2017 Speakers!

Margaret MatijasevicConference

Master of Ceremonies

Mike Patin

Joining the 81st National Conference for Leadership Annual Conference is Mike Patin as the Master of Ceremonies.  Creating an environment of hospitality and engagement for all attendees as they journey through transformational experiences all week.

Mike Patin uses energy, humor and stories to affirm God’s goodness and presence among us while inviting others (and himself) to take the “next step” in our journey with God.  Mike has worked in ministry settings since 1984, first as a high school teacher and coach, and then in diocesan ministry for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Since 2003, he has worked full time as a speaker and “faith horticulturist.”

Mike has worked in ministry settings since 1984, first as a high school teacher and coach, and then in diocesan ministry for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Since 2003, he has worked full time as a speaker and “faith horticulturist.” Throughout his ministry, Mike has been privileged to speak to groups ranging from 10 to 23,000 in over 130 dioceses in the U.S. and Canada.  He has spoken at parish missions, conferences, rallies, retreats, leadership institutes, and in-services, addressing youth, adults, families, clergy, seminarians, school faculties, businesses, athletic teams and hospital staffs.

He has been a featured speaker numerous times at the following national events: • National Catholic Educational Association Convention • Los Angeles Religious Education Congress/Youth Day • National Conference on Catholic Youth Ministry • National Catholic Youth Conference • Notre Dame Vision

Mike has published two books: A Standing Invitation, and This Was Not in the Brochure: Lessons from Work, Life and Ministry.

In 2006, he received the National Catholic Youth Ministry Award.

Mike lives in Lafayette, LA, with his wife, Marlene, and his daughter, Megan.   

Education and other experience of interest • Masters degree in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University (New Orleans) • Training Facilitator, Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People • Consultant/Assistant Coach to Loyola University (New Orleans) Women’s Basketball

Keynote/ Capstone Speakers

Monday, May 22

Contemplation – Personal Transformation

Lynn M. Levo

Being A Transforming Presence: Contemplation’s Essential Contribution
In the chaotic and challenging world in which we live today, we are called more than ever to BE a transforming presence – to live with an attitude of discovery, access our own and others’ potential and to close the gap between what we are learning and how we live. As we move from an awareness of self as a separate entity, to a self that is intimately intertwined with others and with all of creation, the discipline of contemplation is essential to embracing our full humanity. Contemplation, walking with God as we take a long, loving look at our reality, supports a flexible shaping and integration of prayer, reflection and dialogue. Forging a contemplative heart will help us to attend to the challenges and opportunities of our time by discovering a new consciousness, a new way of BEING.

Lynn M. Levo, CSJ, Ph.D., a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet, is a licensed psychologist, lecturer and consultant. She received her Ph.D. from the University of New York at Albany, completing her clinical training at The University of Kansas School of Medicine.

Lynn consults with religious congregations of women and men, dioceses and health systems on mutuality, transitions and stress, anger, managing conflict, aging and healthy personal, sexual and spiritual development across the life span. Lynn has presented nationally and internationally to women and men religious, intercommunity novitiates and seminaries, on fostering healthy integrated sexuality, celibacy, relationships, intimacy, mutuality in community, and emotional intelligence. With women and men in leadership roles, she has offered insights into collaborative leadership, hope, living at the edge of chaos, our call to be evolutionaries, hope providers and being a transforming presence.  On numerous occasions, Lynn has shared her gifts with NRVC through projects and presentations for vocation personnel. In addition, Lynn also facilitates team development for several leadership teams of women religious, utilizing her experience as a former congregational leader and consultant. In 2015, she was the recipient of the Mary Emil Penet, IHM Award from the Religious Formation Conference in recognition of her contribution to the ministry of initial and ongoing formation for women and men religious in North America and internationally.

After completing 12 years ministering as Director of Education at Saint Luke Institute, a residential treatment facility for women and men religious,  Lynn currently is a Consulting Psychologist in private practice, offering consultations and presentations/workshops both in the U.S. and abroad.

Monday, May 22

Contemplation – Personal Transformation

Robert Wicks



Riding the Dragon: Strengthening Your Inner Life in Challenging Times

One of the greatest gifts we can share with others is a sense of our own peace.  However, we can’t share what we don’t have.  By discussing spiritual and psychological approaches to maintaining perspective and inner strength in challenging times, Dr. Wicks, an expert on the prevention of secondary stress (the pressures experienced in reaching out to others) and author of Perspective: The Calm within the Storm, Bounce: Living the Resilient Life and Riding the Dragon and editor of Prayer in the Catholic Tradition, offers insights into how we can live in peace and, in turn, extend our warmth to others without losing our own inner fire in the process.  Topics will include: maintaining a healthy sense of perspective; avoiding dangers that lead to unnecessary stress; developing your own self-care program; knowing the 4  “voices” we need in our circle of friends to have balance and courage in life; improving self-awareness; facing inner darkness; and developing a rule of prayer.  Practical, illustrative, lively, this rich presentation will provide essential information on professional resilience and personal wellbeing.

For over 35 years, Dr. Robert Wicks, has been called to speak calm into chaos for leaders and groups experiencing great stress, anxiety and confusion.  Dr. Wicks received his doctorate in Psychology from Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital, is Professor Emeritus at Loyola University Maryland, and has taught in universities and professional schools of psychology, medicine, nursing, theology, education, and social work.  In 2003 he was the Commencement Speaker for Wright State School of Medicine in Dayton, Ohio and in 2005 was both Visiting Scholar and Commencement Speaker at Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago.  He also was Commencement Speaker at, and the recipient of honorary doctorates from, Georgian Court University and Caldwell College in New Jersey. 

            In the past several years he has spoken on Capitol Hill to Members of Congress and their Chiefs of Staff, at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the U.S. Air Force Academy, the Mayo Clinic, the North American Aerospace Defense command, at Harvard’s Children’s Hospital and Harvard Divinity School and, to members of both the Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington and the NATO Intelligence Fusion Center in England on his major areas of expertise: resilience, self-care, the prevention of secondary stress (the pressures encountered in reaching out to others) and approaches to strengthening your inner life.  He has also spoken at the Boston Public Library’s commemoration of the Boston Marathon bombing, addressed 10,000 Catholic educators in the Air Canada Arena in Toronto, was the opening keynote speaker to 1,500 physicians for the American Medical Directors Association, spoken at the FBI Academy, led a course on resilience in Beirut in 2015 for Catholic relief workers from Aleppo, Syria, and addressed caregivers in China, Vietnam, India, Thailand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Hungary, Guatemala, Malta, New Zealand, the Philippines, Australia, France, England, and South Africa.

            In 1994, he was responsible for the psychological debriefing of relief workers evacuated from Rwanda during their bloody genocide. In 1993, and again in 2001, he worked in Cambodia. In 2006, he also delivered presentations on self-care at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda Maryland and Walter Reed Army Hospital to those health care professionals responsible for Iraqi and Afghani war veterans evacuated to the U. S. with multiple amputations and severe head injuries.

            Dr. Wicks has published over 50 books for both professionals and the general public.  He is the Editor of the Handbook of Spirituality for Ministers Vols. I and II, Senior Co-Editor of the three volume Clinical Handbook of Pastoral Counseling, General Editor of Prayer in the Catholic Tradition featuring 45 Catholic prominent writers and is author of a number of works on spirituality including Riding the Dragon and Crossing the Desert.  Two of his latest psychological works are: Perspective: The Calm within the Storm and Bounce: Leading a Resilient Life.  His books have been translated into Chinese, Polish, Indonesian, Korean, and Spanish.

            In 1996 he was awarded the Papal Medal by Pope (now Saint) John Paul II.  In 2006, Dr. Wicks received the first annual Alumni Award for Excellence in Professional Psychology from Widener University, and is also the recipient of the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the American Counseling Association’s Division on Spirituality, Ethics and Religious Values in Counseling.

Sponsored by: Ave Maria Press

Tuesday, May 23

Imagination – Prophetic Communal Transformation

Ron Rolheiser

Imagination: Seeking a Prophetic, Paschal, and Romantic Imagination
There are many kinds of imagination. In the years since Vatican II, we have been strong intellectually and have wonderfully renewed our theology and pastoral practices. But we have been weak in some other areas. What kind of imagination is now most-needed within church and faith circles? One that is prophetic rather than alienating, paschal rather than petrifying, and romantic rather than dogmatic. The search for a prophetic, paschal, romantic imagination.

 Ronald Rolheiser, a Roman Catholic priest and member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, is President of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas. He is a community-builder, lecturer, and writer.  His books are popular throughout the English-speaking world and have now been translated into many languages. His weekly column is carried by more than 80 newspapers worldwide. Prior to this present position, he taught theology and philosophy at Newman Theological College in Edmonton, Alberta, for 16 years, served as Provincial Superior of his Oblate Province for six years, and served on the General Council for the Oblates in Rome for six years. He has been at Oblate School of theology since 2005.

Tuesday, May 23

Imagination – Prophetic Communal Transformation

Sr. Theresa Rickard


Sacred Innovation: Transforming Faith Communities through Bold and Creative Action

Pope Francis calls us to be “bold and creative” in ministry. How can we respond, imagining and building vibrant communities of faith centered on mission? The answer is by exploring principles of innovation used by leading world-class organizations. Start with empathy, visualize the desired change, and stay open to possibilities—always relying on the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.

This session offers insights and a process for applying techniques of creativity to different ministry contexts. Participants will have the opportunity to generate and share ideas and gain practical skills to help move their faith communities or ministries toward transformation.

Sr. Theresa Rickard, OP President and Executive Director of RENEW International, is a Dominican Sister of Blauvelt, NY. Before joining RENEW, she ministered in two inner-city parishes in the South Bronx, was Director of Vocation and Formation ministry for her congregation, and was a member of the Archdiocese of New York Mission Team. She has contributed to or authored a number of publications, most recently The Living Gospel: Daily Devotions for Advent 2015 for Ave Maria Press, and Live Lent! Year A for RENEW International. Sr. Terry blogs for RENEW under “God in the Stuff of Life” and is an avid sports fan.

Sponsored by: Renew International


Tuesday, May 23

Imagination – Prophetic Communal Transformation


Aida Hidalgo


 La Construcción de una Cultura de Liderazgo Católico

El liderazgo de cada individuo en todas las etapas de la vida se va descubriendo de varias maneras:
Primero: saber descubrir el potencial nato que cada individuo posee, ayudándolo a ejecutar sus dones y carismas.
Segundo: Invertir en la capacitación de los líderes, para su mejor y eficaz rendimiento.
Con el fin de tener una cultura de líderes adultos necesitamos planificar para que se lleve a cabo una transformación a través del ciclo de vida.

Aida Hidalgo es consultora de Our Sunday Visitor. Fue Directora de la Oficina del Ministerio Hispano para la Diócesis de Providence por más de 20 años. La Sra. Hidalgo tiene una Maestría en Teología de Boston College y una Licenciatura en el Ministerio Pastoral de Providence College. Ella es actualmente un líder de retiros espirituales para mujeres, una catequista de la confirmación, y una instructora de teología de varios programas de formación de
ministros laicos. La señora Hidalgo está casada y tiene cuatro hijos y ocho nietos. 

Sponsored by: Our Sunday Visitor

Tuesday, May 23

Imagination – Prophetic Communal Transformation

Sr. M. Johanna Paruch

The Silver Anniversary of a Golden Text: The Catechism of the Catholic Church at 25

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  The capstone presentation will look at the phenomenon of this “sure norm for teaching the faith” in the Church in the United States.

Sister M. Johanna Paruch is a Sister of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George.  She grew up in Whitney Pier, Cape Breton, Canada and attended St. Mary’s Polish Church.  She graduated from Holy Angles High School in 1973.  She is a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George.  She holds a BA in Theology and Elementary Education from St. Louis University; an MA in Religious Education from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, and earned a Ph.D. in Catechetics from Maryvale Institute in 2008.  She also holds an undergraduate degree in Deaf Education.

Sr. M. Johanna has been involved in religious education at every level for the past 40 years.  She has served as a classroom teacher, a parish Director of Religious Education, chair of the Religion Department in a Catholic High School, and as Diocesan Director of Religious Education.  She has also served the Catholic Deaf Community as interpreter and catechist.

Sr. M. Johanna has served as Associate Professor of Catechetics at Franciscan University of Steubenville since 1999, teaching both Graduate and Undergraduate students.  She specializes in the History of Catechetics; Catechetics and the Second Vatican Council; Catechetical Methodology including the use of art, music, literature and film; and Catechesis for Persons with Disabilities.  In addition, she has spoken extensively about catechetics throughout the United States, Canada, and England. She presently serves as a consultant to the USCCB’s Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, and has worked on special projects for the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization.

In May of 2013, Sister Johanna published Mentors for the New Evangelization: Catechetical Saints of North America.

She is presently writing a book about the Catholic Sisters who nursed during the American Civil War.

Sponsored by: Ascension Press


Hosffman Ospino


Reading the Signs of the Times and the Future of Catechesis in the United States
Throughout the history of Christianity, catechists have read the signs of the times and responded in creative and prophetic ways to the imperative of passing on the faith from one generation to the next. It is our turn. We must do it here and now, in the United States of America, in light of our current realities and transitions. Let us read together the important signs that shape the lives of American Catholics and our communities today. This is the time to affirm the best of our catechetical tradition while envisioning together creative and prophetic approaches for catechesis that bring new life.

Hosffman Ospino, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Education at Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry. His research focuses on how the conversation between faith and culture shapes ministerial and educational practices in the Church. Professor Ospino has written and edited several books on Hispanic ministry, theology, and religious education. He served as the principal investigator for the National Study of Catholic Parishes with Hispanic Ministry, published in 2014, and a co-investigator for the National Survey of Catholic Schools Serving Hispanic Families, published in 2016. He is an officer of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States (ACHTUS), a member of the Board of Directors of the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA), and a member of the leadership team coordinating the Fifth National Encuentro of Hispanic/Latino Ministry (2017-2020). He was the recepient of the NCCL 2016 Catechetical Award.

 Sponsored by: Our Sunday Visitor


Thursday, May 25

Missionary – Leadership for the World

Jack Jezreel

A New Paradigm for Parish Life: Pope Francis and “Missionary Discipleship”

One of Pope Francis’ favorite phrases to describe the Christian identity is “missionary disciple.”  He imagines the life of faith as necessarily linked with the willingness and hunger to seek out the stranger or the abandoned to restore relationship, build community and discover hope — all part of encuentro/encounter.  Related to this, Pope Francis imagines a parish that prepares its members for exactly this task.  Catechesis has everything to do with preparing disciples (parishioners!) for the road, for encounter with those who have been left behind, and with tools that promise hope and new life.

Jack Jezreel received his B.A. degree in Religion and Philosophy from Furman University in 1979 (summa cum laude) and his Master of Divinity degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1982.  From 1983 – 1988, Jack was a member of a Catholic Worker community, during which time he helped supervise a soup kitchen and three hospitality houses for men and women who were homeless.  Jack also became interested in sustainability issues and has been involved in organic & sustainable agriculture since 1985.
Jack has worked for over thirty years in parish social ministry.  For eight of those years, Jack served as the Minister of Social Responsibility at Church of the Epiphany in Louisville, Kentucky where he developed the JustFaith program, a formation program preparing participants for the work of charity and justice, now used in parishes across the country.   Over fifty thousand people in over 120 dioceses across the country have participated. Jack served as Executive Director/President of JustFaith Ministries from 2001 – 2015. 

In 1995, Jack received the Peace and Justice Award from the Archdiocese of Louisville and in 2006 received the Roundtable of Social Action Director’s prestigious “Harry A. Fagan Award” for his unique contribution to the Church’s mission.  More recently, in 2014 he received the Franciscan Mission Service’s “Anselm Moons, OFM Award” in recognition of his contributions to “the formation of new disciples for peace, justice and hope.”
Jack is a popular and well-traveled speaker and teacher, sometimes described as the “Johnny Appleseed” of the U.S. Church’s social mission.  Over the last thirty years, he has given over a 1000 lectures, keynotes, presentations, workshops and clergy trainings, all dedicated to the Church’s work of mercy and justice.   He lives in Louisville, Kentucky, has a ridiculously large garden, is married with Maggie, and they enjoy three adult daughters and one fabulous son-in-law.

Transformational Encounter Presenters

Monday, May 22

Contemplation – Personal Transformation

John Angotti

Take a minute and think about it

We live in a world where the answers to our questions are found instantaneously on the internet. But our deepest longings and desires can only be answered through contemplation where we are awakened to where and how God is transforming our lives. Through song and story John Angotti leads us on this quest for truth and transformation of the soul.

John Angotti is a full time music missionary who travels throughout many parts of the world providing inspirational music and witness to all ages through concerts, workshops, retreats, missions, conferences, and worship. He is originally from Clarksburg, WV and now resides in Memphis, TN with his wife and two children. He is a graduate of West Virginia University, and the US Military School of Music, where he was a member of the US Navy Band as lead vocalist.
John’s message is clear: There is hope, healing, and truth with the love of God. This message not only extends to church-goers, but also to those in the world who have not been reached by a liturgical worship or Christian music experience. With the style of today and the truth of the ancient, Angotti expresses hope and love for those longing for a deeper relationship with God. “My passion these days is to not only provide music for worship, but music that sings of the true witness of my experience of Christ in my life, that leads me to the table in faith. I have found that people relate through both music and testimony. All of us have a cross, even though we try to hide it. But there is no hiding place from God who is with us all the time.”


Steve Binz

The Transforming Power of Icons for Prayer and Contemplation
Icons have been described as theology in line and color. They are the visual language of Eastern Christianity and are growing in appreciation by all Christians. This workshop will teach participants the practice of attentively and receptively gazing upon icons so that the experience leads to meditation, prayer, and spiritual transformation. Techniques will also be offered for using icons for adult and adolescent faith formation.

Stephen J. Binz is a biblical scholar, popular speaker, and author of over 50 books. He speaks at national and regional conferences, diocesan priests’ continuing education, catechist enrichment events, diocesan and parish faith formation events, retreats, and missions. His most recent books include Transformed by God’s Word: Discovering the Power of Lectio and Visio Divina (Ave Maria Press), Scripture–God’s Handbook for Evangelizing Catholics (OSV), Saint Peter: Flawed, Forgiven, and Faithful (Loyola Press), and the ongoing Threshold Bible Study (Twenty-Third Publiciations). His books have earned four First Place Awards in Scripture from the Association of Catholic Publishers and two awards from the Catholic Press Association. Binz also offers pilgrimages to biblical lands and sacred places. He lives with his wife Pamela in Baton Rouge LA, and further information about his work can be found at www.Bridge-B.com.


Frank DeSiano


Contemplation: Bringing Self and Church to the World

The central dimension of contemplation–exemplified by the monastic tradition but broader than that–offers people a way to involve themselves in the mystery of the other–God, and a compassionate gaze toward others. As contemplation brings me outside myself, it brings me into relationships with God, with others, with others as community and Church; and it brings Church into relationship with the world. Contemplation, in this way, involves not only personal spiritual growth but also the growth of God’s people to be missionaries and servants.

Frank DeSiano was ordained a Paulist Priest in 1972 and has served as a pastor twice, in downtown New York and in downtown Chicago. He earned a D. Min. degree from Boston University in 1990 writing his thesis on “Parish Based Evangelization.” He was elected President of the Paulist Fathers and served from 1994-2002. He has been a leader in evangelization and parish renewal since 1988, serving on the US Committee for Evangelizaiton as a consultant for over twelve years. He has preached across the country, presented to many presbyteral conferences, and writes extensively in discipleship, evangelization, and spirituality.

Sponsored by: Paulist Evangelization Ministries

Teresa Maya


El Discernimiento: Identificando y Acompañando a los Líderes para la Catequesis Hispana
¿Cómo un proceso de discernimiento puede ayudarnos a identificar nuestros propios dones de liderazgo y reconocer los dones en los demás?

Sister Teresa Maya is a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio since 1994. Her ministry has been in education. She has served as teacher, history professor, and administrator. She has passion for the formation of ministers for Hispanics/Latinos in the United States. Sister Teresa got her B.A. at Yale University, her M.A. at the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley and the Ph.D. in El Colegio de Mexico in Mexico City. She is currently serving as Congregational Leader for her Congregation and as President-Elect for LCWR.

SPANISH: La Hermana Teresa Maya pertenece a la Congregación de las Hermanas de la Caridad del Verbo Encarnado desde 1994. Su experiencia ministerial es en el área de educación. Ha servido como maestra, profesora de historia y administradora. Tiene una pasión por la formación de agentes para la pastoral hispana en EUA. La Hermana Teresa curso el B.A. en la Universidad de Yale, el M.A. en el Graduate Theological Union en Berkeley y el Doctorado en El Colegio de México, en la Ciudad de México. Actualmente es sirve como Superiora General de Congregación y como Presidenta Electa de LCWR.

Sponsored by:  Federation of Catechesis for Hispanics


Deacon Art Miller


From an informed Catholic to a Transformed Catholic

Being Catholic is not my faith nor my belief, it is my lifestyle. The term Catholic is not a noun, not an adjective but a verb. My actions of a lived and loving life are Catholic.

 Deacon, author, radio and former television host, Viet Nam era veteran and veteran civil rights worker. Deacon Miller is the retired owner and president of A. Miller investments. Miller was ordained for the Archdiocese of Hartford in 2004. He recently retired as the director of of the Office for Black Catholic Ministries. Besides his assigned parish, he is the Chaplin at the Hartford’s Capital Community College and Adjunct faculty for Holy Family Retreat Center. Deacon Miller is a certified trainer in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s nonviolence philosophy as well as a Certified Spiritual Director and is a board member for the Connecticut Center for Nonviolence. To this day he continues to address 21st-century examples of the societal tendency to embrace violence. Echoing the thoughts of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., he believes that as part of the great human experience, no one can sit idly tolerant to the great injustices that happen anywhere in the world.

Sponsored by:  RCL Benziger

Johan Van Parys


On Becoming the Body of Christ: The Living Language of Sacred Symbols

In our liturgies we express to the world and impress on one another who we are as Christians. Through our learning efforts we get a better understanding of what it means to be a Christian. Ultimately, the goal of prayer and catechesis is to mold Christians into the Body of Christ so we may go into the world and witness to the Gospel in deed and word.

Johan van Parys, Ph.D., a native of Belgium holds graduate degrees in art history and comparative religious studies from the Catholic University in Louvain, Belgium and. in theology from The University of Notre Dame in Indiana. He has been Director of Liturgy and the Sacred Arts at The Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis since 1995. Johan lectures extensively throughout the country on a variety of topics relating to liturgy and the arts. His book Symbols that Surround Us (Liguori) was published in 2012. What’s the Smoke for. And other Burning Liturgical Questions (Liturgical Press) was published in 2014.

 Sponsored by: RCL Benziger

Jem Sullivan

The Beauty of Faith: A Transformational Encounter with Art in Catechesis

Beauty in the form of the arts is a path to God. This workshop explores the arts as a path of transformational encounter in catechesis. Beauty in the form of the arts engages the whole human person in holistic contemplation leading to personal transformation. By drawing on examples of sacred and religious art from the 2000 year old Christian artistic heritage, this workshop offers catechetical leaders an opportunity to re-discover the arts as a timely and powerful tool of catechesis in the new evangelization.

Dr. Jem Sullivan holds a doctorate in Religious Education from The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC. For some fifteen years she has taught graduate courses while serving on the faculty of the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington.
Jem is the author of three books from Our Sunday Visitor: A Study Guide to the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults; and The Beauty of Faith: Christian Art in the New Evangelization; and Opening the Door of Faith: A Catechist’s Guide to the New Evangelization. As a catechetical consultant, she has authored adult faith formation programs and catechetical resources for various dioceses. She writes for various catechetical publications on catechetical themes, particularly relating to faith and culture. Jem has served as docent at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC where she led public tours of the museum’s masterpiece collections.



Bob McCarty


 Recalibration: Contemplating moving to a personal, grace-filled future!

This session is for pastoral ministers in the wisdom generation (50’s or 60’s), considering your ‘next stage’ in life and ministry, and not ready to completely leave the ministry vineyard. Recalibration is a life-giving option to retirement, a re-examination of vocation and ministry, and a joy-filled pathway to our next stage. We will identify the practical challenges, key questions to consider, and specific strategies to honor our past and enhance our preferred future.

Bob McCarty is a pastoral ministry consultant and trainer and has been in professional ministry since 1973, serving in diocesan, parish, school, and community programs. He offers workshops and training programs in ministry skills and issues internationally. Bob is also the Chief Operating Officer for the Catholic Mobilizing Network, advocating for restorative justice and the end to the death penalty. He also serves as the chair of the board of directors for Saint Mary’s Press.

Bob is a volunteer in his parish youth ministry and catechetical program at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Fulton, MD. He has a BS in Sociology/Theology from St. Joseph’s University, an MA in Religious Education from LaSalle University and a D.Min. from the Graduate Theological Foundation in Indiana. Bob is adjunct faculty at St. John’s University, Collegeville, MN, the University of Dallas, and at the Catholic University of America. His hobbies include rock climbing, cycling, and now, grandparenting!

Sponsored by: St. Mary’s Press

Wednesday May 24

Vision: Articulating a Catechetical Future

Gerard (Jerry) Baumbach


Where Are You Headed on the Way of Catechesis?

What inspires and challenges us as we embrace the future? Transformative catechetical leaders approach and navigate the way ahead aware that the Church’s catechetical witness burns as a fire across the centuries and through our own dedicated service. With reliance on story, historical highlights, and faithful catechetical witness, the speaker will invite you to explore and reflect on four characteristics for envisioning and advancing catechesis: belonging; believing; discerning; and living, dying, and rising. Taken together, they offer doorways into faith treasured, shared, and lived in Christ, “the way and the truth and the life’” (John 14:6). Come and renew!

Gerard (Jerry) Baumbach, Ed.D., is professor emeritus in the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame and director emeritus of the Institute’s Echo Program. He joined the faculty in 2003 after a distinguished career in publishing, writing, and parish catechetical leadership. He has served catechesis since 1967, including several years as a parish catechetical leader and nearly twenty-five years at William H. Sadlier, Inc. His service also includes working on task groups of the US Catholic Conference and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He received, with the Institute’s Center for Catechetical Initiatives, the 2008 NCCL Catechetical Award, which recognized the Echo initiative. A past recipient of the F. Sadlier Dinger Award, he was also selected for inclusion in the “Christian Educators of the 20th Century Project,” recognizing his contributions to religious education. His forthcoming book is entitled “The Way of Catechesis: Exploring Our History, Renewing Our Ministry” (Ave Maria Press).

Sponsored by: Ave Maria Press


Carmen Cervantes


El Futuro Catequetico: El poder transformador de la fe hecha vida en los jóvenes

¿Qué poder tienen los jóvenes latinos para renovar nuestra Iglesia y transformar la sociedad? Y, ¿qué poder tenemos los adultos para promover el empoderamiento de la juventud? ¿Cómo pueden los catequistas desatar el poder del Espíritu en los adolescentes y jóvenes, para que sean profetas de esperanza y constructores de una nueva humanidad? ¿Con qué medios contamos para compartir con ellos nuestro amor a la Palabra de Dios hecha carne y nuestra dedicación a una catequesis evangelizadora? Al reflexionar sobre estas preguntas, descubriremos nuestra misión hacia y con los jóvenes, y visualizaremos cómo generar que se conviertan en sal, luz y levadura del evangelio de Jesús conforme avanza el Siglo XXI.

Dr. Cervantes is executive director of Instituto Fe y Vida, a Lasallian institute dedicated to “Empowering young Latinos for leadership in Church and society,” through a Leadership Formation System, biblical ministry, pastoral publications, research, advocacy, and collaboration.
Carmen is a national leader and international speaker with extensive experience in program development for lay ministry, particularly with Latino young people, catechists, and parents. She is the general editor of La Biblia Católica para Jóvenes, a study Bible for Latino young people, now in the hands of over one million young people and translated into Italian and Portuguese. She has published more than 20 pastoral books, many of them bilingual, and is a co-author of the Manual para la formación cristiana de la sexualidad: Para padres de familia como educadores de sus hijos (Manual on Christian education of sexuality for Latino parents educating their children at home).
Carmen holds a master’s degree in sociocultural anthropology, a doctorate in education with specialization in educational psychology, and advanced courses in Scriptures, catechesis, and pastoral ministry. She was cofounder and president of the National Organization of Catechesis for Hispanics (NOCH) and of the National Catholic Council for Hispanic Ministry (NCCHM); and played a key role in the creation of the National Catholic Network de Pastoral Juvenil Hispana (La RED), where she serves as an adviser. Dr. Cervantes has been granted three honorary doctorates, and received numerous awards for her service to the Church.
Dr. Cervantes worked as a sociocultural and educational researcher in México, where she was a professor at the Archdiocesan Seminary of México and Universidad Anáhuac. Upon her arrival at the U.S., she worked as a research assistant at Michigan State University and the University of the Pacific while pursuing her doctoral studies. Carmen served in the advisory board of the National Study on Youth and Religion in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and collaborated in the research conducted and published by Fe y Vida’s National Research and Resource Center.

Sponsored by: Federation for Catechesis With Hispanics

Marti R. Jewell

What Do You Mean ‘Collaborate’ ?

It is one thing to say we want to collaborate, and quite another to understand what that means. Research has discovered that the ability to work together and animate the community for mission is one of the hallmarks of good ministry. It turns out that how we collaborate depends largely on our leadership style. This workshop will provide insight into three models of leadership and collaboration. You will be able to recognize your own preferences and those of the members of your parish. Please join me for this interactive look what we mean by “collaborate.”

Dr. Marti R. Jewell is an associate professor of pastoral theology in the Neuhoff School of Ministry at the University of Dallas. She served as the Director of the Emerging Models of Pastoral Leadership Project, a national research initiative studying excellence in parish leadership. Her books include Navigating Pastoral Transitions: A Parish Leaders’ Guide, The Changing Face of Church, and The Next Generation of Pastoral Leaders. She also served as an agency director in the Archdiocese of Louisville focusing on ministry formation. Dr. Jewell holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from the Catholic University of America.

Charleen Katra


Embracing God’s Vision of Love

Persons with disabilities and their families seek to be included in the full life of the Church. God’s vision of love calls the Church to help bring about this reality! This session is for all leaders wanting to learn best practices that will transform their parish or diocese to become more accessible; physically, attitudinally, catechetically.

Charleen Katra is an Associate Director in the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. For eighteen years her responsibilities have included Ministry with Persons with Disabilities, Early Childhood and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Charleen speaks frequently at national, state and local events. Most notable are her presentations regarding strategies and best practices for the successful inclusion of diverse learners: from faith formation and sacramental preparation to liturgies and parish life! She believes that hospitality and evangelization are the foundations of this ministry which underscore Catholic social teaching regarding the dignity of the person. Charleen has a Bachelor of Science in Special Education and Elementary Education and a Masters in Pastoral Studies. She is a religion consultant and writer for Wm. H. Sadlier, Inc.

Sponsored by: William H. Sadlier, Inc.

Timothy O’Malley


Catechesis and the Way of Beauty

Pope Benedict XVI proposed the Way of Beauty as a privileged method for proposing the Gospel to the modern person. Yet, what does this way of beauty look like for the catechist in the parish or Catholic school? In this workshop, we will explore what is meant by the Way of Beauty and examine why it is necessary in our age. Participants will also discover five ways to let their own catechetical pedagogy be shaped by this way of beauty.

Timothy P. O’Malley is director of the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy in the McGrath Institute for Church Life. He has a concurrent position in the Department of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of Bored Again Catholic: How the Mass Could Save Your Life (Our Sunday Visitor, 2017) and Liturgy and the New Evangelization: Practicing the Art of Self-Giving Love (Liturgical Press, 2014).

At the University of Notre Dame, Dr. O’Malley teaches and researches in the areas of liturgical-sacramental theology, catechesis, and spirituality. He is currently writing two books. The first proposes a liturgical-sacramental approach to catechesis based upon pedaoggies of the imagination. The second is a book on the sacrament of marriage.

Sponsored by: Our Sunday Visitor

Matthew Pinto


Becoming a Catechist in the Image of Pope Francis

There is no doubt that Pope Francis is putting an unmistakable imprint on the “mode of evangelization” and “mode of Christian witness” Catholic leaders and teachers should embrace. His approaching is causing delight in some circles, consternation in others, and curiousity and questions to almost all. In this presentation, Matthew Pinto unpacks the fascinating and pastorally rich document, The Joy of the Gospel, as he shares 10 practical insights on how you can be a better Catholic leader and teacher. This session includes a “personal guide” where participants will process questions about their own faith, and private perspectives on the topic.

Matthew Pinto has been at the forefront of multiple Catholic initiatives since he began full-time in ministry 26 years ago, including the founding of of Ascension Press, where he serves as president. He has also co-founded Theology of the Body Institute, Envoy Magazine, and CatholicExchange.com. Matt also serves on several boards including the Association of Catholic Publishers.

Matt has authored or co-authored more than a dozen books and Catholic educational resources including multiple best-sellers, including, The Amazing Grace Series, which has been called a “Catholic Chicken Soup for the Soul” series of books,  Did Adam & Eve Have Belly Buttons?, and Freedom: Twelve Lives Transformed Through the Theology of the Body. Matt also conceived and co-wrote A Guide to The Passion: 100 Questions about the Passion of the Christ, which went on to become one of the highest ranking Catholic books ever to hit the New York Times religious best-seller list.

Matt was recently a speaker at the World Meeting of Families, 2015, and he appears regularly in the Catholic media. He also blogs regularly at MatthewPinto.com. A resident of suburban Philadelphia, Matt and his wife, Maryanne, are the parents of six children.

Sponsored by: Ascension Press

Julianne Stanz


Transformational Encounter through the Kerygma
The core gospel message (the kerygma) should be the beginning and centerpiece of all evangelization and faith formation efforts, particularly for adults. The first step in awakening the life of a disciple is the kerygma “without the kerygma, the other aspects of this process are condemned to sterility with hearts not truly converted to the Lord” Aparecida #6. During this practical session, a five part framework incorporating Scripture, music and art will be shared which can be used for all discipleship formation efforts, including RCIA and religious education.

 Julianne Stanz is the Director of New Evangelization for the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin and is a consultant to the USCCB Committee on Catechesis and Evangelization. Julianne loves to share her passion for the Catholic faith with others and is a nationally known speaker, retreat leader and story teller. She is author of the book “Evangelization and Catechesis” and the co-author with Joe Paprocki of the book “The Catechist’s Backpack- Spiritual Essentials for the Journey” both published by Loyola Press. She blogs monthly for the website “The Catechist’s Journey”. She is happily married to Wayne and they have three children, two sons and a daughter.

Sponsored by: Loyola Press

Joseph White


Five Ways Psychology can Inform (and Transform) Catechesis

How can what we know about human behavior, cognition and memory, human development, and emotions help us form the faith of others? In this session, Dr. Joseph D. White, Clinical Psychologist and National Catechetical Consultant, will discuss recent research in the social sciences that can help us be more effective as catechetical leaders.

Dr. Joseph White is a clinical child and family psychologist and National Catechetical Consultant for Our Sunday Visitor Publishing and Curriculum. Dr. White has worked as a parish catechetical leader and spent seven years as Director of Family Counseling and Family Life in the Diocese of Austin. He is the author of ten books and numerous articles on catechesis and ministry, and co-authored the Allelu and Alive in Christ catechetical series.

Sponsored by: Our Sunday Visitor

Sister Mary Angela Shaughnessy

Legal Issues and Catechetics: Navigating the Waters While Being Faithful to the Gospel

Today’s world of catechesis involves not only fidelity to the Gospel and the message we are called to proclaim, but also an awareness of the legal issues that impact our ministry.  This workshop will identify and discuss thorny legal issues and their implications for today’s catechists who work in both God’s world and the secular world of legalities.  A legal/ethical/Gospel model for decision making will be presented.

Sister Mary Angela Shaughnessy is a sister of charity of Nazareth who has taught at all levels of Catholic education from elementary through graduate school.  she served eight years as principal of a Catholic high school.  For the past thirty years, Sister Angie has served in Catholic higher education as vice-president, dean, program director and director of disabilities services, and professor.  Sister Angie holds a bachelor’s degree in English, a master’s degree in English, a master’s degree in education, a juris doctorate in law, and a PH.d. in educational administration and supervision.  Her research concerns the law as it affects Catholic schools and church ministry.  She is considered an expert on catholic education and the law in the united states, a consultant to numerous dioceses, Sister Angie is a highly sought after national speaker and the author of over thirty texts.  Currently, Sister is senior distinguished fellow of catholic education at Loyola Marymount university in Los Angeles, although her home is in Louisville, Kentucky.  She is the recipient of numerous awards.  She has been named one of the 25 most influential persons in Catholic education.  In April, she received the national Catholic education association’s highest award, the J. Albert Koob award for excellence in, and contributions to, Catholic education.

John Vitek

Why do youth and young adults leave the Church?

We all know young adults who have walked away. But why? Saint Mary’s Press with CARA has completed a study of Catholic young adults who have left the Church. This session will share their actual stories in their own words, review the research findings, and suggest necessary pastoral initiatives. We have entered new territory and we need the wisdom and humility to adjust our ministry maps. Come prepared to be affirmed, challenged, and surprised.

John M. Vitek currently serves as the president and chief executive officer of Saint Mary’s Press.
He is the general editor of Called to Mercy: Confirming Young People for a Mission of Witness (Saint Mary’s Press, 2016), The Catholic Family Connections Bible (Saint Mary’s Press, 2010) and the author of multiple books for Catholic youth: Living the Questions Jesus Asks: A Guide for Catholic Teens (Saint Mary’s Press, 2002); My Dear Young Friends: Pope John Paul II Speaks to Teens on Life, Love, and Courage (Saint Mary’s Press, 2001), and A Companion Way: Mentoring Youth in Searching Faith (Saint Mary’s Press, 1993). 
John has served in church leadership for nearly 30 years, including as a parish youth minister and director of religious education, a diocesan director of youth and pastoral life, and as diocesan chancellor. 
John holds undergraduate degrees in religious studies and communication arts from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, and a master’s degree in pastoral studies from the School of Divinity at St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Sponsored by: St. Mary’s Press

Federation of Catechesis For Hispanics Pre-Conference Speaker


Mario Paredes


Discipleship in Christ: Liderazgo Transformador

The Federation of Catechesis with Hispanics (FCH) invites all diocesan and parish catechetical leaders to join us for the 2017 NCCL Pre-Conference. This year the main presentation will consider the question: What does a good Catholic Leader look like?  Our presenter will lead a discussion, with Jesus as an example of  a leader, who recognizes, calls forth the gifts, and empowers others.

An accomplished author, innovator and business leader, Mario Paredes holds a Masters Degree in Philosophy from the Catholic University of Argentina and a Masters Degree in Religious Education from Loyola University Chicago. In previous leadership roles, Mario served as Vice President of Business Development for Merrill Lynch, National Director of the Latino Market for Multicultural and Diversified Business Development and, for a 30-year term, Director of Operations for the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops in the Northeast Region. At American Bible Society, Mario serves as Presidential Liaison to Catholic Ministry, and is Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Board for Catholic Association of Latino Leaders. He also serves as President of North American-Chilean Chamber of Commerce of New York and Vice President of Gabriela Mistral Foundation.

Sponsored by:  The Federation of Catechesis For Hispanics

Panel Speakers

More information coming soon…

St. Ann Catholic Parish
Panel of Speakers
Several years ago St. Ann Parish in Coppell recognized the need for improved adult faith formation to achieve lifelong discipleship.  While expanding our staff to accommodate the needs of our multicultural community we recognized the importance of forming disciples by using natural stages of spiritual development: pre-evangelization, evangelization, catechesis and discipleship.  With this in mind St. Ann embarked upon a new vision for the parish that focuses on recapturing our missionary identity.  New initiatives are underway to bring evangelization to the forefront of parish life by implementing programs for pre-evangelization to bring people to have a personal encounter with the Lord.  By integrating with our existing programs we can form a solid plan to teach new and existing disciples.

St. Ann Mission Statement
Love God Completely
Love All People Unconditionally,
Make Disciples Intentionally.
Excursion transportation sponsored by: City of Grapevine CVB

Hosffman Ospino


Wednesday Panel: A Catechetical Future

Hosffman Ospino, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Education at Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry. His research focuses on how the conversation between faith and culture shapes ministerial and educational practices in the Church. Professor Ospino has written and edited several books on Hispanic ministry, theology, and religious education. He served as the principal investigator for the National Study of Catholic Parishes with Hispanic Ministry, published in 2014, and a co-investigator for the National Survey of Catholic Schools Serving Hispanic Families, published in 2016. He is an officer of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States (ACHTUS), a member of the Board of Directors of the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA), and a member of the leadership team coordinating the Fifth National Encuentro of Hispanic/Latino Ministry (2017-2020). He was the recepient of the NCCL 2016 Catechetical Award

Sponsored by: Our Sunday Visitor 

Margaret Matijasevic

Wednesday Panel: A Catechetical Future

Margaret Matijasevic is the Executive Director of the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership.  She worked in Diocesan and Parish roles in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for fourteen years, focusing on leadership through collaboration and the utilization of technology to spread the Gospel. Her BA is in Theological and Religious Studies from the University of San Diego, and her MA in Pastoral Theology from Loyola Marymount University.  Margaret is the mother of two incredible children, Vincenzo and Elizabetta.

Kristin Witte


Wednesday Panel: A Catechetical Future

Dr. Kristin Witte has a love of Christ and passion for serving the poor and vulnerable. She has taught in a Catholic elementary school, worked as a college campus minister, parish youth minister, and for the Archdiocese of Baltimore as the coordinator of pastoral care and social justice. Having earned three master’s degrees, Kristin completed her Doctorate in Ministry with an emphasis in Pastoral Counseling from the Catholic University of America in 2012. Kristin currently serves as the coordinator of Catholic Educational Engagement at Catholic Relief Services. Kristin and her husband Andy have been married for 15 years and have a one year old daughter, Kyra Grace.

Sponsored by: Catholic Relief Services

Thomas P. Gaunt, SJ 

Wednesday Panel: A Catechetical Future

Father Thomas Gaunt, S.J. currently serves as the Executive Director of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, a position he has held since January 2011.

Bishop Sylvester Ryan

Wednesday Panel: A Catechetical Future

Bishop Sylvester Ryan – Ordained priest, 1957, Archdiocese of Los Angeles.  Served in parishes, associate and pastor, and principal of two high schools and taught in two others. Ordained an auxiliary Bishop in 1990, for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Monterey in 1992 and retired ten years ago this January.  Served as the Episcopal Advisor to NCCL for six years (and loved it, LOVED it) as well as the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on Stewardship.   Recent editor with a partner, Deborah Wilhelm, MA English and D. Min @ Aquinas Institute, Preaching Matters, Publisher, Catholic Theological Union.