35, Director of Liturgical Services at Walsh University, Director of Campus Ministry at Central Catholic High School
What motivates or inspires you to better the community?
I believe in Stark County and in my community. I’ve lived in Stark County all my life and am thrilled to raise my children here. My kids inspire me to get involved in the community and make a difference any way that I can. I want my community to be as influential for my children as it has been for me.
What is the best career advice you’ve ever been given?
I’ve been told many influential things, but I am inspired by a quote by St. Teresa of Calcutta. “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” I try to approach my job and my ministry with great love and never give up and put my trust in God.
What advice would you give the younger generation when it comes to advancing in their careers or strengthening Stark County?
It’s never too early to get involved! Stay focused on your goals and give back to the community. One of the saddest things in life is wasted time. So, don’t waste time! Use the gifts that God has given you to make a mark on this community and make it a better place for our children and our children’s children!
“P.J. has a contagious spirit that overflows into the lives of those who meet him, allowing the best to surface. You cannot help but be drawn into the passion, enthusiasm and reverence for life that comes alive in his words and actions.”
-Rev. Msgr. Lewis F. Gaetano
• Central Catholic High School, 2000
• Mount Union University, bachelor’s degree in music education, 2004
• Walsh University, Master of Arts in education
• Kent State University, Multi Engine rated Commercial Pilot Certificate and CFII
In the community
• Makes bread monthly for the Sisters of Sancta Clara Monastery
• Cooks monthly at the Sunday meal at the Alliance Catholic Worker House
• Cooks every Sunday night feeding more than 100 people at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel at Walsh University
• Runs two food drives a year, as well as an “Adopt-A-Family” project at Central Catholic High School
• Regularly runs programs organizing and supervising high school volunteers at the House of Loreto, Sancta Clara Monastery and other service organizations in Stark County
• Leads an after-school singing program with the Canton City School District and Voices of Canton, Inc.
• Faculty adviser of the running club at Walsh University
• Member of Christ the Servant Parish
• Liaison for Walsh University and the North Canton Ministerial Association
• Member of the board of trustees of Voices of Canton, Inc.
• A musician organizer and leader for “Sing Stark”
• Serves with the Catholic Interracial Council of Stark County, and this committee created a scholarship in his name
• Alumnus of the Year at St. Mary in Massillon for his involvement in the community
• Certified CFII (flight instructor) with the FAA
• Led numerous retreat programs and presentations speaking on the importance of values, service and faith
• Played as a keynote performer/presenter for numerous functions including the Diocese of Youngstown annual Faith Family Festival, Ministry Day and countless churches in the area
• Adjunct professor at Walsh University, creating, in 2016, a global learning experience for students to travel to Mexico City
• Has run nine marathons, a Warrior Dash, two Tough Mudder Extreme Races and countless other 5K and 5-mile races
• Has won seven cooking competitions, including Best Appetizer for three years for the Catholic Charities Men Who Cook competition, The Catholic Charities Fr. Fete Food for the Soul Award for two years, Judges’ Choice for the STA KNAC Chili Cook-Off and Casino Knight in 2016 and Best Entrée for Catholic Charities Men who Cook competition in 2017
• Organized a benefit Christmas concert at Christ the Servant Parish that raised more than $5,000 for student scholarships at each concert
• Wife: Bethany Chavez
• Children: Luca, 5, and Caleb,3
• Twin brother: Miguel Chavez
• Rev. Msgr. Lewis F. Gaetano, Roman Catholic priest, Christ the Servant Catholic Church
• Maria J. Dick, teacher, Central Catholic High School
• Mary Hoy, music teacher, South Boston Catholic Academy
• Carol Olson, executive director, Voices of Canton, Inc.
• Miguel Chavez, associate vice president for mission implementation, Walsh University
• Lydia Betsa, student, Walsh University