If it weren’t already hard enough to keep this cast of characters straight, the Crossroads team includes two guys with the same unpronounceable name. So we call the elder one either “Marcellino the Grey” or Dr. Italy. He seems to prefer the latter. Entertainer, author, professor, storyteller, speaker – he could appear to be quite a complicated chap, but not really. Give him a bowl of pasta and a glass of wine and he’s happy. Especially when he enjoys these simple things with his family. He keeps telling the Lord that he’s really too old to be crisscrossing the continents speaking here and presenting there. But apparently the Lord is not buying it. Retirement doesn’t even look like a remote possibility. But if it did, all he’d ask for would be a place on the Isle of Capri right next to the Carthusian monastery, where he could pray and grow tomatoes. And like, Bilbo Baggins, write his memoirs.
If Marcellino is the head, Susan D’Ambrosio is the neck that turns the head. Amazingly beautiful wife and ingenuitive mother of five children, Susan has been helping Crossroads Initiative to function since the very beginning. She provides warmth, advice, and servant leadership everyone to the team. When she isn’t doing one of those things, she is either helping one of her kids get married or watching Dancing with the Stars.
Anthony D’Ambrosio’s claim to be the better looking of the two twins is probably not true. He is, however, by far the most experienced in organizing youth storage spaces and making pancakes for fundraisers. He first got a taste of youth ministry as a Totus Tuus teacher in Wichita, Kansas. He currently works at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Frisco, Texas. Since his involvement there began in 2010, The youth group has grown by 400%. This is probably just a coincidence, but some parishioners say that it’s because he’s a “hip young guy,” and “that’s important.”
Marcellino D’Ambrosio started doing youth ministry in college at Ave Maria University. He is an expert water balloon filler, a veteran dodgeball player, and a slightly above average joke teller. As an event programmer, however, he runs with the best. His experience as the pioneer of some of AMU’s strongest traditions is brought to bear in his youth ministry exploits. He worked in a parish for three years as the High School Youth Director before moving to campus ministry. He now serves at Southern Methodist University as the Catholic Center’s Director of Music.
My desire to find a job that could help me serve the Lord led me directly to Crossroads Initiative ministry where I have been working since March of 2019. I live in West Fort Worth with my husband and two kids. I really enjoy spending time with family, of which I have no shortage as there are plenty of siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews to go around. When we are not having some sort of fiesta, most times for no reason other than to spend time together, you can find my husband and I being chauffeurs, food runners, cheerleaders, and the biggest aficionados at one of our kids soccer, track, or cross country practices, games and or meets. I also enjoy volunteering at our parish and being a member of the Catholic Daughters of America. I enjoy Sunday mornings the best as we go to mass together and then enjoy a relaxed breakfast afterwards.
Hello, I’m Emy Cervantes! I’m so happy to be a part of the Crossroads Initiative! I grew up in a traditional Catholic home and as I got older and moved away from home, I decided I wanted to continue to grow my faith, which is why I am so grateful and blessed to have the opportunity to work closely with Dr. Italy. I’m a California native, but Arkansas was home for almost 9 years, up until my now husband and I relocated to the DFW Metroplex. It’s now been 5 years and I am proud to consider myself a Texan😊. On our spare time, my husband and I like to travel through Dallas-Fort Worth, trying local delicacies, like Texas BBQ and tacos! We also enjoy quiet weekends and playing with our “dog-son”, Bruce. In the summer of 2020 we will be welcoming our first human child into the world.
Born in El Salvador, Miguel came to the Arkansas to go to college, thanks to generosity of good old Sam Walton. After getting his MBA, Miguel became Chief Information Officer for a large Salvadorian retailer by day, and Spanish translator for the Crossroads Initiative by night. Yep, he’s a techie sort of dude. But not a boring one. Not only is he a founding member of the J.E.S.U.S. Project (http://www.share-smiles.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children in rural areas of El Salvador to graduate from high school. But for fun, he likes to climb volcanos with his sweet wife, Claudia, and their two teenage children.
Bader Rabidi was born in the old walled city of Jerusalem into a Palestinian Catholic family that had lived in the Holy Land for centuries. Though his playground as a child was on the Via Dolorosa, he grew up as a Catholic in name only. Yet he was always curious why people from all over the world went to such trouble and expense to come and visit his home town. Though he had earned an MBA and had a professional position in finance, his curiosity led him to enroll in guide school, just to learn more about the heritage of his land. While listening to his secular, skeptical instructor try to debunk what Christians believe about Jesus, his faith in Christ actually deepened. Before long, he knew he was called not only to make the Lord the center of his life, but to leave his career and spend the rest of his life as a guide so he could tell people about him. Since 2011, Bader has been the primary assistant to Dr. Italy in Crossroads Initiative Holy Land pilgrimages. He, his wife Lina, and their four children reside in Jerusalem.
SANDRO & MARIAFRANCA
Suave Sandro swept Mariafranca off her feet in the magical city of Venice, where the pair grew up. But jobs with a large telecommunications firm based in Dallas, Texas made cowboys out these two Venetians. When they are not working or translating posts into Italian for the Crossroads Initiative website, Sandro is either reading philosophy or listen to rock ‘n roll guitar solos. Meanwhile, Mariafranca, is causing marvelous aromas to waft through the air as she cooks up some amazing Italian dish in the kitchen.
ANTHONY (D’AMBROSIO) Anthony D’Ambrosio’s claim to be the better looking of the two twins is probably not true. He is, however, by far the most experienced in organizing youth storage spaces and making pancakes for fundraisers. He first got a taste of youth ministry as a Totus Tuus teacher in Wichita, Kansas. He currently works at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Frisco, Texas. Since his involvement there began in 2010, The youth group has grown by 400%. This is probably just a coincidence, but some parishioners say that it’s because he’s a “hip young guy,” and “that’s important.” MARCELLINO (D’AMBROSIO) Marcellino D’Ambrosio started doing youth ministry in college at Ave Maria University. He is an expert water balloon filler, a veteran dodgeball player, and a slightly above average joke teller. As an event programmer, however, he runs with the best. His experience as the pioneer of some of AMU’s strongest traditions is brought to bear in his youth ministry exploits. He worked in a parish for three years as the High School Youth Director before moving to campus ministry. He now serves at Southern Methodist University as the Catholic Center’s Director of Music. CONOR (HENNELLY) Conor Hennelly got his start in writing when he began writing subversive literature against his home room teacher in 3rd grade. He never successfully obtained a full hour of recess time, but he did manage to graduate from Ave Maria University with a degree in philosophy. He now works in marketing, which basically means he makes you want things for a living. We here at The Crossroads Pursuit think that's pretty cool. CODY (BARRAS) Cody worked his way up the ministry ladder from ministry intern to full time campus minister at Southern Methodist University’s Catholic Center, which we can all agree is a feat of excellence. He is known for his uncanny email open rate and designing the best parish bulletin’s Dallas has ever seen. Keep up with him on twitter. Click Here AUGUSTA (D'AMBROSIO) Augusta hails from northern Africa. She is a teacher with a special love for the study of rhetoric. She is always right, she has a saint for a mother, and her favorite works range from Plato to J.K Rowling. Also, her patronus is a Dolphin.
REGINA LAUDIS ABBEY
The Bendictine Abbey of Regina Laudis got it starts when General George Patton liberated a French convent from the Nazis. At that moment, an American-born member of the newly free community heard the call to embark upon a new adventure. In gratitude for America’s gift of freedom, she was to go to bring the treasure of cloistered Benedictine life to American shores. Of course, there was no money for this. Only God’s command to go and promise to cover the bills. Today Regina Laudis is a thriving community in the wooded countryside of Bethlehem Connecticut. Mother Dolores Hart, probably the Abbey’s most famous member, left an exciting career in Hollywood to join the community. Known as “the nun who kissed Elvis,” Mother Dolores is not the only character in the bunch, by a long shot. One sister worked on Wall Street before she enter the Abbey. And the sub-prioress just happens to be a grand-daughter of General George Patton, whose tanks chased the Nazis away from the French Convent where it all started. Mother Dolores and her fellow brides of Christ offer up their milking of cows, keeping of bees, and singing of Gregorian chant up for the work of the Crossroads Initiative and the New Evangelization. And when members of the Crossroads team need to stop, get their bearings, and be refreshed, guess where they go? BTW, you can go there too. Contact the sisters for a retreat!
DISCIPLES OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
Back in the wild seventies, a group of woman banded together to do what the first followers of Jesus did – follow him everywhere he might lead. So it was fitting that these charismatic nuns, in love with St. Francis as well as Jesus would call themselves the Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. Unlike the Benedictine sisters, they are highly mobile instead of cloistered. But they are like the Benedictines in this – that they pray up a storm for the Crossroads Initiative. And we so appreciate that!
VISITATION SISTERS OF THE MONT DEUX COEURS MONASTERY
Nestled in the foothills of the Berkshires, in far western Massachusetts lives a remarkable community of Sisters who regularly intercede for the work of the Crossroads Initiative. The Sisters of the Visitation of Holy Mary are mountain climbers . . . their goal is to ascend the mountains of love which are the twin hearts of our Savior and our mother. That’s why they named their monastery Mont Deux Coeures. When you visit the sisters (and you can, you know!), you are struck by the peaceful atmosphere, and especially, their intense joy.
Yes, we do have lots of intercessors who are NOT cloistered nuns. Number one among them is the Mamma of the Crossroads Initiative, Patricia D’Ambrosio. Yes, those are freckles and blue eyes you see in the picture. Her maiden name was “Patsy Carey.” Irish-born, she became an Italian as fast as she could. When she married her southern Italian husband, she was baptized in spaghetti sauce and became a born-again Italian. You know how converts always make the best Catholics? Well converts always make the best Italians as well. When it comes to Jesus Patricia always loved him from as early as she could remember. But in 1975, the Lord freed her from a life-threatening illness and she began to live for him in a much deeper way. Gourmet Italian cook that she is, she still contributes to delighting the Crossroads team with her cuisine. But we’d never have gotten this far without her prayers. Daily, she’s burning up those rosary beads and beating a path to the Blessed Sacrament to intercede that Jesus fill the Crossroads sails with the wind of the Holy Spirit. Not only is she praying for us team members, but she’s praying for all who are touched by our work. Even you.