Session A – Monday, 11:00 a.m.- 12:00 Noon, July 29, 2019

Code – TitleDescriptionSpeaker(s)Biography(s)
WA1 –
Convalidations as Key Touchpoints for Evangelization
Nine different dioceses and arch dioceses collaborated to identify key touchpoints for evangelization and invitation into the life of the church throughout 2018. The findings of this collaborative effort will be presented and discussed with time for Q&A. 3-4 Family Life directors who participated in the study will be part of the panel.Mary Rose Verret and PanelMary-¬Rose and Ryan Verret are the founders of Witness to Love and the authors of Witness to Love: How to Help the Next Generation Build Marriages that Survive and Thrive. Mary¬-Rose is a featured presenter in the series “Doors of Mercy” released by St. Benedict Press for the Year of Mercy. Together the Verrets speak on issues regarding marriage, mercy, faith, family and fertility. Mary-¬Rose has been interviewed by: The National Catholic Register, EWTN, The Catholic World Report, Catholic News Agency, The Gus Lloyd Show, Aleteia, and secular media outlets.
WA2 –
Fully Alive: Catholic Family Life Ministry for Adults over Age 50
Pope Francis said “Where the elderly are not honored, there is no future for the young”. We created a vibrant ministry for older adults where they give and receive pastoral care. Using the USCCB “Blessings of Age” as a framework, we will share how our diocesan family life ministry recognizes the presence of the elderly, encourages their contributions, responds to their needs and provides spiritual growth and why it is important for our youth.Sharon WitzellSharon Witzell is program coordinator for Senior Adult Ministry Office of Marriage and Family Life for the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, Kansas. She has over 35 years’ experience ministering to Catholic Families. She is a teacher with a master’s degree in Education from the University of Kansas and has done graduate studies in Family Life Ministry. She is creating a handbook for parish adult senior ministry.
WA3 –
Addressing Domestic Violence in Marriage Preparation Programs

Teach engaged couples to recognize the signs of healthy and abusive relationships and guard their marriage against toxic behaviors that can break down respect and love. Couples can learn how to respond to abusive situations in light of the Church’s teaching on marriage and how to refer friends who are suffering abuse to find help, hope, and healing.Dr. Sharon O’Brien
Sharon O’Brien, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Director of Catholics for Family Peace Education and Research Initiative. In association with the Catholic University of America, CFFP provides education, resources, and research that help pastoral leaders recognize domestic abuse and respond with compassion. Dr. O’Brien is an international presenter on the faith community’s responses to domestic abuse. CFFP is a member of NACFLM.
WA4 –
The Difference Between Challenging and Chasing

The balance between challenging engaged couples to live a life of faith in their marriage versus the fear of chasing the away from the Church can be tricky. Find strategies and tips that mentor couples and presenters can use to assist couples on their journey to the Sacrament of Marriage. Discuss ways we can fully engage them in conversation and invite them to live out their sacrament in their daily lives.Chris Codden
Chris Codden was the director of the Office of Marriage & Family, Diocese of St. Cloud for 32 years and now directs the Pre-Marital program “Fully Engaged,” of which she is co-author. She and her husband, Rich, travel the country speaking about marriage and training for Fully Engaged. She is a consultant to the USCCB Committee of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth and past President of NACFLM.
WA5 –
Acompañamiento efectivo frente a las necesidades de las familias hispanas
La presentación “Acompañamiento efectivo frente a las necesidades de las familias hispanas” examina los retos y desafíos que enfrenta nuestra comunidad, ofreciendo una perspectiva práctica y esperanzadora. Explicaremos la importancia de formar matrimonios sólidos y comprometidos como respuesta efectiva para el desarrollo integral de la familia y la sociedad. La presentación estará dirigida a líderes de pastoral familiar.Jorge Paredes y Viviana Martínez
de Dios Entre Nosotros
Jorge Paredes y Viviana Martínez son los fundadores del ministerio Dios entre Nosotros. Su pasión por servir a los hispanos comenzó en Miami, Florida donde se casaron. Actualmente viven en Denver, Colorado junto a sus 5 hijos. Dios Entre Nosotros apoya a la Arquidiócesis de Denver con la preparación matrimonial y otras diócesis con talleres de fortalecimiento matrimonial. Jorge y Viviana son líderes acreditados del prestigioso Instituto Gottman en Seattle.

Session B – Monday, 4:00-5:00 p.m., July 29, 2019

Code – TitleDescriptionSpeaker(s)Biography(s)
WB1 –
How to Welcome and Keep Young Couples at the Parish
This interactive panel will discuss today’s engaged young adult.
We will present data and trends, what they will/may find when they call our offices, the value of missionary discipleship in their formation and growing their faith. We will also speak about ways to engage them in RCIA, and we will address the accessibility of ministries that already exist in our communities. You will receive helpful tips, and a new zeal for reaching this growing audience.
Please come and share your best practices with us.
Region XIII NACFLM Members

Kelly Krapes, Marriage and Family Life, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Fort Collins, CO.
Jo Holt, Director of Marriage and Family Life, St. Thomas More Parish, Centennial, CO.
Christian Meert, Director Family Life, Diocese of Colorado Springs, CO
Maria Ward, Assistant Director of Pastoral Ministries, Diocese of Cheyenne, WY
WB2 –
Assessing Family Ministry through the Lens of Amoris Laetitia
The business of ministry is alive and well. The abundance of new programming and barrage of online marketing attest to this. Now our challenge is: “How do we choose?” This workshop will offer a bird’s eye view of family ministry programming, explore two of the most common methodologies used, and examine the pros and cons of each. It will conclude with an overview of a diocesan sacramental preparation framework and program that combines the best of both methods in response to Pope Francis’ vision for family ministry.

Beth Lukes, MTS

The adage “God writes straight with crooked lines” best describes my background. Before becoming the Director of Family Life Ministry for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, I worked as a business communications director, and training program developer. After-hours and on weekends, I served as a parish catechist and retreat planner. Suffice it to say, few things please me more than finding new ways to evangelize families. Beth Lukes, MTS
WB3 –
Utilitzing a “Marriage Summit” to Create a Parish-Based Marriage Ministry Movement
Looking to strengthen the vocation of marriage in your parish or diocese? Come learn how to offer a one-day “Marriage Summit” to connect, inspire, and encourage faith-filled married couples and clergy to do “just one thing” new in their parish to strengthen the vocation of marriage. For more information please visit: and Stephen Colella

Kari is the Executive Director of Annunciation Ministries which offers dioceses, parishes, and couples resources, training, and support to evangelize through marriage. She is a consultant to the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth and an advisor on a project at the Vatican Dicastery for Laity Marriage and Family.

Stephen Colella is the Cabinet Secretary of Parish Life for Archbishop Thomas Wenski in the Archdiocese of Miami. He has worked with youth, young adults, married couples and families for over 20 years. He is an advisor with his wife on a project to implement “Amoris Laetitia” at the Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Marriage, and Family.

WB4 –
Sacraments on Tap: The Catechumenate Model as the Key to Evangelization

“Sacraments on Tap” will discuss practical ways to implement the Catechumenal Model into Baptismal Prep and Marriage from both the role of the diocese and parish. “Diocesan Family Life Ministry” will look at the necessary role a diocesan office should have in family life ministry with the goal of empowering parishes to be centers of evangelization.Craig Dyke
Craig Dyke is a proud husband to Amy and father to five beautiful daughters ranging in ages from twenty down to seven. Craig and Amy have been involved with Family Life Ministry since 2002 when they began instructing couples in the art of NFP in the Diocese of Burlington (VT). The experience of teaching NFP and earning an MA in Theology & Christian Ministry with a specialization in Catechetics launched Craig into diocesan family life ministry position for the Diocese of Peoria (Associate Director from 2005-10 and Director of Evangelization & Family Life from 2011-14), the Archdiocese of Boston (2015-17), and presently the Archdiocese of Omaha. In 2010 Craig and Amy saw the need for greater marriage enrichment at the parish level and so began Marriage on Tap, a parish-based marriage enrichment program that uses Fellowship, Food and Faith to share the good news of Jesus Christ with couples who have been married 2 weeks to 50 years.
WB5 – Quinceañeras: Una gran oportunidad de evangelizar familias y formar discípulos misioneros

Presentación interactiva y analítica sobre los retos y desafíos que enfrentan las parroquias y diócesis en el área de formación de Quinceañeras y posibles soluciones que los ayudarán a alcanzar sus metas de formación a las familias en el marco de la Nueva Evangelización y cultura del V Encuentro.Carmen Chávez- López de Agape Catholic Ministries)Certificada como Agente de la Nueva Evangelización por la Diócesis de Colorado Springs y designada como representante diocesana para el V Encuentro Nacional, Carmen es coautora del Programa de Formación Espiritual para Quinceañeras, y tutora en línea del mismo. Ha escrito diversos artículos y ha sido entrevistada por CatholicTV acerca del verdadero significado de la Celebración de Quinceañeras.

Session C – Tuesday, 11:00 a.m.-12:00 Noon, July 30, 2019

Code – TitleDescriptionSpeaker(s)Biography(s)
WC1 –
The Dating Project: How to Speak About Healthy Dating and Relationships with Young People
“The way people seek and find love has radically changed. The trends of hanging out, hooking up, texting and social media have created a dating deficit. Dating is now….outdated.” (The Dating Project) This workshop will focus on the current dating culture, including stories “from the trenches,” and the need for marriage and family ministers to partner with others – parents, youth and young adult ministers, teachers and catechists – to help young people meet and date in healthy ways, as part of a remote preparation for marriage. Presenters will offer practical suggestions and resources as well as time to confer with the other directors in the room.Sara Perla and Julia Dezelski
Sara Perla is the Program Specialist for the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage at the USCCB. She is the host of the USCCB podcast “Made for Love.” Sara received her Masters degree in Theological Studies at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute in Washington, D.C. She is also a baker, a ballet dancer, and an avid listener of NPR podcasts.
Julia Dezelski is Assistant Director for Marriage and Family, Laity for the Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth at the USCCB. Sher received her doctorate in Theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. She is also wife to Francis and mother to Myriam Grace.
WC2 –
Family Systems Theory: A Healthier Way of Thinking and Living in Relationships
Most of us want to be better persons, build healthy families and relationships and be confident leaders. Learning and practicing the concepts of Family Systems Theory enable us to be more self-differentiated persons. It allows us to stand emotionally apart from a system while remining in good contact with it which lowers anxiety. Bottom line: We become healthier persons and the families and groups we live and work with are encouraged to do the same.George and Judy Clark
WC3 –
Trained Sponsor Couples provide the support couples will need beyond the wedding ceremony
We will discuss why we need to “Stop preparing for marriage; Start preparing for Discipleship!” The proven ministerial strategy is to make use of married couples of the parish who can easily be trained to function as ‘sponsor couples.’ Any assistance you may need for Recruiting and Training sponsor couples is provided by For Better & For Ever.Fr. Robert Ruhnke

Rob became a member of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (The Redemptorists) in 1961 & was ordained a priest in 1966. He lives in the Redemptorist Community in San Antonio, TX and is available to assist dioceses/parishes set up the use of For Better & For Ever using “sponsor couples” to accompany those preparing for the Sacrament of Matrimony.
WC4 –
Ministering to Families Who Have Experienced Pregnancy or Infant Loss
Many families are affected by the loss of a child due to miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death. Matt will share ways the Church can accompany these families as they navigate the grief from losing a child. The talk will draw from the experience of helping develop a new ministry in the Archdiocese of Dubuque called “Behold Your Child” that seeks to provide hope and healing for families who have experienced pregnancy or infant loss.Matt SelbyMatt Selby serves as the Director of Marriage and Family Life Office for the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa. He and his wife, Anna, have been married for eight years and have three boys: David (6), Luke (4), and Thomas (2). They have also lost seven children to miscarriage.
WC5 –
Claves para la evangelización de familias hispanas
Si el futuro comienza en la familia, entonces el futuro de la Iglesia en los Estados Unidos pasa, sin duda, por la familia hispana. Con el importante crecimiento y presencia hispana, hoy más que nunca debemos ser capaces de encontrar las maneras de involucrar a las familias hispanas en la vida de la Iglesia, para que sean contribuyentes reales a la evangelización y sean ellos mismos evangelizados y puedan vivir su vocación familiar en fidelidad a la Iglesia. Luis nos ofrecerá consejos prácticos para la evangelización de la familia hispana a nivel parroquial y diocesanoLuis Soto de Augustine Institute)Luis Soto es Director de Implementación Parroquial y Ministerio Hispano del “Augustine Institute” en Denver. Sin embargo, fue como miembro del equipo fundador y Director Ejecutivo del Ministerio Hispano y Centro San Juan Diego de la Arquidiócesis de Denver, que Luis se convirtió en uno de los líderes católicos hispanos más influyentes en la Iglesia norteamericana. Luis tiene una Licenciatura en Filosofía y una maestría en Teología. Originario de Sonora, México. En reconocimiento a sus contribuciones a la Iglesia y la Sociedad, Su Santidad el Papa Benedicto XVI entregó a Luis la medalla Benemerenti, uno de los reconocimientos más destacados que se ofrecen a laicos católicos en el mundo. Luis y su esposa Maira, viven en Denver Colorado con sus tres hijos Daniel, Diego y Sarah.

Session D – Tuesday, 3:00-4:00 p.m., July 30, 2019

Code – TitleDescriptionSpeaker(s)Biography(s)
WD1 –
How to Engage Young Families in the Gap Between Baptism and First Communion

Participants will learn about a way for parishes to joyfully engage a critically underserved demographic: parents and their children aged 0-5. Through parent/child interaction, faith-based children’s activities, and parent small group discussion, families are strengthened in their faith, become connected with each other and with their parish, their young children are taught about their faith, and parents explore the fullness of the own Catholicism. The result – engaged young families with Jesus at the center.Joanne and Alan Foley

Joanne and Alan Foley are graduates of the University of Minnesota and the Archbishop Harry J. Flynn Catechetical Institute. Alan earned his MBA from the University of St. Thomas. They have 4 children. Joanne taught Early Childhood Family Education in the Minneapolis school system. Alan is a Parish Business Administrator. They are authors of the Early Catholic Family Life Program. They also teach first sacraments in their own parish in the Twin Cities.
WD2 –
How to do Marriage Prep in the Home, School and Youth Group
Marriage preparation is divided into three phases. Many times, we are so focused on the immediate phase of marriage preparation that we neglect the first two phases. In this presentation we will explore ways to help parents, catechists, youth ministers and Catholic school teachers more effectively present the complete vision of preparation for the Sacrament of Matrimony. Christopher Vaughan
Chris Vaughan is the Director of Marriage and Family Life for the Diocese of Fort Worth. He has been active in ministry to families, youth and young adults, Hispanics and RCIA. He holds an M.A. in Theology from the Franciscan University in Steubenville. He has been married to his wife Angie for 18 years and they have 6 children.
WD3 –
5 Strategies for Building Holy Families of Faith
This session will explore contemporary, convenient and purposeful ways to help families fold faithful practices into their daily routines. From morning to night, Monday through Sunday and everything in between there are opportunities to practice and model the faith. Attendees will walk away from this session building a routine for the family to implement today.Sherry Hayes-Pierce
Sherry Hayes-Peirce in an internationally known speaker on social media, former faculty member of Graceland University, Owner and Chief Inspiration Officer at Communication Consultants Inc. She is a sought-after speaker having spoken at NCCYM, SCFFC, Diocese of San Diego, DMCC, Diocese of Honolulu, Damien & Marianne Conference, Diocese of Las Vegas, Diocese of Sacramento, Archdiocese of Los Angeles C-3 Tech Conference and Emcee at the RECongress. Additionally, serves as a church board member with CIMA, Contributor to and parish champion with Dynamic Catholic.
WD4 –
From Crisis to Cana: Caring for the Mission of Marriage
This workshop provides insight into ministering to couples in relationship crisis, while learning the words to say when you receive anguished calls. Gain the confidence to grasp and tend to the underlying issues, and find peace in your newfound ability to serve your couples in their time of need.Dana NygardDana Nygaard is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a private practice in Plano, Texas. She received a Bachelor of Secondary Education from the University of North Texas and her Master of Art in Counseling from Dallas Baptist University. She is a professional member of the Catholic Psychotherapy Association and proudly serves the Diocese of Dallas as a Marriage Readiness Assessor.
WD5 –
Family Voices from the Periphery: A Fifth Encuentro Conclusions’ Preview
Using the findings of the V Encuentro consultation process, this session identifies conclusions and recommendations on how to minister among Hispanic/Latino families more effectively. It offers pastoral insights on how to strengthen the leadership of parents so they can better accompany their children as young Catholics. It also presents the Bible as a privileged source for faith formation and missionary discipleship in the domestic church.Alejandro Aguilera-Titus del USCCBAlejandro is a nationally known speaker and writer in the area of leadership development, and ministry with families and young people. He is editor of La Biblia Católica de la Familia and the National Coordinator for the V Encuentro. Currently Alejandro works as Assistant Director for Hispanic Affairs at USCCB, under the Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church.