Gavin Ahern teaches theology at Xavier College Preparatory. He is a graduate from St. Mary’s High School in Phoenix . After a few years of pursuing a career in music, he was inspired by Dr. Bob Sullivan of Phoenix College to study philosophy and teach. Gavin earned a Bachelor’s in Philosophy from Assumption College in Worcester Massachusetts and a Masters in Theological Studies from the Institute for Pastoral Theology at Ave Maria University. He is happily married to Valerie and they have been blessed with four boys.
DR. PETER AURIEMMA
Dr. Peter Auriemma was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from the Medical School of the Autonomous University of Guadalajara, Mexico, and he completed his Post Graduate Surgical training in New York and Chicago. He is a specialist in Urologic Surgery and Oncology. He is married to Dr. Nanette Auriemma, and they have one son, Anthony. He was ordained to the Permanent Diaconate for the Diocese of Phoenix on November 8, 2014, and he is the Deacon and Director of Hispanic Catechesis and Evangelization at St. Joan of Arc Parish in Phoenix. He has been giving this lecture on the death of Jesus since 1988.
FR. JOSE BALLESTEROS
Parochial Vicar at St. Augustine Parish in Phoenix, AZ.
Masters in Education – Technology Institute of Sonora, Mexico
Masters in Philosophy – Pontifical University of Mexico
Masters of Divinity – Diocesan Seminary, Mexico
JAVIER BRAVO, MA, ED.
Javier Bravo is a native of Arizona. Born and raised in Yuma, Arizona, he attended public school all the way through high school. After that, Javier discerned the diocesan priesthood and spent some time in seminary formation. Afterwards he discovered a love for education and has been working in Catholic education since 2009. He has worked as a teacher and even had a brief stint in textbook publishing. Javier is married and has a wife and daughter. He currently serves as an assistant principal at Bourgade Catholic High School.
Joe Cady holds degrees in Philosophy and Religious Studies from Arizona State University, as well as a master’s degree in Theology from Holy Apostles College and Seminary. He has worked for over ten years in Catholic parishes in youth ministry, adult faith formation, social ministry, and sacramental preparation. Joe is currently Director of Adult Catechesis at St. Timothy Catholic Church, adjunct professor of Theology at the University of Mary-Tempe, and instructor at Kino Catechetical Institute. He is the Author of Truth Be Told and Faith and Reason(s). Joe and his wife currently live in Tempe, AZ with their seven children.
FR. ROB CLEMENTS
Fr. Rob Clements is a fourth-generation native of the state of Arizona, and is a convert to the Catholic Faith. Graduating from local schools, from Arizona State University, and working for Valley National Bank following university studies, he discerned a call to the priesthood and entered St. John’s Seminary, Los Angeles, in 1985. Following sacred ordination in 1990, Fr. Clements has served the diocese in a number of pastoral and educational settings prior to his current assignment as the Director of the All Saints Catholic Newman Center at Arizona State University. He has served on the Priest Placement Board, the Board of Directors for Phoenix Natural Family Planning, and the Catholic Community Foundation.
FR. MICHAEL DISKIN
Rev. Michael Diskin was ordained for the Diocese of Phoenix in 1977. He graduated with a BA in Political Science from Niagara University in 1970 and after spending three years as an officer in the United States Army attended St. Thomas Theological Seminary in Denver where he received an MA in Scriptural Theology in 1975 and an MDiv. in 1977. Since July 1990 he has served as the Assistant Chancellor and Director for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for the Diocese of Phoenix.
ROB DRAPEAU, MA., ED.
Rob Drapeau has over 20 years of experience teaching Theology to students ranging from fifth graders in their wonder years to retirees in their golden years. He spent eight years as a Theology Instructor at Brophy College Preparatory and six years teaching Theology, Language Arts, and Latin to junior high students at Saint Maximilian Kolbe School. He has taught numerous classes for The Institute of Catholic Theology at Saint Thomas the Apostle parish and adult faith formation classes at both Saint Thomas the Apostle and Saint Joan of Arc. He has a BA in Religious Studies from the University of Arizona and an MAEd in Educational Technology from the University of Phoenix. Currently, Rob is the Dean of Academics at Saint Mary’s Catholic High School. He also assists with the Inquiry process at his parish, Saint Thomas the Apostle, and serves on the board of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development for the Diocese of Phoenix. Rob is the proud father of seven children (Sophia, Joseph, Olivia, Francesca, Max, Gemma, and Chiara) and the happy husband of one wife, Amy.
FR. JOHN EHRICH, STL.
Rev. John Ehrich, STL, was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Phoenix in 2000. He earned his M.A. from St. Meinrad Seminary in 1998 and his MDiv in 2000. After five years of parish ministry, he studied moral theology at the Accademia Alfonsiana in Rome where he earned his Licentiate in Sacred Theology in 2007. Fr. Ehrich is the founder of the St. Thomas the Apostle Institute of Catholic Theology.
FR. THOMAS ENNEKING, CSC.
As prior provincial, Fr. Thomas Enneking, osc, is the religious superior of the Crosier Fathers and Brothers in the United States. He also serves as the local superior of the Crosier Community of Phoenix.
A native of Spring Hill, Minn., Fr. Tom attended Crosier Seminary Junior College in Onamia and graduated from Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne with a degree in music and psychology in 1980. He went on to earn a master’s degree in theology and a master of divinity degree from the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. He made his first profession of vows as a Crosier on Aug. 4, 1978, and was ordained a priest on June 9, 1984.
Fr. Tom has served at St. James Parish in Aitkin, Minn., and as pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Onamia from 1985 until 1987, when he began working as vocation and pre-novitiate director of the U.S. province. He was named director of post-novitiate formation in 1994, a job he held until 2001.
Since moving to Phoenix in 2006, Fr. Tom has assisted at local Hispanic parishes and has been a chaplain for Maricopa County jails while continuing to lead the music for the community’s prayer. Fr. Tom plays the piano, guitar, flute, and bass guitar.
He has been prior provincial since 2011.
FR. CHRIS FRASER, JCL.
Fr. Fraser was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Phoenix in June of 2001. Before entering St. Meinrad Seminary in southern Indiana, he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business from Arizona State University in 1994. Upon graduation, he was employed at the School of Law at Arizona State University until 1996 when he entered the seminary to begin preparations and discernment of the priesthood. He received a Master of Divinity from St. Meinrad School of Theology in 2001 and was ordained to the ministerial priesthood on June 2, 2001.
Fr. Fraser’s parish assignments were Parochial Vicar of Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral in Phoenix and St. Andrew the Apostle in Chandler. In 2004, Fr. Fraser was sent to the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., to study canon law, where he earned a licentiate in Canon Law in 2006. Upon graduation, he returned to Phoenix to work full time in the diocesan Tribunal, where he has served as the Judicial Vicar since December of 2007.
Steve Greene is Director of Kino Catechetical Institute for the Diocese of Phoenix, and co-host, with his wife, Becky, of The Catholic Conversation radio show heard weekly on Immaculate Heart Radio in Phoenix. He graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville with a degree in English Literature, and as a seminarian for the Diocese of Phoenix, earned a Master’s degree in Catholic Thought and Life from St. Meinrad School of Theology in Indiana. Steve was on the founding faculty of Notre Dame Preparatory as a theology teacher, and has also taught theology and Catholic studies for University of Mary – Tempe, as well as teaching philosophy and ethics at Mesa Community College for eight years. In addition to his classroom teaching, Steve has presented on Catholic theology, philosophy and morality for over 15 years, in a variety of venues, and has been a recurring guest on The Bishop’s Hour radio show, and Catholics Matter television show here in the diocese. Most importantly he is a husband, and father of five wonderful children, with one little intercessor in heaven. The Catholic Conversation airs weekly on Tuesdays at 11am and 8pm on 1310 AM, and is also available as a podcast on iTunes.
DR. RYAN HANNING
Dr. Hanning is currently the proud father of 8, husband of 1, and serves as the Asst. VP and Director of Cultural Advancement at the University of Mary Tempe where he also teaches Church History and Catholic Studies. He has had the opportunity to travel throughout the US, Canada and Europe teaching and speaking at both church and academic conferences. Dr. Hanning served in parish life for 10 years as a Youth Leader and DRE, and then as a Diocesan Director of Family Catechesis for 5 years, before moving full time to the University of Mary which has become a home and place of great growth in the Catholic intellectual tradition. He taught comparative religion, and New Testament for the Community College and local University for over 10 years, and for the past three years have focused primarily on Church History, specifically the 16th-18th Century, as well as the development of theology in both the Eastern and Western Christian traditions.
Has completed his undergraduate degree in Religious Studies at Arizona State University, his graduate degree in Education at Northern Arizona University, studied post-graduate theology at University of Dallas, and completed his PhD in Theology at Maryvale Institute, Liverpool Hope University, UK. Studies have included time in both Oxford and Cambridge, as well as a short time at the Jagiellonian in Krakow, Poland.
SR. MARY EILEEN JEWELL, PVMI
Sr. Mary Eileen is a consecrated religious in the community of Parish Visitors of Mary Immaculate. She lives in a convent in Mesa with 2 other sisters from her Community. She has been working in campus ministry at the Catholic Newman Center at ASU since September of 2012. Before coming to Arizona to work at ASU, Sister was a full-time Life Teen youth minister for high school teens for 7 years at St. Raymond’s in the Bronx, New York.
AARON MARTIN, B.A., PH.L, J.D.
Aaron grew up in Dayton, Ohio. After high school, he attended the Catholic University of America, obtaining Bachelor’s and Licentiate degrees in philosophy. Aaron graduated from law school at the University of Arizona. Aaron is currently an attorney at Snell & Wilmer practicing in the areas of education law, government contracting, and political and election law.
FR. THADDEUS MCGUIRE
Fr. Thaddeus McGuire, after earning a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from the Ohio State University and a Masters in Business Administration from Lehigh University.
Fr. McGuire spent five years in Rome, Italy in formation for the priesthood at the Pontifical College of St. Bede and the Pontifical North American College. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Phoenix in July of 1999. He has served as the pastor of St. Daniel the Prophet Parish since July of 2004.
In addition to his parish ministry, Fr. McGuire also serves on the Diocesan School Board, the Board of the Catholic Tuition Organization of the Diocese of Phoenix, the Diocesan Natural Family Planning Board, the Diocesan Priest’s Placement Board, and is the Spiritual Director for the Deacons of the Diocese. Fr. McGuire is also honored to serve as the Spiritual Director for the Archconfraternities of St. Philomena throughout the Western United States.
Mary is the National Director Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Mary began working with as a coordinator of Children’s Catechesis 1992 at St Anne’s in Gilbert, Arizona. She was sent by her Pastor to learn more about the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS), for their 1600 children. She has been a CGS formation leader since 1997 serving as such at home and abroad working with those in the Diocese of Brownsville, the Diocese of Toledo with En Camino Ministry, at Diocesan Eucharistic Congresses, and the Dominicans of Nashville TN . She also worked with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal in Honduras and Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity throughout the United States as well as in Manila, Philippines and Kolkata, India. Mary served on the Board of the National Association, a founding member of CGS Fund Advisory Board and on the International Council for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. She was also a member of first cohort at Aquinas Institute to receive a Masters in Pastoral Ministry in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. She has worked in the Diocese of Phoenix since 2003, as a presenter and formation leader for diocesan catechists and catechetical leaders. Since 2010, she serves as the National Director for the National Association of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd in the United States.
Tom Perna is originally from New Jersey, but grew up in Scottsdale and am a cradle Catholic. Tom attended the St. Ignatius Institute at the University of San Francisco where he earned a Bachelors in Philosophy. Tom holds a Masters in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville as well as a Masters in Education. Tom is also a Catholic blogger and speaker. He writes at TomPerna.org.
At St. Mary Magdalene, he oversees the Porta Fidei Adult Faith Formation Program, which offers opportunities for adults to equip themselves in understanding our Catholic faith through a wide range of catechetical studies.
Mike Phelan has directed the Marriage and Respect Life Office of the Diocese of Phoenix for the past four years. He is a graduate of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies in Marriage and Family at the Catholic University of America where he obtained a Masters degree in Theological Studies. A teacher and basketball coach by trade, he has a bachelor’s degree in English and Education from the University of Dallas. He and his wife Sharon have five children and have taught Natural Family Planning and marriage preparation classes together for twelve years.
FR. ERNESTO REYNOSO, JCL.
Fr. Ernesto Reynoso was born in Mexico City in 1970. He is a graduate from The University of Texas at El Paso with a B.A. in Electronic Media. Prior to his ordination as a priest of the diocese, he had a successful career in Information Technology.
As a priest, he holds two master degrees; one in Philosophy and the other in Divinity. In 2009 he was awarded by the Arizona Knights of Columbus State Council the “Priest of the Year” award. In 2011 he recently received his fourth degree, a specialization in Canon Law at The Catholic University of America in DC. He is our current Adjutant Judicial Vicar for the Diocese of Phoenix.
FR. BOB ROSSI, CSC.
Fr. Rossi has been a Crosier for 51 years and a priest for 44. He has had a very active and satisfying ministry that has included pastoral and educational services, writing, leadership in the Crosier Order and missionary work in the Congo and Brazil. Throughout the years, wherever he has been, he has given special attention to Christian formation through teaching, retreats and spiritual direction. He continues to dedicate his time to those services as a staff member of Crosier Cross Ministries in Phoenix.
His experience has given him a very wide view and appreciation of the Church, as well as a great sensitivity to other peoples’ cultures in Africa, South America, Asia and Europe. As a Crosier religious, he has been shaped by the spirituality of the Cross to stand by his brothers and sisters who suffer in any way and accompany them to new hope. He is grateful to know Christ and be a Catholic. He is eager to have others share in the Church’s teaching, Sacraments and mission today.
Christina Strafaci, originally from Long Island, NY, is an adjunct faculty member of the Kino Institute in the Diocese of Phoenix, AZ, and the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, TX. She holds a Masters of Theological Studies from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, as well as graduate degrees in French Literature from UNC-Chapel Hill. She has an extensive background in the education of youth and young adults, including ten+ years at the university level in the United States and France and five years at St. Mary’s High School in Phoenix. Since moving to the desert, she has devoted free time to writing, editing, conference planning, and making short films, often for the diocese’s Office of Marriage & Respect Life. Christina is also the producer, photographer, and publicist for Theophany, a Catholic theatre company formed with her JPII Institute classmates.
FR. PAUL SULLIVAN
Fr. Paul Sullivan is a priest of the Diocese of Phoenix. He was ordained in 2007 and has served in as a parochial vicar, director of a retreat center, high school chaplain and pastor. He currently serves as Director of Vocations for the diocese and Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Phoenix. Fr. Sullivan grew up in New York and is from a family of eight children. He attended SUNY Albany for college where he earned a degree in accounting. After 3 years of work as a CPA, he entered Saint Meinrad Seminary for studies in philosophy and theology.
SR. NANCY WELLMEIER, SNDdeN
Sister Nancy, a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur, began her ministry as a teacher of Spanish and then moved into pastoral ministry, first in Sonora and then in the diocese of Phoenix. Parish ministry, Kino Institute Spanish program and work for the US Bishops’ Conference Department of Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees kept her busy until 2003 when she was elected to the General Council of her congregation and spent the next 6 years based in Rome, Italy. Sister has a doctorate in Cultural Anthropology with a concentration in the religious customs of Latin America.
DR. ERIC WESTBY
Eric J. Westby is the Director of Parish and School Catechesis as well as the Director of the Institute of Catholic Theology. He holds a Masters of Arts degree in Theology and Christian Ministry from Franciscan University in Steubenville and a PhD from the Maryvale Institute of Birmingham, England. He holds a Certificate in Youth Ministry Studies from the Center for Ministry Development, and has been involved in parish catechesis since 1988. He is a regular presenter at the summer St. John Bosco Catechetical Conference at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is the founder of ymcentral.com and rciacentral.com. More importantly, he is husband to Nikki and father of five beautiful girls. Everyone agrees he married up
Chris is a Chicago native, a graduate of Arizona State University, and hold a Masters in Theology from the Augustine Institute. He is responsible for developing programs that help parishioners understand and experience the sacramental reality of marriage and family life. In this capacity, he oversees the Marriage Preparation and Convalidation process, and work with volunteer ministries such as Covenant of Love, and the Nullity Ministry at St. Mary Magdalene. Chris hasbeen married to Meg for 20 years and has 4 children.
Born and raised in San Diego, Calif., Katrina earned her BA in theology (summa cum laude) from Franciscan University of Steubenville (Ohio) in 1986, where she remained as a publications writer for 10 years in their public relations department. In 1996, Katrina co-founded Women of the Third Millennium (www.wttm.org) with Zoe Romanowsky-St. Paul to promote the dignity, vocation, and mission of women and men through talks, retreats, and articles.
Through this active speaking ministry, Katrina developed presentations on theology of the body for single people, married couples, parents, women, men, confirmation candidates, college students, NFP teachers, marriage prep ministers, and general audiences. She has spoken throughout the United States and in Switzerland, Austria, England, Canada, Guatemala, and Trinidad at parishes, retreat centers, and national conferences.