We are currently seeking and reviewing speakers for the 2020 Atlanta Catechist Conference. If you interested in speaking, please follow the instructions in the Call for Speakers. If your workshop proposal is selected, you will be required to submit a Speaker Recommendation Form.
2019 Speakers are listed below
Tony Alonso is a theologian and composer whose work is animated by the diverse needs of the contemporary church. A Cuban-American Roman Catholic, Tony’s compositions embrace multicultural musical expressions and reflect a commitment to strong ritual song. His music appears in compilations and hymnals across Christian denominations throughout the world. In 2015, this work was recognized with an invitation to compose the responsorial psalm for the first Mass Pope Francis celebrated in the United States. Tony’s scholarly work lies at the intersection of liturgical theology, ecclesiology, and cultural studies. He has presented at scholarly and pastoral conferences and events across North America and Europe. He has also authored several essays and articles in journals such as Modern Theology, Worship, and Liturgy. Tony holds a Bachelor of Music in choral conducting from Northwestern University, a Master of Arts in theology from Loyola Marymount University, and a PhD in religion from Emory University. Tony is Assistant Professor of Theology and Culture at Candler School of Theology at Emory University where he also serves as Director of Catholic Studies.
Tony Alonso es un teólogo y compositor cuyo trabajo está motivado por las diversas necesidades de la Iglesia contemporánea. Las composiciones de este católico-cubano-estadounidense, abarcan expresiones musicales multiculturales y reflejan un fuerte compromiso con la canción ritual. Su música aparece en compilaciones e himnarios a través de denominaciones cristianas en todo el mundo. En 2015, este trabajo fue reconocido con una invitación a componer el salmo responsorial para la primera misa que el Papa Francisco celebró en los Estados Unidos. El trabajo académico de Tony se encuentra en la intersección de la teología litúrgica, la eclesiología y los estudios culturales. Ha presentado conferencias y eventos académicos y pastorales en América del Norte y Europa. También ha escrito varios ensayos y artículos en revistas como Teología Moderna, Culto y Liturgia. Además tiene una licenciatura en música en dirección coral de Northwestern University, una maestría en artes en teología de Loyola Marymount University y un doctorado en religión de Emory University. Actualmente es profesor asistente de teología y cultura en la Escuela de Teología Candler de la Universidad de Emory, donde también se desempeña como director de estudios católicos.
Darleine Arce tiene más de cinco años de experiencia catequética y actualmente es la Coordinadora de Catequesis en la Iglesia Católica de St. Philip Benizi. Darleine tiene una licenciatura en psicología de la Universidad de Florida State, y también completo el programa de certificación en catequesis de la Universidad de Dayton. Además, tiene una certificación catequética a nivel de maestría de la Arquidiócesis de Atlanta.
Rosa Illeana Astorga
Rosa Ileana Astorga nació en Costa Rica, está casada y tiene cuatro hijos. Estudió y trabajó como profesora de Ética Cristiana en el Colegio Seráfico San Francisco. Llegó a EE.UU. en 2001 para servir al Señor en innumerables ministerios, siendo la catequesis su gran pasión. Actualmente está terminando sus estudios en Teología Pastoral en la Universidad de Dallas.
Cricket and Jerry Aull
Cricket and Jerry have been married for 47 years. Both hold degrees in Theology. Cricket is and author, retreat leader and spiritual director. Jerry is a musician and recording artist and teaches in the diaconate program in the Archdiocese of Atlanta.
Nancy Bird has been involved in religious education as a catechist, parish catechetical leader and youth minister. She combines practical experience, creativity and motivational enthusiasm to energize those called to live their Baptism joyfully. Nancy has been a featured speaker, workshop presenter and retreat facilitator across the US and Canada.
Fr. Philip Bochanski
Fr. Philip Bochanski, was ordained in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 1999. In addition o parish assignments, he has served as a high school teacher, a chaplain, and a spiritual director. In 2017, he was appointed executive director of Courage International, an apostolate that provides pastoral care to those who experience same sex attractions and have chosen to live a chaste life. He has published several articles, books and audio lecture series.
Katie Bogner is a Catholic school teacher and DRE from central Illinois. She has ten 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.
Steve Botsford is a National Religion Consultant for William H. Sadlier, Inc. He holds an MA in both religious education and business administration; and a church management certificate. He is a master catechist in the Archdiocese of Atlanta and has served over 10 years in parish ministries as a youth minister and DRE.
Sharon is the mom of three grown children and has taught for 13 wonderful years in the parish preschool program. She has been the Elementary Faith Formation Coordinator at Holy Trinity Catholic Church for the last five years.
Joe has over 20 years of youth ministry experience, as a youth minister, Eastern Region Director for Life Teen, and as a Core member. Currently, he enjoys running up and down mountains, serving actively at his parish of St. Ann’s, and doing all he can to keep up with his wife and 6 funtastic children.
Jessie has an MA in Education from East Carolina University. She taught pre-k through 8th grade PE at St. Mary’s Catholic school in Virginia before working in Youth Ministry full time. Currently she is a Youth Minister at Prince of Peace Catholic Church.
Kat is the Director of Justice & Peace Ministries for the Archdiocese of Atlanta. She has worked as a Pastoral Associate, Director of Parish Life, Youth Minister and Director of Justice & Outreach Ministries at a large parish. As a wife, mother and grandmother, Kat works to inspire all people to move towards greater social responsibility through transformative, relationship-based actions that will leave this world a better place for future generations.
Becky Eldredge is a writer and Ignatian-trained spiritual director retreat facilitator and writer. She offers a reflection series and weekly reflections on her website (beckyeldredge.com) as well as bi-weekly reflections on Loyola Press’ Ignatian Spirituality blog, dotMagis. Her family, husband and three children are her greatest joy.
Pamela Elsey has been involved in Catholic religious education for thirty years in schools, parishes, and at the diocesan level. Currently, she is a National Consultant for Saint Mary’s Press. She and her husband, Mark, reside in Newnan, GA and are members of St. Mary Magdalene Church.
Fr. Timothy Gadziala
Fr. Gadziala studied philosophy and music at the University of Georgia. Ordained in 1994, Fr. Gadziala is celebrating his Silver Jubilee in 2019. In addition to his MDiv and MA in Sacred Scripture, he graduated from The Catholic University of America with a Licentiate in Canon Law. He has served as a Vicar General and Judicial Vicar for the Diocese of Mandeville, Jamaica for over five years. He is the pastor of St. Peter’s Catholic Church and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Mission.
Sara is originally from Maine but moved South for her mission year with Life Teen. She has been the High School Youth Minister at Holy Spirit for 2 years. Sara enjoys painting, football, hosting parties or binge watching a Netflix show with her roommates. Life with Christ is a wonderful adventure and under the guidance of John Paul II and Saint Elizabeth, Sara has experienced that abundantly.
Awilda Guadalupe quien ha sido una franciscana seglar profesa por más de 16 años, está casada y tiene dos hijas mayores. Además, trabajó en el Departamento de Defensa como gerente de aseguramiento de información durante 30 años. Actualmente, Willie pertenece a la Fraternidad de la Inmaculada Concepción en Jonesboro y sirve en la Junta Ejecutiva Regional de la Orden Franciscana como presidente de multiculturalismo; y a nivel nacional, como consejera internacional, representante de los Estados Unidos y consejera de multiculturalismo.
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.
Dulce M Jimenez-Abreu
Dulce es directora de mercadeo bilingüe de Sadlier, profesora y traductora con más de 25 años de experiencia en el campo de la catequesis bilingüe. Ha presentado numerosos talleres sobre la integración de la cultura latina en la catequesis y formas prácticas para enseñar a niños bilingües. Tiene una maestría en ciencia sociales, una maestría en literatura española y una maestría en educación religiosa.
Fr. John Koziol, OFM Conv.
Fr. John Koziol earned a BA in History and Secondary Education. After college he taught at a Catholic School then entered the Novitiate of St. Anthony of Padua Province of the Conventual Franciscans. Following profession of vows, he pursued studies in philosophy and theology. He was ordained a priest in July 1988. He completed his Doctoral Studies in Adult Spiritual Formation. He currently serves as Dean of the South Deanery.
Megan Kyle currently the Edge/Confirmation youth minister at St. Ann’s in Marietta. Megan grew up in Alpharetta and attended Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA. She received a B in Social Work and Religious Studies. She has been enjoyed being a Youth Minister for the past 12 years. Her favorite things include: the mountains, kombucha, playing cards, antiquing, campfires and watching her girls play softball.
Andy grew up in Atlanta. His faith deepened through his family and in Catholic school, campus ministry, and parish life. Andy married his college sweetheart (blessed with three kids), earned an MA and PhD in theology, and worked for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops for twelve years before returning home to Georgia, a dream come true.
Jeanne Lyons is the the Special Needs Religious Education Coordinator at St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church. She writes music for reaching, teaching and welcoming persons with disabilities as well as music for catechesis. Jeanne has an education degree from the University of Virginia.
Diana Macalintal, with her husband, Nick Wagner, is a co-director of Team RCIA.com, a free online resource for catechumenate ministry which they began in 2007. Diana is an author and speaker on Catholic liturgy, music, the catechumenate, and intercultural ministry. She holds an MA in Theology and has served in campus, parish and diocesan ministries for 30 years. She is the author of several books.
Ann Marie Martin
In January Ann Marie celebrated her 35th wedding anniversary to the love of her life, Jim. They have 3 adult sons, 2 dogs and 1 cat. Ann Marie attended the Loyola Institute for Ministry program for Religious Education and has been teaching at St. Ann’s on the Adult Faith Formation staff for 5 years.
Kathy is currently the Director of Faith Formation and Evangelization at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta, GA. Prior to this position, Kathy spent 12 years at RCL Benziger working in Catholic Religion publishing. She holds a Master’s degree in Pastoral Ministry from Loyola University, New Orleans. Before working at RCL Benziger, Kathy spent 14 years in the Archdiocese of Atlanta as Parish Youth Minister, Diocesan Director of Youth Ministry and Diocesan Director of Religious Education.
Lorraine Miller is the Director of Faith Formation at St. Philip Benizi Catholic Church. She has been involved in ministry to children and adults for over 30 years. She previously worked at a parish in the Diocese of Ft. Worth. Lorraine has a BS in Education, a Certificate in Comprehensive Biblical Studies from the University of Dallas, and an MA in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University.
A Special Educator for 31 years, Jessie has taught PSR sessions for both general and special education participants. She developed a growing, self-contained, special needs faith formation program with sessions adapted for the needs of those with autism, intellectual disabilities and emotional needs. Jessie also teaches young adults with disabilities, and sacrament preparation and RCIA sessions for people with deafness.
Terri is the Assistant Youth Ministry Coordinator at Holy Trinity Catholic Church where she has also served as a catechist. She is proud to be a military wife and mother of four children.
Tim is director of education at the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame and the academic director of the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy. He is the author of four books, most recently Divine Blessing: Liturgical Formation in the RCIA (Liturgical Press, 2019) and Off the Hook: God, Love, Dating, and Marriage (Ave Maria Press, 2018). At Notre Dame, he teaches liturgical-sacramental theology, theological aesthetics, and catechesis.
Monica Oppermann is an Associate Director of Evangelization in the Office of Formation and Discipleship in the Archdiocese of Atlanta. Monica has been serving the Church of Atlanta for the past 20 years, focusing on evangelization, discipleship development and parish renewal. She is a coach for Alpha, Amazing Parish, Called and Gifted, and a passionate speaker on Evangelization and its importance in helping people meet the love of Jesus Christ.
Randall Ory is a deacon in the Archdiocese of Atlanta. He holds an MTS from Spring Hill College. He is an adjunct faculty member at several universities and is currently the Director of Adult Faith Formation at St. Oliver Plunkett Church in Snellville.
Fr. Panayiotis Papageorgiou
Fr. Panayiotis was born on the island of Cyprus. He holds both a BA and MA in Chemical Engineering, an MDiv in theology, and a PhD in Early Christian Studies. He has served as a priest in the U.S. and Cyprus over the last 30 years and has taught Orthodox Theology and Spirituality in Cyprus, Jerusalem, Canada and the US. He has been the pastor of Holy Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church in Marietta for the past 13 years.
Jo Ann Paradise
Dr. Jo Ann Paradise is a National Consultant for Our Sunday Visitor Curriculum Division and works with a team in creating resources for children and families. Jo Ann has served as catechetical leader in the Diocese of Pittsburgh for over 32 years as a Catholic School teacher as well as an adjunct faculty member of several universities. Jo Ann has a BS in Education, an MA in Theology and a DMin in Spirituality.
P. Pedro Poloche
El Rev. Pedro Poloche nació en Colombia. Fue ordenado sacerdote para la Arquidiócesis de Atlanta el 13 de junio de 1998. Es licenciado en teología dogmática de la Pontificia Universidad Javeriana en Bogotá, Colombia y licenciado en derecho canónico de la Universidad Católica de América en Washington, DC. En la actualidad sirve como párroco de la parroquia de Santa Helena, en Clayton, Georgia.
Rosemary is the Director of Religious Education at St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church is Roswell. She has directed the preparation for First Reconciliation and First Communion for 15 years and is always seeking new ways for children to explore the beauty of our faith. She has 4 grown children and resides with her husband is Marietta.
Maria L. Quiroz
María nació en Sonora, México y emigró EE.UU. a los 15 años. Ha sido catequista y directora de educación religiosa en la Diocese de Tucson, Az por más de 32 años. Tiene un certificado de estudios pastorales hispanos y un certificado de liderazgo catequético entre otros. Además ha sido consultora catequética de Our Sunday Visitor. Desde niña ha sentido el llamado de servir a Dios y se ha dedicado a compartir su fe.
Randy Raus is CEO and President of Life Teen International. Randy is not only an advocate for teenagers, he’s a champion of fearlessness and change, constantly encouraging the Staff and Missionaries of Life Teen to think bigger and expect things from our God Who is so good to us.
P. Victor Reyes
El P. Reyes es un sacerdote de la Arquidiócesis de Atlanta con una amplia experiencia en ministerios catequéticos y de iniciación. Además, ha sido instructor de liturgia y homilética en varios programas de formación ministerial y ha servido en talleres, retiros y renovaciones parroquiales. Actualmente es consultor, párroco de Our Lady of La Salette, en Canton, GA y miembro del Foro para el Catecumenado de Atlanta.
Maggie Rousseau is the Director of the Disabilities Ministry for the Archdiocese of Atlanta. She has an, MA in Early Childhood Multiple and Severe Disabilities, and ten years of experience in teaching students with multiple and severe disabilities.
El Obispo Ned Shlesinger, III
El Obispo Ned Shlesinger, III nació en Washington, DC y se crió en el norte de Virginia. Se graduó de Virginia Tech con un título en ingeniería agrícola y perteneció a la Fuerza Aérea de los EE.UU. Al retirarse del servicio militar activo, ingresó al seminario para servir a la Diócesis de Raleigh, donde permaneció hasta 2013. En mayo de 2017, fue nombrado obispo auxiliar de la Arquidiócesis de Atlanta. Fue ordenado en julio de 2017.
Kelly Simpson is the Director of Youth Ministry at St. Ann’s in Marietta. She has a BA in Psychology and a certificate in Catechesis from the U. of Dayton. Kelly has worked at St. Ann’s for over 8 years and is passionate about leading teens closer to Christ. Kelly also serves as a Life Teen Area Contact for parishes in Georgia. in her free time, you can find Kelly cheering on the Crimson Tide and drinking coffee.
Patrice Spirou is the Associate Director for Evangelization and Catechesis in the Office of Formation and Discipleship at the Archdiocese of Atlanta. She is a passionate advocate of family-focused ministries. Patrice is a wife and mother of four, and has more than twenty years of experience in ministry and teaching in Catholic Schools.
Mike Sylvester serves as the Director of Youth Ministry & Formation at St. Gregory the Great in Bluffton, SC. He brings 16 years of parish and diocesan youth ministry experience, a Certificate in Youth Ministry Studies and an M.A. in both Theology and Catechetics. His first vocation is to his wife and two children.
Mario is the Parish Specialist for Life Teen International. He was a Youth Minister in New Mexico and full time missionary for Life Teen at Camp Covecrest. Mario is based in the Atlanta office for Life Teen.
Kate is the director of Holy Family Preschool and has worked in both faith formation and the preschool classroom. She finds delight working with the very young and loves to share ideas. A lifelong learner and passionate Catholic, one of her greatest joys is walking with others on their journey of faith. She is an Advanced Catechist in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, happily married and the mother of two delightfully energetic sons.
Nick Wagner is a co-director of TeamRCIA.com, a free online resource for catechumenate ministry, which he began in 2007 with his wife, Diana Macalintal. With over 35 years of experience, he is a leading voice and trainer in Catholic liturgical and catechetical ministries. He has worked in campus, parish, and diocesan positions, as well as in religious publishing. He holds an MA degree from Saint John’s University.
Nick Wagner and Diana Macalintal are the codirectors of TeamRCIA.com, a free online resource for catechumenate ministry, which they began in 2007. TeamRCIA now has over 20,000 subscribers worldwide. In addition to the website, TeamRCIA has provided more than 60 training institutes for catechumenate minsters in the U.S., Canada and Australia. Team RCIA partners with Liturgical Press to provide a series of books for RCIA ministers.