IMF Conference On Pastoral Conversion December 6 to 10

2020 News

The Saint Vincent Seminary Institute of Ministry Formation will host a five-day virtual conference on pastoral conversion during Advent 2020, December 6 to 10. Registration information is available at

Topics will cover individual/initial conversion, formation, sacramental life, lay leadership and co-responsibility and missionary outreach.

Expert presenters and those giving testimonials come from a wide range of backgrounds. They include authors, evangelists, cathechists, priests and lay persons involved in a variety of evangelization efforts.

Jim Beckman is executive director of evangelization and cathechesis for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. He is also the executive director of ImpactCenter, a non-profit dedicated to leadership development in the Catholic Church, an adjunct professor for the Augustine Institute, and teaches on topics of leadership, evangelization and discipleship. A graduate of Franciscan University and the Augustine Institute, he has built solid and thriving ministry programs in numerous parishes and dioceses.

Monsignor Michael Begolly, a priest of the Diocese of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, is the pastor of three parishes in the Catholic community of New Kensington within the diocese. Previous assignments have included serving as director of the Office of Worship for the diocese, chaplain at Seton Hill University, Greensburg, and pastor of Blessed Sacrament Cathedral. Monsignor Begolly, a priest since 1981,  has a doctorate in ministry with a concentration in liturgy from the Catholic Theological Union.

Monsignor Michael Bransfield, a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, is general secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, D.C. He is presently an adjunct instructor at the School of Canon Law at The Catholic University of America and an adjunct professor of moral and spiritual theology on the Pontifical faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. A prolific writer, his articles have appeared in leading magazines. Among his six books are Gift of Joy: The Blessing of the Child in the Womb, co-authored with Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, and Life Everlasting: The Mystery and the Promise.

Christopher Carstens, director of the Office for Sacred Worship in the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin, is a visiting faculty member at the Liturgical Institute at the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois. Editor of the Adoremus Bulletin, he is one of the voices on The Liturgy Guys podcast and author of A Devotional Journey Into the Mass and A Devotional Journey into the Easter Mystery, as well as Principles of Sacred Liturgy: Forming a Sacramental Vision.

Dan Cellucci of Philadelphia is chief executive officer of Catholic Leadership Institute, an apostolate providing leadership training and consulting to more than 280 bishops, 2,700 priests, and 27,000 deacons, religious and lay leaders from more than 100 dioceses. A sought-after advisor, consultant and presenter for the Church, he oversees research associated with the institute’s Disciple Maker Index, a parish survey tool that seeks to help pastors and pastoral leaders focus their efforts toward evangelization. The index has reached more than 1,200 parishes and 227,000 Catholics. Their present project is defining what the Next Generation Parish will look like in a decade.

John J. Hans is founder of Strategy to Executive Partners, a firm aimed at helping churches and non-profit entities set and effectively deploy strategies. He offers a five-step program for parishes through the Saint Vincent Seminary Institute for Ministry Formation with the end goal of developing a spiritually-enriched community of enthusiastic people focused on living their lives around their faith and the sacraments while building friendships and a network of people who share those goals.

Father Boniface Hicks, O.S.B., a monk of Saint Vincent Archabbey, is director of the Saint Vincent Seminary Institute for Ministry Formation. Program director for WAOB (We Are One Body) Radio, Latrobe, he is director of spiritual formation at Saint Vincent Seminary and a sought-after retreat master and spiritual director. He is co-author, along with Father Thomas Acklin, O.S.B., of Spiritual Direction: A Guide for Sharing the Father’s Love and Personal Prayer: A Guide for Receiving the Father’s Love.

Father James Mallon, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, is the founder of the Divine Renovation Ministry. The author of the bestselling book, Divine Renovation: From a Maintenance to a Missional Parish, and the Divine Renovation Guidebook, Father James has inspired and motivated pastors and members of the laity throughout the world. His other books include Unlocking Your Parish, co-authored with Ron Huntley, and Beyond the Parish.

Brandon McGinley is a Catholic writer and speaker based in Pittsburgh. A. contributing editor at Plough Quarterly, his first book, The Prodigal Church: Restoring Catholic Tradition in an Age of Deception, was released in June 2020. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Post, First Things, and The Lamp. A graduate of Princeton University, he speaks on topics ranging from Catholic family life to friendship to Church renewal.

Celine Mitchell, a master catechist in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, is director of the Cathechesis of the Good Shepherd at Saint Fidelis Parish, Butler. Trained in the Montessori and CGS method, she has more than 20 years of experience working with children, families and parish organization. She has formed hundreds of catechists in innovative ways and catechized countless children. She is also a primary Montessori teacher and CGS catechist at Saint Ambrose Academy, Pittsburgh.

Helene Paharik of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, is an alumnus of and member of the adjunct faculty of Saint Vincent Seminary. Her doctoral studies at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, are on “An Ontological Hermeneutic of Missiology as Friendship Love.” She previously served as associate general secretary of the Diocese of Pittsburgh and director of the Department for Human Life and Dignity in the diocese. She spent three years living in Jerusalem with her family while serving as director of development for Dormition Abbey and its Beit Benedict Peace Academy. She received the Salt and Light Award from the Diocese of Greensburg for the “Bethlehem Project,” a ministry to prevent homelessness.

Pablo and Anne Perez of the Emmanuel Community share their ministry as part of the leadership team for implementing the Alpha program in their parish. Pablo has served as a director of evangelization at a parish, as president of the John Paul II Training Center for the New Evangelization, a mission of mercy and presence in Gainesville, Georgia, and as a catechist. Anne participated in the Emmanuel School of Mission in Rome and her faith sharing has included catechesis, RCIA preparation, door-to-door evangelization, parish missions and prayer teams.

Father Stephen Pullis was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Detroit in 2011. Two years later he was assigned as priest secretary to Archbishop Allen Vigneron. He received the S.T.L. in pastoral theology with a focus on the new evangelization from the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, through the faculty of Sacred Heart Major Seminary. He is presently director of evangelization, catechesis and schools in the Archdiocese of Detroit as well as adjunct spiritual director at Sacred Heart Major Seminary and weekend associate at Saint John Vianney Catholic Church, Shelby Township.

Dr. Jonathan Reyes is senior vice president of evangelization and faith formation for the Knights of Columbus. Prior to that he was assistant general secretary for Integral Human Development for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the executive director for Justice, Peace, and Human Development. He helped co-found Christ in the City and the Augustine Institute, served as president and chief executive officer of Catholic Charities in Denver, was vice president for FOCUS and a professor and academic vice president at Christendom College.

Annie Sarlo is deputy secretary for evangelization and formation for the Diocese of Allentown. She began serving as a missionary in the Church in 1993 at the age of 19. With over 27 years of experience in Catholic ministry, she retains her contagious joy and passion for evangelization.

Gregory Sherwood of Portland, Oregan, is president and chief information officer of Quest Investment Management, is a convert to the Catholic faith. His faith background includes founding Mentors360, a college and young adult professional ministry aimed at connectingone generation to the next in the areas of professional development, personal growth and spiritual formation. A background in sports, teaching in his parish’s RCIA program, and his studies in Saint Vincent Seminary’s spiritual direction program add to his diverse experience.

Father Maximo Stock, S.S.J., is director of campus ministry at Oregon State University. An Argentinian and member of the Saint John Society, he taught school before entering Mount Angel Seminary in 2008. His training has included service at the Newman Center at Oregon State University and at Saint Mary Parish in Corvallis, Oregon. He was ordained in 2012.

Dr. Michel Therrien, a former academic dean of Saint Vincent Seminary, is president and chief executive officer of the Preambula Group. He holds a doctoral of sacred theology in fundamental moral theology from the University of Fribourg and a licentiate in sacred theology from the International Theological Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family and was also president for the Institute for Pastoral Leadership and director of evangelization for the Diocese of Pittsburgh. His books include Faith: An Introduction to Christianity for the Curious and the forthcoming Theological Paradigms and Christian Discipleship: Reclaiming the Church’s Unity of Witness in a Time of Confusion.

Cristina Barba Whalen founded The Culture Project International in 2014 to help restore culture through the experience of virtue. The Culture Project has provided a mission program to more than 50 missionaries who have served 45 dioceses and invited more than 100,000 students to reclaim sexual integrity and the meaning of life. She is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University, where she served as president of Penn State Students for Life. She attended the Emmanuel School of Mission in Rome, Italy, a mission organization sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Laity and has spent the last decade in full-time mission in the pro-life, chastity and new evangelization world.