Las Vegas Diocesan Conference  Sept 6-7, 2019

Las Vegas Diocesan Conference
September 7-8, 2018
South Point Hotel & Casino





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Nancy Bird
Sponsored by RCL Benziger

Nancy Bird has been involved in religious education as a catechist, parish catechetical leader and youth minister. She combines practical experience, creativity and motivational enthusiasm to energize those called to embrace and live their Baptism joyfully. Nancy has been a featured speaker, workshop presenter and retreat facilitator across the US and Canada. Presently she serves as Director of Training and Professional Development for RCL Benziger Religion Publishing Company, resides in Tallmadge Ohio and continues to be a volunteer catechist.

Sponsored by RCL Benziger

201. Simple Pleasures and the Sacramental Life  

Today’s busy multi-tasking world challenges us to think again about how we spend our days with what truly matters. Sometimes living the moment and recognizing the sacredness in everyday things is very hard to do. Come away with twelve tips for truly “Seizing the Day”.

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John Collins
Sponsored by William H. Sadlier, Inc.

John Collins is a National Religion Consultant for William H. Sadlier, Inc. He has a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Worcester State University and a Masters of Education in computer curriculum and instruction from Lesley University, both in Massachusetts. He received his administrative license through the Massachusetts Elementary Schools Principals’ Association and is certified as a Coordinator of Religious Education. Over the span of his career, he has been an elementary school teacher, director of curricula and
instruction, elementary school principal, and a long-time catechist and DRE.

John has been involved with religious education in various capacities since 1972. He has presented to both catechetical leaders and Catholic school teachers at many workshops and conferences in numerous dioceses. John’s presentations are practical and engaging, and include hands-on activities for catechists that can be used the next day in class. He provides quick tips, practical ideas, and strategies that will help catechists and teachers engage students as they learn more about their Catholic faith. Invite John to your parish, school, or diocesan event for an enlivening approach to making catechesis come alive in a simple, direct way filled with ideas and advice for immediate implementation.
Sponsored by William H. Sadlier, Inc.

202. One Spirit - One Church – One Mission…United in Christ
We read in the Bible God called special people to be part of his plan of salvation. God also calls each one of us. By Baptism we are joined to all the members of the Church, the Body of Christ. God has created each one of us to love and to serve and share our gifts and talents in some work that was given to no one else. We are one spirit, one Church… a community of believers sharing in one mission…united in Christ. Let’s explore what this means using scripture, music, visuals and reflection.


Gene Giuliano, M.A.
Sponsored by University of Dallas, Neuhoff School of Ministry


Gene Giuliano, M.A., Instructor at the University of Dallas Neuhoff School of Ministry, has more than 40 years of adult faith formation experience and has been a faculty member of the University of Dallas since 2002. Currently, Gene teaches courses in the University of Dallas undergraduate program, the Neuhoff School of Ministry Catholic Biblical School and Certificate of Pastoral Ministry programs, and the deacon formation programs of the Texas dioceses of Dallas, Fort Worth, and Tyler, as well as the diocese of Shreveport, Louisiana. He also presents classes, seminars, retreats, and missions at both the diocesan and parish levels and is a speaker at the annual Dallas Ministry Conference.

At the Neuhoff School of Ministry, Gene served as the Director of the Catholic Biblical School for two years and was the Cynthia and David Freeman Endowed Professor of Sacred Scripture from 2010–2017. He co-authored The Catholic Biblical School Program for Paulist Press and is the author of the introductions to the twelve Minor Prophets in the St. Mary's Press College Study Bible.

Before moving to Texas in 2002, Gene was the Parish Director of Religious Education for twelve years at Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Denver, Colorado, and taught as a member of the original faculty of both the Archdiocese of Denver Catholic Biblical School and the Archdiocesan Catechetical School. He received Catechist Certification and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from St. Thomas Seminary College in Denver, Colorado, and a Master of Arts degree in Sacred Theology from the St. Thomas Seminary Graduate School.

101. John 14–17: Jesus’ Parting Words

If you knew that you were going to die soon, what would you say to your loved ones – your family and closest friends? How would you make your wishes known? What would you leave those who remain to help them live on? This session offers a serious reflection on the wishes, commands, and promises of Jesus before his death. Join us as we consider the ultimate hopes and dreams that Jesus has for us and what he has done and continues to do to make them a reality.

Sponsored by University of Dallas, Neuhoff School of Ministry

301. Living As a Member of the Body of Christ

Jesus Christ called people from diverse backgrounds to join him in life together to be the starting-point for a new, united people. And so the Christian community is, from the start, like a large mosaic. Each little piece seems so insignificant and different from all the other pieces.
However, when all are fitted together the result is a big mosaic portraying the face of Christ. This session considers how every single piece is indispensable, because without it the mosaic no longer makes Christ visible in the world.

Sponsored by University of Dallas, Neuhoff School of Ministry

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ValLimar Jansen
Sponsored by OCP

ValLimar Jansen draws people deeper into God’s abiding presence, at today’s largest Christian gatherings – including the National Conference of Pastoral Musicians (NPM), NCEA, The March For Life, NCYC and World Youth Day – to parish communities large and small. Her energy brings young and old to their feet. ValLimar is a composer, singer, storyteller, inspirational speaker and evangelizer! She does more than entertain… she is a dynamic catechetical resource and a teacher with excellent skills and credentials. ValLimar holds professional degrees in the Arts from multiple universities and is now pursuing an advanced degree in Religious Studies. She composes all of her music in collaboration with her husband, Frank. They live in Southern California near their three adult children & supportive extended family.
Sponsored by OCP

Friday Night Keynote: That We May Be One In Christ
With a culture, a world focusing on the myriad ways we are different from each other, ValLimar Jansen we bring into focus the many ways God calls us to be one in Christ. God’s desire is that we become one with the Holy Trinity, one with all humankind and one with Earth herself. ValLimar will use her unique blend of Holy Scripture, dramatic storytelling, music, prayer and reflection, to ignite the passion within us to become more “United in Christ! Unidos en Cristo!”

102. Missionary Discipleship and the Arts
Using her unique style of storytelling, music and inspirational message, ValLimar will lead participants through a journey in which they meet people of Holy Scripture and Roman Catholic tradition. ValLimar shares innovative ideas on application and how to evangelize through the art and beauty of the Word of God.

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Brenda Noriega

Brenda Noriega was born and raised in Irapuato, Guanajuato; Mexico. She has been serving God’s people since early age at the parish and diocesan level. Brenda acquired a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Ministries from the University of Santa Clara. She currently serves the Diocese of San Bernardino as the Young Adults Programs Coordinator. Brenda collaborates at the regional level as a member of the board of Pastoral Juvenil Committee at RECOSS (Region Eleven Committee of Spanish Speakers). She is also a board member of the National Advisory Board for Young Adult Ministry. Brenda is passionate about discipleship and leadership development, especially accompanying young ministers in their path serving God and his Church.


103. Breaking Bread

In the Scriptures we constantly see Jesus having meals with people and his disciples. The early Christians came together regularly for common meals, which included the breaking of bread. Acts 2:44 refers to them having “everything in common,” and this no doubt included sharing meals together, each one receiving from the others what they needed. It is at the table when we become family. This workshop will explore how breaking bread in community can unite us in Christ.

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Dr. Jo Ann Paradise
Sponsored by Our Sunday Visitor

Dr. Jo Ann Paradise is a National Consultant for Our Sunday Visitor Curriculum Division and works with the product development team in creating resources for children and their families. She is the General Program Editor for Encounter With Christ, OSV’s completely new sacrament preparation program.

Jo Ann has served as catechetical leader in the Diocese of Pittsburgh for over 32 years. A teacher at both the grade school and high school levels in Catholic schools as well as an adjunct faculty member of several universities in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Jo Ann gives keynotes and workshops at Diocesan conferences throughout the United States and Canada.

Through her stories, Jo Ann motivates educators and catechists to prepare their children to meet the risen Lord and then learn how to respond to his invitation through a life of discipleship. She is a popular retreat director and provides spiritual direction.
Jo Ann lives in Pittsburgh, PA with her husband Don and extended family.
Sponsored by Our Sunday Visitor

Friday Pre-Conference Session - A. Entering the Mystery, Pondering the Trinity
Some people would define mystery as a problem to be solved. In our faith tradition the Trinity is a mystery that we enter into with awe and wonder. This workshop will explore our understanding of the Trinity as the very nature of God and the source of all relationship in creation. We will consider ways to share this truth with learners of all ages.

302. Celebrating our Catholic Identity: Understanding the “Heart” of our Faith

The question that is often raised by people of good intention in the world today is, “Why be Catholic?” Whether that question comes from a junior high student, or from an office co-worker, we sometimes find ourselves ill equipped to respond. Join us as we reclaim what is at the heart of our faith and celebrate its joy and beauty as we seek to be Christ present in our world


Michael Ruzicki
Sponsored by Liturgy Training Publications 

Michael Ruzicki, Training and Events Manager, Liturgy Training Publications.

Michael is the author of “Guide for Training Initiation Ministers: An Introduction to the RCIA” (LTP, 2018) and “Signs and Symbols of the Liturgy: An Experience of Ritual and Catechesis” (LTP, 2018) and serves as the director of music at Notre Dame de Chicago Parish. Michael was also a team member of the North American Forum on the Catechumenate.

Sponsored by Liturgy Training Publications

Friday Pre-Conference Session: B. Liturgy: The Source and Summit of Our Lives
Whether we are celebrating the Sacraments, Holy Week, or the Sundays of Ordinary Time, we must consider that there may be many in our congregations that lack the ability, through no fault of their own, to connect the liturgy to their daily lives. This session will offer suggestions that will help “make Mass matter” in the parish community. Simply: prepare, celebrate, reflect. The Catechism states that “the liturgy is the privileged place for catechizing the people of God.” How do we make this a reality so that all may understand the power of the liturgy?

203. Sunday Mass: One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic
Every Sunday, Catholics gather to attend Mass. At Mass, we give God our thanksgiving, praise, and worship. We hear his Word and celebrate the Eucharist. Participating at Mass is the most important thing Catholics do each week, for it is at Mass that we are changed, becoming what we receive, the Body and Blood of Christ. The Mass charges us with an important mission—to be Christ in a world that is broken and in need of healing.

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Julianne Stanz is a storyteller, author, retreat leader, beach glass hunter, Julianne Stanz is the Director of Discipleship and Leadership Development for the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin. She is passionate about parish life and living a joyful Catholic faith, and is a consultant to the USCCB Committee on Catechesis and Evangelization. Julianne has been profoundly influenced by her life growing up in Ireland. She is the author of the book “Developing Disciples of Christ” and co-author with Joe Paprocki of the book “The Catechist’s Backpack- Spiritual Essentials for the Journey” by Loyola Press and blogs monthly for the website “The Catechist’s Journey”. She is happily married to Wayne and they have three children, two sons and a daughter.

Sponsored by Loyola Press

Juliane Stanz
Sponsored by Loyola Press

Saturday Morning Keynote: Five Keys To Fully Alive Faith
St Irenaeus famously said that “The glory of God is man fully alive”. We live at a time when many are not practicing their faith and yet are searching for meaning and values. Our Catholic faith offers us a vision of being fully alive through the love of a God who loves each one of us. What habits of discipleship can help us to become more alive and in love with our faith? What are some important spiritual principles for us to grow as disciples? Come join Julianne Stanz for a journey of joy through story, Scripture, reflection and practical insights.

303. Start with Jesus: Reclaiming the Fire of Parish Life!
Conversion takes place from the “inside out” and so too does the transformation of our communities. This keynote will focus on Jesus’ approach to disciple making and how we might learn these methods from the Master. With joy, humor and practical insights, Julianne will help you to set forth a vision for reaching all people and practical ways by which we can become a community of missionary disciples that set the world on fire.

Conference Planning Services provided by: 
Terry Wessels - TM Conference Services, LLC  
406 N Sixth St #C - Marquette, MI 49855
Registrar: 815-299-7158  Office: 815-332-7084

F: 815-332-3476   E: