Lisandro Pena, liturgy coordinator and resident minister
Lisandro Pena is coordinator of liturgy and resident minister at Fordham University.
Since arriving at Fordham six years ago, Lisandro Pena has helped develop comprehensive liturgical and spiritual counseling programs for students on the Rose Hill campus.
“I am a lay minister,” said Pena. “While my main priority is to serve as a liturgical coordinator, I also act as a vocation promoter and spiritual counselor in the Office of Campus Ministry and as a resident minister in Queen’s Court.”
As part of his job, Pena provides one-on-one guidance to students who request assistance with their spiritual journey.
“Students—especially freshmen—enter into a vulnerable stage of assimilation and adaptation when they come to Fordham,” he said. “New students and those who already are familiar with Fordham want to explore, to build their own personality. At the same time they are questioning their faith or reinforcing what they have learned from their families.”
Pena grew up in Cuenca, Ecuador, as one of seven children. He left his village at 17 to study philosophy at Pontifical Catholic University. He then received a scholarship to study at Saint Thomas Aquinas University and at Gregorian University in Rome before coming to the United States.
While earning a bachelor’s of science degree at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, he worked with non-English-speaking Latin American populations as a pre-kindergarten teacher.
Later, he landed a job at Gonzaga University as liturgical coordinator and earned a master’s degree in pastoral ministry. Returning to New York City, he saw a job for a liturgical coordinator at Fordham and applied.
“Sometimes you are at the right place at the right time,” he said.
At Fordham, Pena also helped develop a liturgy board—a select number of students who want to help organize Masses and perform weekend community service in the Bronx. He also developed programs to help students figure out how to use their talents in the service of others.
“Fordham’s mission is to prepare students for leading positions,” he said. “The world is in desperate need of mentors and leaders who can make a positive difference in our society. It is my responsibility to help Fordham seek those mentors and leaders, and what better way than how the Jesuits are doing it, for the greater glory of God?”