Catechist Track
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Preparation for the Catechetical Mission: This is a comprehensive program offering the methodological, philosophical, and doctrinal topics essential to the teaching of the Faith. Believing that the most significant factor in the catechetical endeavor is the individual catechist passing on the witness of a faith lived out, Franciscan University has committed itself to assisting in the preparation of men and women equal to the task of catechesis. While presenting a systematic doctrinal foundation coming directly from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, this track also includes proven, effective methodologies.

This Year’s Catechist Track Workshops:

The Philosophical Foundations of Catechetics
Scripture, the Heart of Catechesis
Prayer: Introduction to the Spiritual Life of the Catechist
Jesus: The Christocentricity of Catechesis
The Ecclesial Method: Opening Souls to the Beauty and Power of God’s Revelation
Liturgy in Catechesis
The Deposit of Faith: An Introduction to the Catechism

Philosophy of the Human Person
Scripture, the Driving Force of Doctrine
Praying with Scripture: Lectio Divina
The Church: Dispenser of the Mysteries and Guardian of the Deposit of Faith
The Holy Spirit in Catechesis
The Blessed Virgin Mary
Pedagogy of Revelation and the Response of Faith

Track Presenters
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Mary Jo Smith, Track Coordinator, received a master of theological studies from the University of Dallas Institute of Religious and Pastoral Studies. As a member of the faculty of the St. John Bosco Conference, she coordinates the catechists’ certification track. Mary Jo is also a marketing representative for Ignatius Press. She co-authored the pre-school, kindergarten, and first grade curricula of the Image of God textbook series and was general editor of the series. For many years, she hosted a national cable TV series for children on EWTN. For 25 years, Mary Jo was director of the pre-school/kindergarten religious education program for St. Raphael Parish in Crystal, Minnesota. Currently, she is the RCIA coordinator for that parish. She will be presenting at the St. John Bosco Conference.

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Ron Bolster is the director of the Office of Catechetics at Franciscan University. Formerly the director of the Office of Catechetics for the Diocese of Peoria, he joined the catechetics faculty at Franciscan University in 2004, offering expertise in catechist training, Christian initiation, and administration. He holds an MA in theology with catechetical certification from Franciscan University and an undergraduate degree from Cornell University. Before leaving for Peoria, he served on the staff of Franciscan’s Office of Catechetics, writing catechetical materials, and also served as a consultant for RCIA to the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. In addition, he has been active in parish RCIA and the Neocatechumenal Way. Ron and his wife, Andrea, reside with their eight children in Steubenville. He will be presenting at the St. John Bosco Conference.

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Marc Cardaronella is the director of the Bishop Helmsing Institute, an adult faith formation and catechetical training apostolate in the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph, Missouri. He graduated from Franciscan University with a master’s degree in theology and catechetics and served for 12 years as a parish director of Religious Education. Marc is the author of Keep Your Kids Catholic: Sharing Your Faith and Making It Stick, newly released from Ave Maria Press. His articles have appeared in CATECHISTThe Catechetical Review, and numerous websites including CatholicMom.com. Marc blogs about evangelizing catechesis and faith-parenting at MarcCardaronella.com. He lives in Olathe, Kansas, with his wife, Shannon, and their two boys, John and David. He will be presenting at the St. John Bosco Conference.

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Ann Lankford is the Director for the Office of Catechesis and Evangelization for the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin. She has held this position for fourteen years. She received her MA in Theology and Christian Ministry with a specialization in Catechetics from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 1998 and received the St. John Bosco Conference DRE Certification. At heart, Ann is a ‘people person.’ Helping children, young people, and adults to fall in love with Jesus Christ and to be more fully committed to Him in every area of their lives gives her great joy. She will be presenting at the St. John Bosco Conference.

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Drake McCalister is the coordinator of the catechetical practicum and coordinator of the St. John Bosco Conference for the Office of Catechetics at Franciscan University of Steubenville. In addition to his work at Franciscan, Drake serves as the director of RCIA for Franciscan and oversees the EDGE junior high youth group, besides writing and speaking. Previously, Drake was a Pentecostal pastor in the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel for 13 years from 1991-2004 but, after five years of study, prayer, and reluctance, he resigned his pastorate and brought his wife and three daughters home to the Catholic Church on December 12, 2004, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Drake now has five daughters and lives in Steubenville. He will be presenting at the St. John Bosco Conference.

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Fr. Jay Mello is a priest in the Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts, and was ordained in 2007. He completed his undergraduate studies at Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2003. He attended the Pontifical North American College in Rome where he completed his STB and earned his STL in dogmatic theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University. Father Jay currently serves as pastor of St. Joseph’s and St. Michael’s parishes in Fall River and also as the assistant director of Vocations for the Diocese of Fall River. He previously served in a number of parishes and as the chaplain of Bishop Stang High School. He will be presenting at the St. John Bosco Conference.

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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.

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Dr. James Pauley, S.T.L., S.T.D. (cand.) is associate professor of theology and catechetics and has served on the theology faculty at Franciscan University since 2002. He received his doctorate in sacred theology from the Liturgical Institute at Mundelein Seminary in 2014. His doctoral research was focused on the 20th century history of the renewal of liturgy and catechesis and the proposal of principles for the revitalization of liturgical catechesis. In 2014, Dr. Pauley was appointed founding editor of The Catechetical Review, Franciscan University’s journal dedicated to the new evangelization. Dr. Pauley began working as a parish catechetical leader in 1989 in Phoenix and has served professionally in parish, diocesan, and university catechetical formation for more than 25 years. A native of Arizona, James is married to Katrina, and they have three daughters. He will be presenting at the St. John Bosco Conference.

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Scott Sollom is an assistant professor of theology at Franciscan University. He has conducted RCIA training workshops around the country and the world, including presentations with the Association for Catechumenal Ministry and Symbolon. He previously served as a DRE in Stillwater, Minnesota, and College Station, Texas, as well as a youth minister in Hudson, Wisconsin. Scott and his wife, Mary, have five children. He will be presenting at the St. John Bosco Conference.

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Dr. Petroc Willey is married to Katherine, has four children, and is a consultor for the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization in Rome. He is professor of theology (catechetics) at Franciscan University and reader in the new evangelization at the School of the Annunciation in England. Before moving to Franciscan University, he worked in Catholic higher education in Oxford and Birmingham for almost 30 years. Dr. Willey gained his first degree in theology from King’s College London and an STL from Maynooth, Ireland. He also has doctorates in philosophy from Liverpool University and the Lateran Pontifical University. A well-known speaker on catechetics and evangelization, Dr. Willey edited the catechetical journal The Sower from 1992-2013 and hosted the EWTN series Handing on the Faith. He will be speaking at the St. John Bosco Conference.