Diocesan Ministry Day

  • 07:30 AM
  • River's Edge Convention Center
  • 320-252-4721

Diocesan Ministry Day

Voice of Hope

Monday, August 31, 2015

at the

River’s Edge Convention Center in downtown St. Cloud
(formerly called the Civic Center) Map to Convention Center

We will be featuring workshops in numerous areas of ministry, Mass, exhibitors, and opportunities for fellowship with a dynamic keynote and other speakers.




Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz, D.D., is the fourth archbishop and ninth bishop of the Archdiocese of Louisville. He was installed August 15, 2007. Before coming to Louisville, Archbishop Kurtz served as Bishop of Knoxville from 1999 to 2007. He currently serves as the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, D.D. of the Archdiocese of Louisville

Born on August 18, 1946 in Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania, Archbishop Kurtz earned bachelor (1968) and master of divinity (1972) degrees from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia and a master’s degree in social work from the Marywood School of Social Work in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in 1976. Archbishop Kurtz was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Allentown on March 18, 1972.

Before becoming bishop of Knoxville, Archbishop Kurtz served for 27 years in the Diocese of Allentown, Pennsylvania, in charge of social services, diocesan administration, and parish ministry. He was pastor of Notre Dame of Bethlehem Parish in Bethlehem, Pa., from 1996 to 1999, and St. Mary Parish in Catasauqua, Pa., from 1988 to 1996, associate director and later executive director of the Catholic Social Agency and Family Life Bureau from 1976 to 1994, and diocesan coordinator for health affairs from 1991 to 1998. He also served in formation at St. Pius X Seminary, as an instructor at Mary Immaculate Seminary, and as the assistant director and promoter of vocations for the Diocese of Allentown. Archbishop Kurtz received the distinguished title of monsignor in 1986.

Archbishop Kurtz has served on numerous boards, including service on the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference from 1977 to 1998, as the president of the board of directors of the Catholic Social Agency from 1988 to 1999, and in Knoxville, as a member of the Association of Christian Denominational Leaders from 2000 to 2007. He was a member of the 2002 class of Leadership Knoxville, and he served as vice president of the USCCB from 2010 to 2013. Archbishop served on the board of Leadership Louisville from 2008 to 2014.

Elected president of the USCCB on November 12, 2013, Archbishop Kurtz serves on the executive and administrative committees of that body. He is the vice chancellor of the board of the Catholic Extension Society. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Catholic University of America and on the Board of Directors of the National Catholic Bioethics Center. He also serves on the board of St. Charles Seminary (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) and on the Advisory Board to the Cause for Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s beatification. In February of 2014, Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Kurtz to the Holy See’s Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

7:30 a.m.        Continental Breakfast/ Registration and Exhibits

8:45 a.m.        Welcome and Prayer

9:00 a.m.        Keynote Speaker – Archbishop Joseph Kurtz

10:15 a.m.       Learning Session 1 (60 minute workshop)

11:30 a.m.       Mass – Bishop Donald Kettler

12:45 p.m.      Lunch Buffet/ Exhibits

2:00 p.m.       “Core” Session 2 (90 minute workshop)

3:45    p.m.     Bishop Kettler – State of the Diocese Address/ Commissioning Service/Closing Prayer

4:00 p.m.        Departure


Caroline Brennan

Catholic Relief Services’ Caroline Brennan serves as a foreign correspondent from the frontlines of crises in some of the most devastated parts of our world, from the crises in the Middle East to catastrophic natural disasters in the Philippines. Recently, Caroline has spent time in northern Iraq, Gaza, the Central Africa Republic and eastern Ukraine. Since 2012, Caroline has traveled frequently to the Syrian border to meet with Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon. In late 2013 and early 2014, she traveled to the Filipino islands struck by Typhoon Haiyan. Caroline grew up in a military family that eventually settled in Austin, TX. Her family’s parish is St. Thomas Moore. Caroline graduated with a Journalism/Spanish degree from Texas A&M. She has four sisters.

willow_sweeney flaherty

Willow Sweeney Flaherty


Willow Sweeney Flaherty is co-founder of Top 20 Training, which provides training and materials to empower leaders, teachers, parents and students to develop their potential. She and her Top 20 team have trained over 200,000 leaders throughout the United States. Her work with schools and businesses focuses on developing more effective workplace teams and cultures. Willow has co-authored “Top 20 Teachers: The Revolution in American Education,” “Top 20 Parents: Raising Happy, Responsible and Emotionally Healthy Children” and “Top 20 Teens: Discovering the Best-kept Thinking, Learning and Communicating Secrets of Successful Teenagers.” Willow’s career has included high school teaching and coaching. She has been a national speaker and trainer since 2002. She and her husband, Brian, have two sons and live in St. Cloud.


Mary Howe has been involved in Catholic education for over 30 years. Her varied experiences include over 20 years as a classroom teacher, director of faith formation, and confirmation catechist. Currently, she is a consultant for Our Sunday Visitor. Mary holds an M.A. in religious education and has a passion for theology. She imparts enthusiasm and a sense of awe for our most important endeavor of passing on the Catholic faith.


Jackie Johnsonweb

Jackie Johnson


Jackie Johnson has worked for the last four years as the mission & ministry coordinator at Sacred Heart Parish in Sauk Rapids, where she implements the parish-wide use of the StrengthsFinder assessment. She loves to use her communication talents to connect parishioners with ministry! She enjoys spending her free time with her husband and two children.




Jeffrey Kaster, Ed.D.


Jeffrey Kaster, Ed.D. is director of the Youth In Theology and Ministry Program for St. John’s University School of Theology•Seminary and an adjunct professor of theology at St. John’s University and the College of Saint Benedict. He also serves as the coordinator of Lilly Youth Theology Network. Jeff completed a MA in Scripture from St. John’s School of Theology•Seminary in 1984 and a doctorate of education from the University of Minnesota in 2008.



Fr. Robert Rolfes



Fr. Robert Rolfes has served the Diocese of Saint Cloud for more than 35 years — 16 years as vice chancellor, 14 years as chancellor and currently serves as vicar general and moderator of the curia. In addition to his service at the diocesan offices, he also has been pastor of various parishes in the diocese.


Fr. Anthony Ruff, OSB



Fr. Anthony Ruff, OSB, is a monk of St. John’s Abbey. He teaches liturgy, liturgical music and Gregorian chant at St. John’s University School of Theology-Seminary. He is the founder of the National Catholic Youth Choir. He is widely published and frequently presents across the country on liturgy and music. He is the author of “Sacred Music and Liturgical Reform: Treasures and Transformations,” and of “Responsorial Psalms for Weekday Mass: Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter.” He does priestly ministry at the local county jail and the neighboring community of Benedictine sisters in St. Joseph.


Julianne Donlon Stanz


Julianne Donlon Stanz is an international inspirational speaker living in Green Bay, Wis. Born and educated in Ireland, Julianne left Ireland in 2001 to pursue a career in America. Julianne is a parishioner at St. Mary’s Parish in Algoma, Wis. Currently she works for the Diocese of Green Bay as director of adult faith formation. Profoundly influenced by her life in Ireland and her interest in Celtic spirituality she infuses her talks, seminars and retreats with passion and a fresh perspective. Dynamic, energetic and engaging, Julianne’s unique message has touched countless lives.




John Thavis

John Thavis is a journalist, author and speaker specializing in Vatican and religious affairs. He grew up in Minnesota, attending Catholic schools and graduating from St. John’s University in 1973. In 1983 he took a reporting job with Catholic News Service and began covering the Vatican daily. He traveled with Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI to more than 60 countries, and reported on other religious stories from Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In 2012 Thavis retired from his CNS position to devote full time to writing, and moved back to the United States. His book, “The Vatican Diaries,” was published February 2013.




To read articles about the speakers and the event…