2020 Speakers / Oradores de 2020

Joe Paprocki

Keynote Speaker

Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press in Chicago. His experience in pastoral ministry spans over four decades and he has presented in nearly 150 dioceses in North America. Joe is the author of numerous books on pastoral ministry and catechesis, including the best-selling The Catechist’s Toolbox and his most recent, Preparing Hearts and Minds: 9 Simple Ways for Catechists to Cultivate a Living Faith. Joe blogs about his catechetical experiences at https://catechistsjourney.loyolapress.com/

Gerardo Salazar

Orador principal

México-americano, originario de Los Ángeles California y San Luis Potosí México. Casado por 16 años con Nancy con quien tiene 10 hijos. Hijo de padres campesinos migrantes. Su madre lo consagró a San Gerardo cuyo nombre significa “espada de Dios” y a la Virgen del Carmen. Tiene una Licenciatura en Periodismo y Comunicaciones, una Maestría en Teología y Ministerio y un Doctorado en Ministerio de Teología Práctica. Es el subdirector para la formación de catequistas y líderes catequéticos hispanos en la Arquidiócesis de Galveston-Houston en Texas. Es consultor bilingüe para Sadlier. Es profesor de teología y director del Center Semillero for Hispanic/Latino Theology en la University of St Thomas. Su proceso de conversión comenzó en mayo del 2007 a los pies del Santuario Nacional de Nuestra Señora de las Nieves en Belleville Illinois.

 

Darleine Arce

Darleine Arce es originaria de Matanzas, Cuba, y tiene 7 años de experiencia ministerial incluyendo la enseñanza en programas parroquiales de educación religiosa y la pastoral juvenil, iniciación cristiana, y retiros familiares de preparación sacramental. Además, pertenece al FORUM para el RICA de la Arquidiócesis de Atlanta. Darleine tiene un bachillerato en Psicología de Florida State University, un Certificado en Catequesis de la Universidad de Dayton-Ohio, es “Master Catechist” y es actualmente la Coordinadora de Catequesis de la parroquia de Saint Philip Benizi.

 

Ileana Astorga

Costarricense, oriunda de la ciudad de Cartago. Casada por 30 años con Prof. Danilo Salas Arias con quien tienen 4 hijos. Hija de padres Católicos y seguros de su fe.Tiene 25 años de ser catequista.Abogada del Tribunal Metropolitano de Atlanta. Cuenta con una certificación en Teología Pastoral, coordina junto a su esposo la formación religiosa en espanol de su parroquia. Ministro extraordinario de la Sagrada Comunión, Lectora experimentada y apoya el programa de Morning Mom Program de su parroquia.  

 

Kathy Bearden

Kathy Bearden is a storyteller,  motivational speaker, executive coach and facilitator. She has taught PSR at St. Joseph’s in  Marietta  for over 15 years.  Kathy speaks to many groups about living with joy and positivity. She leads women’s retreats and heads the Women of St. Joseph ministry.

 

Dr. John Bergsma

Dr. John Bergsma is Professor of Theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he has taught Scripture since 2004. He holds a B.A., M.Div. and Th.M. degrees from Calvin University & Seminary and a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from the University of Notre Dame. A former Protestant pastor, Dr. Bergsma has authored eight books on Scripture and the Catholic faith. He has also published numerous scholarly essays and articles in various journals, festschrifts, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and essay collections. He and his wife Dawn reside with their children in Steubenville, Ohio.

 

DeKarlos Blackmon

DeKarlos Blackmon has served as the Secretariat Director of Life, Charity, and Justice since 2015. He serves as the Diocesan Director of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the Director of Social Concerns, and the Coordinator of Black Ministry. He has served as a consultant to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee for Cultural Diversity for African American Affairs. He has taught in the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans. He will be hosting the Live Booth for “Where Do We Go From Here? ‘Open Wide our Hearts’ and Next Steps.” 

 

Katie Bogner

Katie Bogner is a Catholic school teacher and DRE from central Illinois. She has eleven years experience working with all ages from preschool through adults but especially enjoys middle schoolers. Katie is passionate about equipping catechists to share the beauty and truth of Christ and His Church with others. She writes the blog looktohimandberadiant.com.

 

William Cardona

William, tiene un Máster en Teología y un Baccalaureatum en Filosofía y Pastoral por la Pontificia Universita Urbaniana, en Roma. Ha trabajado por más de 25 años en pastoral desde las áreas de formación de liderazgo, metodología para catequistas y elaboración de programas de catequesis para adultos. Ha sido consultor pastoral en parroquias y diócesis en la implementación de programas de formación para la comunidad hispana católica en los Estados Unidos. Actualmente se desempeña como Assistant Director of Hispanic Ministry para la Oficina de Ministerios Interculturasles de la Arquidiócesis de Atlanta.

 

Brian Christopherson

Brian Christopherson has been an educator in both public schools and private Catholic schools, as well as his current role as Faith Formation Coordinator at St. Thomas More Catholic School in Atlanta and EDGE Middle School Youth Minister at St. Oliver Plunkett in Snelville, GA. In addition to his 11 years of experience as an educator, he has been a Youth Minister, Confirmation Coordinator, and the Coordinator of Faith Formation. Brian has his undergraduate degree in U.S. History from Fort Lewis College and his Masters in Theological Studies from the University of Dallas. He lives in Snellville with his wife and two children.

 

Dr. Ximena DeBroeck

Ximena DeBroeck, STL, PHD, es Directora de Formación Catequética y Pastoral de la Arquidiócesis de Baltimore. También es profesora adjunta de Sagrada Escritura en el Seminario Mount St. Mary’s, Emmitsburg, MD, y miembro del St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. Es autora de cursos pastorales, enseñados en línea, en la Universidad de Notre Dame y en la Universidad de Dayton, de la “Guía de Estudio” para el libro de Sherry Weddell, Formación de Discípulos Intencionales y de artículos sobre formación sacramental.

 

Alessandeo DiSanto

Alessandro is one of the Co-Founders and Head of Growth at Hallow. Raised in a large Italian-American family, Alessandro is a proud product of Catholic education from kindergarten through college, ultimately graduating from the University of Notre Dame.  Alessandro began a career on Wall St, first in New York City and then Chicago, but after a series of life-changing experience in prayer, quit his job in finance to join his friends in building Hallow, a Catholic prayer and meditation app. Launched only a year and a half ago, Hallow has already been used to pray over 1.5 million times in over 50 countries and is the #1 Catholic app in the US App Store.

 

Kat Doyle

Kat is a Certified Lay Ecclesial Minister and currently the Director of Justice & Peace Ministries for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta where she staffs the Archbishop and Auxiliary Bishops on matters of social concern. Prior to that, she has worked as a Pastoral Associate, Director of Parish Life and Director of Justice & Outreach Ministries, as well as being a Youth Minister for 10+ years. Kat studied Industrial Design at Auburn University, Theology at Springhill College-Atlanta, and Catholic Social teaching at The University of Dayton. She works to inspire all people to move towards greater social responsibility through transformative, relationship-based actions.

 

Bishop Shelton J. Fabre

Bishop Fabre was installed as the 4th Bishop of Houma-Thibodaux in 2013. He previously served as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1989. After his priestly ordination, he held both pastoral assignments and administrative positions in the Diocese of Baton Rouge, including Director of the Office of Black Catholics and positions on the marriage tribunal, the diocesan school board, and the clergy personnel board. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from St. Joseph Seminary-College in St. Benedict, LA, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in religious studies from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium.

 

Ryan Foley

Ryan Foley is the Vice President of Business Development for Covenant Eyes. Ryan has spent the last eight years educating and supporting Dioceses, Parishes, and Catholic Schools address the harms of pornography. In addition to his primary role at Covenant Eyes, he serves as a board member for the Chasity Project and Just A Guy In The Pew, is the Executive Director of ePriest.com, and is a co-owner of the Virtual Catholic Conference. Ryan has been married for 25 years to Melissa, has three children, lives in Cumming, GA, where they attend St. Brendan Catholic Church.

 

Andres Garcia

Andrés García tiene un Certificado en Teología Pastoral de la Universidad de Dallas y es “Master Catechist”. Durante los pasados 20 años ha sido coordinador de diferentes programas de educación religiosa y sirve como Maestro de Ceremonias durante la Misa. Es miembro de la Iglesia Católica de la Transfiguración.

 

Luis Guzmán

Luis Guzmán nació en México, DF. Tiene un doctorado en Telecomunicaciones Inalámbricas, un doctorado en Teología y Filosofía (PhD) y varias maestrías. Es miembro del FORUM para el RICA de la Arquidiócesis de Atlanta, capacitador de la Oficina del Culto Divino de la Cancillería, coordinador diocesano del programa de Preparación Matrimonial “Pareja a Pareja” y catequista de adultos y del RICA en la Catedral de Cristo Rey.

 

Maria Goretti Guzman

Originaria de Mérida, Yucatán (México), María ha sido catequista desde los 15 años y posee maestrías en catecismo, teología del cuerpo y teología. Además, pertenece al FORUM para el RICA de la Arquidiócesis de Atlanta y es coordinadora diocesana en el programa de Preparación Matrimonial “Pareja a Pareja, en las Buenas y para Siempre”. Ha sido directora de educación religiosa del Ministerio Hispano de la Catedral de Cristo Rey, en Atlanta, desde el 2004.

 

Mark Hart

Mark Hart serves as Chief Information Officer and Executive Vice President of Life Teen, a Catholic youth ministry movement currently being implemented in 1,800 parishes in thirty countries worldwide. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Mark is a best-selling author, a popular speaker, and SiriusXM radio host. Mark and his wife, Melanie, reside in Phoenix, Arizona with their four children, Hope, Trinity, Faith, and Josiah.

 

Ginny Henry

Ginny Henry is an educator and former Curriculum Coordinator for St. Thomas More School in the Archdiocese of Atlanta.  During her 6 years of service at St. Thomas More, she taught middle school science and social studies.  She holds both a Master’s Degree in Middle Grades Education and a Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership from Mercer University. While receiving her Master’s, Ginny taught 5th grade at Ricks Institute in Monrovia, Liberia. She currently lives in south Georgia.

 

Maureen Ingalls

Originally from New York, Maureen  has  lived in Georgia for 40 years. She has been a spiritual director for 13 years and is presently a member of Transfiguration parish in Marietta. Maureen is a Master Catechist and facilitates a Tuesday morning spirituality group there.  She is proud of how this inter-generational group of men and women, grows together in age, wisdom, and grace.

 

Jenny Kiehl

Jenny Kiehl is a former elementary school teacher, who felt called to move beyond the classroom. She is now the Director of Children’s Ministry at St. Ann. She holds Master’s of Organizational Development and Leadership, which has helped her to transform their PSR program into a faith formation sessions that children love attending.

 

Lucia Baez Luzondo

Lucía es abogada licenciada de inmigración, consultora, cantautora, evangelizadora y escritora católica. Es cofundadora del Ministerio de Renovación Familiar. Actualmente es directora de la Oficina de los Ministerios Interculturales de la Arquidiócesis de Atlanta y trabaja en programas radio y televisión de estaciones católicas.

 

Dr. Ricardo Luzondo

El Dr. Ricardo Luzondo, M.D. es conferencista internacional, autor y cofundador de Renovación Familiar. Además es coanfitrión de la serie de televisión “Creados para Amar”,  en EWTN en español, y del programa semanal de radio en vivo “En el Día a Día con Ricardo y Lucía”, en EWTN Radio Católica Mundial. Se desempeñó como director de la Oficina para la Vida Parroquial en la Arquidiócesis de San Antonio y ha sido consultor de varias secretarías en la USCCB. Actualmente es director de discipulado y corresponsabilidad en la parroquia de Santo Tomás de Aquino.

 

Amy McEntee

Amy McEntee earned her MA in Theological Studies from the University of Dayton and has ministry experience in the areas of faith formation for children, youth, and adults. Amy has presented locally and nationally, particularly in the areas of catechist formation, young adult ministry and technology in ministry. Currently she is the project t manager for RCL Benziger, a reluctant runner and avid reader. She lives with her husband, Patrick, in Dayton, Ohio. 

 

Ashley Morris, Th.M.

Mr. Ashley Morris, Th.M. currently serves as the Associate Director of the Office of Intercultural Ministries of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta. Ashley received his Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Media Arts from Clark Atlanta University and his Masters of Pastoral Theology from the Institute of Black Catholic Studies of Xavier University of Louisiana. He is a member of the Pan African Catholic Organization of Atlanta, the National Association of African Catholics in the United States, and the National Association of Black Catholic Administrators. Ashley and his wife LaSheka are parishioners of the historic Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Atlanta and have a daughter.

 

Sheila Murray

Sheila Murray has served in Religious Education for 13 years at Transfiguration Catholic Church.  After 5 years in Youth Ministry, she has since worked in Preschool and Elementary Faith Formation.  Sheila is a Master Catechist and has received a Certificate of Lay Ecclesial Ministry from Spring Hill College. 

 

Monica Oppermann

Monica Oppermann es Directora Asociada de Evangelización en la Oficina de Formación y Discipulado de la Arquidiócesis de Atlanta. Ha servido en la Iglesia de Atlanta durante los pasados 20 años, enfocándose en evangelización, formación de adultos, desarrollo de discípulos y renovación parroquial. Es una presentadora apasionada por la evangelización y su importancia para ayudar a las personas a conocer el amor de Jesucristo.

 

Kelly Powers

Kelly Powers, her husband and two children are parishioners at All Saints Catholic Church in Dunwoody.  There she serves as a Lector and leads the training of the Altar Servers.  For the last seven years, she has taught mathematics for Kolbe Academy, an online Catholic homeschooling hybrid.  During that time she has learned many tricks for making students successful in the online platform that she is always eager to share with others.

 

Paul Sanfrancesco

Paul Sanfrancesco is a Religion/Technology Consultant for Sadlier.  He has worked in Catholic, private, and public education  as a teacher, Assistant Principal and Director of Technology as well as collegiate teaching. The NSBA named him one of the “20 to Watch” Educators for his work in Instructional Technology. He was also named  CTO of 2018 for the state of PA. Additionally he has written for Tech & Learning, School CIO and EdTech Magazine.

 

Bev Sauer

Bev has been teaching catechists for 40 years, including grades pre-school through high school. A Master Catechist in California, Wisconsin, and Georgia, she has done pastoral theology studies in both under and postgraduate areas. She has been a Spiritual Director, Adult Education Director, and a Public School Elementary teacher.

 

Marjie Schutz

Marjie Schutz has been an active member in Adult Faith Formation for 20 years. She currently leads a Senior Spirituality Group, as well as being involved in Women in Faith Group and initiated the Mercy Mat Ministry at Transfiguration Catholic Church. 

 

Pia Septién

Pía Septién obtuvo su licenciatura en administración de empresas en México. Además tiene una maestría en estudios teológicos y una certificación en administración pastoral de la Universidad de Dallas. A partir del 2006 ha estado dando clases en la Universidad de Dallas en diversas áreas. También ha dado clases por Internet de Introducción al Antiguo Testamento para la Universidad de Dayton. Es co-autora de una serie de libros de texto de educación religiosa para grados entre 7 y 9 y autora de otros libros.

 

Kelly Simpson

Kelly Simpson is passionate about leading teens closer to Christ and has been doing so through in youth ministry for over eight years. She is the Director of Youth Ministry at St. Ann’s in Marietta, Georgia, where she serves the hundreds of teens who gather each week. Kelly also serves as the Life Teen Area Contact for parishes in Georgia. Her love language is sarcasm and in her free time, you can find her cheering on the Crimson Tide and drinking lots of coffee.

 

Patrice Spirou

Patrice Spirou is the Associate Director of Faith Formation, Regional in the Office of Formation & Discipleship at the Archdiocese of Atlanta. Patrice presents on Spirituality and Faith Formation. She is a passionate advocate of family focused ministries. Patrice is also a wife and mother of four, and has more than twenty-five years of experience ministering and teaching in Catholic schools and parishes.

 

Joel Stepanek

Joel Stepanek has been actively and passionately involved in ministry for over 15 years and currently serves as the Vice President of Parish Services for Life Teen. Joel is a sought after speaker, author of several books, and adjunct faculty for Franciscan University of Steubenville. Joel is an avid Crossfitter, Spartan-racer, and marathon runner. He enjoys cooking and gardening, and loves spending time with his wife, Colleen, and two children, Elijah and Sophia.

 

Rita Thiron

Rita Thiron is the Executive Director of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions in Washington, DC and a consultant to the Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship of the USCCB . Prior to arriving at the the FDLC, she served for twenty years as the Director of the Office of Worship for the Diocese of Lansing (Michigan). She holds a Master’s Degree in Theology with a Concentration in Liturgical Studies from the University of Notre Dame and a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Xavier University. She and her husband have two grown children and three exceptional grandchildren.

 

Loretta Uhlmann

Loretta has been involved in Catechetical Ministry for 40 years. In that time she’s been a Director of Faith Formation at four different parishes, a Diocesan Master Catechist, an educator of children with special needs, a Diocesan Director for Persons with Disabilities, and trainer of advocates for persons with disabilities.

 

Joe Von Kanel

Joe is a master catechist in the Archdiocese of Atlanta and an RCIA leader who led family catechesis in the Diocese of New York. He lives and works in DC and helps with RCIA at St. Joseph’s on Capitol Hill Parish.

 

Marcus Villalba

Marcos Villalba es profesor de teología en Loyola College Prep en Shreveport, LA. También fue coordinador de jóvenes hispanos y jóvenes adultos en la Diócesis de Shreveport y ministro juvenil en varias parroquias. Tiene una maestría en teología bíblica de la Universidad Católica de Juan Pablo II Magno y estudió artes pastorales en los jóvenes, el  matrimonio y la familia en el Colegio Católico Mexicano Americano.

 

Dr. Joseph White

Dr. Joseph White is a child and family psychologist and Director of Catechetical Resources for Our Sunday Visitor Publishing and Curriculum. He previously worked as a parish catechetical leader and spent seven years as Director of Family Counseling and Family Life in the Diocese of Austin. A frequent guest on Catholic radio and television, Dr. White is the author of twelve books and numerous articles on catechesis and ministry, and co-authored the Allelu and Alive in Christ catechetical series.

 

Dr. Petroc Willey

Originally from England, Dr. Petroc lives in Steubenville, Ohio, where he is the Director of the Catechetical Institute at Franciscan University. He deeply appreciates being here in the United States, even though he and his wife still miss English tea! Dr. Petroc worked in Catholic education in Oxford and in Birmingham for more than twenty-five years, in seminary and lay institutions, and in both traditional and distance education. He was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI a Consultor for the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization in Rome. Petroc is also the host for the EWTN series, “Handing on the Faith.” Dr. Petroc is married to his wife Katherine and has four children.