About Us

The Founders - Our Story

Growing up, both Stacey and I have had the most amazing and life changing experience of encountering Jesus Christ, the risen Lord at; retreats, camps, rallies, World Youth Days and concerts. The reason we got involved as leaders, counselors and organizers is because of what we were able to experience.

We witnessed Christ working in others and in ourselves. We saw and felt the light of Christ. Because of that, we want to share this light of Christ with others… it’s what we’re called to do. Our faith and love in God is what ties it all together…He is the beginning and the end… and every part in-between.

 

We want to bring sports, recreation,  leadership, training and education to young people…but anchored in Faith. Our faith is not something we consider one hour once a week…it’s every second of every day.

 

We believe our faith is found in experiences.

 

God bless,

Peter & Stacey Leitmann

Meet the Team

Peter Leitmann 

Founder, Speaker and Facilitator​

My own faith journey began when I was a teen and my brother invited me to youth group. That one single invite changed my life. The leaders had a heart of Christ and a love for young people. They were there for me when I had questions and guided me when I was misdirected.

 

My desire to follow and know Jesus grew year after year; the more I learnt the more I realized how much I didn’t know but that was the driving force…to know and love God. It wasn’t until a young adult retreat I was on when I had my encounter with the risen Lord. This encounter was reinforced time and time again at many retreats, conferences, rallies and mostly importantly…celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

 

My personal relationship with Jesus Christ continues to grow and deepen. Diving into Scripture nourishes the soul; Church history and Church Fathers strengthen the faith; Cathedrals and Basilicas reveal the beauty of the Catholic Church. These foundations are what drive me to work with young people. The extent of my ministry with and to young people has been completely volunteer for over 15 years. And although the intensity of my involvement has been determined by outside factors for much of that time, it is clear to me that the Lord is now calling me to an ever increasing commitment.

Stacey Leitmann 

Founder, Speaker and Facilitator​

When I was 12, I went on my confirmation retreat - first retreat ever. My life was changed upon learning and realizing that God was in fact real and very alive. That day I told God I would do what He called me to do. It was on that day I felt an overwhelming calling to try against all odds and drive myself to one day open and run a retreat centre - giving others the TRUE opportunity to experience God and find out what it meant in their life.

 

While that is still the goal, until we find a way we will push to give that encounter on retreats - as the church is the people and we can experience God anywhere. Over 20 years spent in youth ministry; leading and volunteering for retreats, camps and programs. My post-secondary education was lead by this mission, my professional career was spent fast tracking so I could understand the undertaking of this organization and all its intricate parts.

 

My calling is to be bold, brave and to follow whole-heartedly where the Spirit leads me. I have a holy husband, two beautiful daughters and a son. I know that I God who loves us. Now to share all of this - this is our mission.

Sandra Wojcik

Speaker, Facilitator​ and Musician

People know me as the dedicated coffee drinker who at any random moment may burst into song or dance! Even though I was raised in a Catholic Polish home, my faith journey really started when I was in high-school and went on my first Youth Team of Our Lady (YTOL) retreat. Since then the Holy Spirit has pretty much taken me on the Behemoth rollercoaster!

 

About a year and a half ago, I discerned to change my career from Massage Therapy to Ministry. Currently I am doing my Masters of Theological Studies at St. Augustine’s Seminary, and I am so blessed that God has given me the opportunity to serve and grow by leading me to HopeStone! If I were to give one way in which I connect with God the most, it would have to be through music.

 

I love singing praise and worship and playing piano, and am in the finishing stages of releasing my first original praise and worship album! God never fails to amaze me, and He always reminds me that He has quite the sense of humour!

Fr. Michael Simoes

Spiritual Advisor for HopeStone

Born and raised in north Scarborough, Fr Michael received his elementary and high school education through Toronto Catholic District School Board. Having studied Chemical Engineering at the University of Waterloo and graduating in 2008, he would enter into St. Augustine’s Seminary to receive his formation to the priesthood. Ordained in 2014, Fr Michael would be assigned as an associate priest at St. Isaac Jogues, Pickering, St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica, St. Patrick’s Markham and finally as parish priest at St. Mary Star of the Sea in beautiful downtown Port Credit. 

Frank Capisciolto

Speaker and Retreat Facilitator

I have devoted myself to youth ministry because I believe in the life-changing message of the Gospel. Most recently I completed a diploma of Theology at St. Augustine’s Seminary.

 

As a youth minister for over 10 years I have primarily served poverty stricken youth at St. Philip Neri Parish and on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota. While on the reservation I was asked to implement a healthy relationship curriculum to within the public schools, in a hope to positively affect the rate of abusive relationships among teenagers. Partnered with another Catholic Youth minister we modeled our program around Catholic teaching and were able to witness many fruits from our efforts.

 

I was also blessed to have served as youth minister in a more affluent Parish in the Dunedin, Florida region.I believe I am better Christian and youth minister then I was yesterday because of the experiences Christ has blessed me with. Now I look forward working with HopeStone and continuing to grow while in the service of the youth of Toronto.

Patrick Sullivan

Content Support

Patrick Sullivan from EVANGO; collaborates with HopeStone in development of program and Catechesis. Focusing on the Catholic teachings and bringing the head and the heart together for young people through truth, goodness and beauty. Patrick Sullivan is an author and speaker who gained a Master of Divinity degree from St. Augustine’s Seminary in Toronto.

 

In 2013, Patrick answered the call to become a Catholic Evangelist. Known for his short and engaging videos on YouTube and his powerful live presentations, Patrick’s love for Christ has led many people to bring the head and heart together for the New Evangelization. Patrick has appeared on EWTN, Salt and Light Television and he has just recently completed his newest book entitled, Dare to Be an Evangelist: evangelizing those we love one day at a time.

Shavi Perera

Speaker, Facilitator​ and Musician

My name is Shavindha, but everyone calls me Shavi. I’m 18 and very passionate about my faith. In 2016I completed a year as a missionary. I was able to meet and minister to thousands of youth all over the province. It was both the best and hardest year of my life. I also love anything physical; sports, going to the gym, adventuring, all of it - I enjoy.

 

I feel the body is the most beautiful creation God has made and we should not only take care of it, but really understand its true purpose. Because of this passion, I have decided to study Kinesiology at UOIT in Oshawa. I find my joy in uniting my great love for God with my great love for people.

 

I more than anything else feel loved by meeting people, by conversation, and getting to experience the lives of people around me. I feel indifference is the opposite of Love and that indifference is so present in the world these days, in the news, in society and therefore in our schools. I feel youth particularly need to hear the gospel message and more than hear it but feel it, and see it lived out. Not an easy task, but one worth fighting for - which is what I feel HopeStone does!

Rachel Markun

Speaker and Retreat Facilitator

My faith has always been important to me, but it didn’t take off until I was in university. I went to Ryerson for dance and was searching for a group to help keep me grounded, and thanks to a friend from YTOL, a young adult group, I found CCO! It was here that my faith took off, and after a mission trip to Northern BC, my heart was lit on fire for God. I learned about theology of the body and knew in my heart that I wanted to share this message with young adults.

 

I spent a year as a Re:Generation missionary and it has changed my life for the better! Through that year of mission work, God healed my heart and fuelled my passion for Theology of the Body even further. My future goal is to create works and use dance as a platform for evangelization! I can’t wait to meet all the students and share God’s love with them!

Chico Nuguid

Speaker, Facilitator​ and Musician

I‘ve been surrounded by a few constants ever since I could remember: prayer groups, music, and family gatherings with plenty of food. Born into a family of music ministers and charismatic leaders, I came to know & accept Jesus for myself at a Youth Camp with the Couples for Christ community at the age of 11. In the 20+ years since, I’ve been blessed with many moments where I‘ve felt like I’m with Jesus in the same room.

 

I believe that when God puts me in a service role, I‘m essentially a "door holder" that allows for others to come spend some time with God too. Some of these roles have included singing, playing guitar, leading worship, giving pastoral talks, or facilitating group discussions. I’ve taken on these roles at National Conferences, local youth & young adult group gatherings, World Youth Days, and various Archdiocese of Toronto events.

 

HopeStone allows for me to further use these talents to "hold the door" for young people to try spending a moment or two with a God that very much wants to know and love them.

If you are interested in Volunteer opportunities and are 18+, contact us via email: info@hopestone.ca.