Catholic Schools Track

The St. John Bosco Conference is pleased to serve catechists working in Catholic High Schools by offering the High School Symposium. This symposium is aimed at assisting High School religion teachers in deepening their knowledge of the content of catechesis and broadening their catechetical skills.

It is designed to serve the actual needs of teachers in a two-fold manner (1) by addressing the practical/methodological issues, and (2) by addressing the intellectual challenges they face in the classroom.


Consistent with the fact that theology is the handmaid of catechesis, we will present upper-level seminars to foster the teacher’s theological understanding of the faith. The high school religion teacher who has a sure grasp of sacred theology will be better equipped to teach the Catholic Faith in all its rigor and vigor (On Catechesis in Our Time 30) amidst the doubts and questions that fill the adolescent mind regarding the teaching of the Church.

Practical / Methodological

Actual classroom lesson plans that incorporate different educational/catechetical techniques will be developed and illustrated. The Church teaches that catechetical methodology is at the service of the content of the Deposit of Faith. We will be following a method developed by Msgr. Francis Kelly, who named it the Ecclesial Method. This methodology leads the student to both understanding and conversion (On Catechesis in Our Time 20). These workshops will also introduce the concept of “incarnational dynamism” in classroom teaching. This consists in drawing the student to the Person of Jesus Christ, (the content of all catechesis) through the use of contemporary and ancient sacred art, Christian and secular forms of music, popular as well as classical literature, film, and age-appropriate classroom activities. The aim will be to demonstrate various ways to teach doctrine in an engaging manner that will interest students and foster evangelization.

This Year’s Catholic Schools Track Workshops:

Creating Space for Conversion
Teaching with the Saints
Making It Matter: Helping Students Deeply Engage and Desire the Truth
Stop and Think: The Psychology of Self-Regulation in Children and Teens
Reason, Religion, and Kindness: The Preventive System of St. John Bosco
Making Disciples through Creative Lesson Planning
What IS the Natural Law, Anyway?

Track Presenters

Amy Roberts, Track Coordinator, taught high school for 13 years and served as chair of the religion department for 10 years before accepting a teaching position with the catechetics faculty of Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2011. She also assisted Aquinas College with catechist training and taught adult faith formation classes for the Diocese of Knoxville. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and a master’s degree in theology and Christian ministry from Franciscan University. Amy is currently pursuing doctoral studies through the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family Studies in Melbourne and regularly speaks at in-services for teachers in Catholic schools. She will be presenting at the St. John Bosco Conference.


Luke Crawford is the Principal of Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School in Cranberry Twp., PA. After graduating from Franciscan University, Luke taught high school theology for eight years in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. He also served as Director of Mission Integration & Campus Ministry, Religion Department Chair, and Dean of Students. Luke has an intense passion for Catholic education and evangelization. Luke’s greatest joy is family life, which he shares with his beautiful wife, Katy, their five sons, and their newest baby on the way!  He will be presenting at the St. John Bosco Conference.


Sister M. Johanna Paruch, FSGM, a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George, holds a BA in theology and elementary education from St. Louis University, a pontifical catechetical diploma, an MA in religious education from the Angelicum, and a PhD in theology from Maryvale Institute, Birmingham, England. Sister Johanna has been involved in religious education for over 25 years. She currently serves as an associate professor of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, specializing in catechetics. Her first publication, Mentors in the New Evangelization: Catechetical Saints of North America, became available in 2013. She will be speaking at the St. John Bosco Conference.


Rania Saade has been handing on the faith in Catholic high schools for 10 years. After earning her MA in theology and Christian ministry with a specialization in catechetics from Franciscan University of Steubenville, she went on to teach at St. Pius X High School, a co-ed archdiocesan school in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For the last four years, she has been teaching at Jesuit High School, an all-boys college preparatory school in Tampa, Florida. Rania has taught a variety of courses in theology and has taught students in every grade level of high school. She will be presenting at the St. John Bosco Conference.


Dr. Joseph White is a child and family psychologist and National Catechetical Consultant for Our Sunday Visitor Publishing and Curriculum. He has taught courses in Catechetics and Pastoral Guidance at the University of Dallas and the University of St. Thomas in Houston. 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. He will be presenting at the St. John Bosco Conference.