martin Latiff and many CCHS alumni, felt called to teach at CCHS.
“[Fr. Latiff and the CCHS alumni] shared wonderful things about their formative experiences with CCHS,” Ms. Gembara said. “After prayer and discernment, I believe the Holy Spirit called me back to teaching.
“I love teaching the Gospel and sharing the love of Jesus, and I am blessed that teaching at CCHS allows me to do both.”
After a successful start to the school year and many warm welcomes and gifts from the students and teachers, Ms. Gembara already feels like a part of the Dons family, she said.
“There have been many special moments and graces,” Ms. Gembara said. “I was sweetly surprised to receive some welcoming gifts from the religious studies department and DeSales building teachers. [I am most excited to continue] getting to know the Dons family and seeing how God works through our campus.
“I am in Desales 103, and all are welcome to say hello.”