Ray Almanza

Ray Almanza is the son of immigrant parents from Chihuahua, Mexico. He was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. Ray serves the region of Southern California and works with young adults and Hispanic ministry communities. Ray is passionate about the prophetic tradition of listening to the voice of God emanating from the margins which entails the work of liberation, justice, healing and building the kin-dom. He has a Master’s degree in Philosophy and is currently completing a second Master’s degree in Pastoral Theology, both from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California. Ray enjoys cycling outdoors and reading–especially classics! He loves to travel with his wife Elizabeth and their two children Siena Rose (7) and Solomon Rey (4). It is a spiritual experience that is reminiscent of the earthly pilgrimage we are all on as church.

Walter Hidalgo 

Walter Hidalgo was born and raised in the south side of Providence, Rhode Island to immigrant parents from Guatemala. He holds a PhD in ministry from New York Theological Seminary where his focus was on the intersectionality between socio-spiritual movements and Hip-hop culture.  As a Mission Educator Promoter that’s based out of New York, his focus is primarily on helping to develop our free resources for teachers and catechists while accompanying young adults into becoming missionary disciples. In addition to his ministerial work, Walter enjoys traveling, working out, reading, sushi and spending time with his amazing daughter! 

Kathleen O’Brien 

Kathleen O’Brien is based at the Los Altos Maryknoll house and serves the Northern California region. Kathleen received her bachelor's degree in philosophy and religious studies at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois and a master’s in systematic theology from Catholic Theological Union.  Before becoming a Mission Promoter, she dedicated three years as a Maryknoll missionary in China teaching English at Jilin Agricultural College and Jilin Catholic Seminary. She is most passionate about animating young adults in their Catholic faith, empowering young women to take on leadership roles in the church, and creating spaces for unlikely encounters between people of different backgrounds, cultures, and viewpoints. 

Sarahi Unzueta 

Sarahi Unzueta Sarahi was born in Blue Island, Illinois, and raised in Northwest Indiana. She received a Masters Degree in Pastoral Studies with a certificate in Intercultural Studies from Catholic Theological Union. Since then, she has been a coordinator in various parish ministry roles in formation, retreats, and liturgy. It was on a Maryknoll Immersion trip in Bolivia where she developed a passion for mission.  She is currently a Maryknoll Mission Educator Promoter serving the Midwest area working out of the Chicago Maryknoll Formation House.  She specializes in in outreach to Young Adults, Hispanic leaders, and catechists especially since she is bilingual in English and Spanish.  Outside work, she enjoys singing, travel, daily walks, and spending lots of time with her two cats.  

Zahira Sandoval 

Zahira Sandoval is the Administrative Assistant at the Chicago Maryknoll office.  She was born in Mexico City, and raised on the Southside of Chicago.  At a young age, Zahira joined the youth program that started a Catholic AM radio station to reach others through prayer and reflection. Having her background in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Development she quickly became a youth leader and helped organize retreats, foster spiritual growth, and connect with youth from different backgrounds.  In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering, organizing food and clothes drives, community clean ups, and offers tutoring services to young adults and teens. Zahira enjoys cookouts with her very large family (including her dog Gia). Being a nature enthusiast, Zahira feels closest to God when immersed in breathtaking landscapes, recognizing that God’s handiwork is woven into every aspect of the natural world.