2020 LEM Symposium Speakers and Prayer Leaders

Jessie Bazan , M.Div., edited and authored the book, Dear Joan Chittister: Conversations with Women in the Church (Twenty-Third Publications, 2019). She is a regular columnist for U.S. Catholic magazine. Jessie also serves as the program associate for the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research. She works with the 'Communities of Calling Initiative' and the 'Called to Lives of Meaning and Purpose Initiative', two initiatives aimed at helping Christians deepen their sense of calling.
Kristi BivensKristi Bivens is the associate director of lay leadership formation for the Diocese of St. Cloud. She has a degree in Ele
mentary Education from the College of St. Benedict in Minnesota. Prior to working for the Diocese of St. Cloud, Kristi taught at two Catholic elementary schools for eight years, took a break to earn a Master of Divinity degree from Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary, and then spent 10 years as pastoral associate for two parishes in rural western Minnesota.
Robert Choiniere PhotoRobert Choiniere, D.Min is currently the Director of Adult Faith Formation at St. Francis Xavier parish in Manhattan and a Professor of Theology at Fordham University. He has served as a diocesan lay minister in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and as the Director of Pastoral Planning in the Diocese of Brooklyn from 2005-2014. Bob is also the former chair of the Conference of Pastoral Planning and Council Development. He received his Doctor of Ministry from Fordham University in 2018. Bob also holds an MA in Pastoral Ministry from Boston College and a BA in Theology and Theatre from DeSales University. Bob is a founding member and Managing Director of Stages on the Sound, Inc., a NYC based theatre company providing arts education programs to over 16,000 students each year. 
Zeni Fox PhotoZeni Fox , PhD, is Professor Emerita at Immaculate Conception Seminary, Seton Hall University. She is the author of New Ecclesial Ministry: Lay Professionals Serving the Church (revised edition, 2002) which was the first exploration of what we now call Lay Ecclesial Ministry, as well as various related articles and papers. Zeni was a participant in the Collegeville Seminar from which the papers and consensus principles were published in Ordering the Baptismal Priesthood, ed. Susan Wood. Zeni is a recipient, St. John's University Wisdom and Service award.
Timothy A. Johnston PhotoTimothy A. Johnston serves as Editor and Liturgical Training Consultant for Liturgy Training Publications. He has a degree in music education from Quincy University in Illinois, an MA in liturgical studies from St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota, and an MA in Christian Doctrine from Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has served as the director of liturgical programs at Marquette University, director of the Office of Liturgy for the dioceses of Salt Lake City and St. Cloud. Timothy is co-author of Guide for Celebrating Infant Baptism (LTP, 2018), Disciples Making Disciples: Print and Digital Resources for Forming the Assembly (LTP, 2017), and Pocket Prayers for Times of Trouble (Twenty-Third, 2014).
Bridget Klawitter PhotoBridget Klawitter , PhD, is currently the Pastoral Associate at St. Leonard Catholic Parish & School in Muskego WI. She has a wide range of responsibilities: assisting the pastor with the pastoral care of the parish including visiting the sick and home bound, and funeral planning and grief support. She also coordinates adult formation, adult sacramental preparation, and oversees multiple parish committees. Bridget worked in healthcare for over 30 years, primarily for Catholic organizations, and in 2008 left to work in parish ministry. She has graduate degrees in education and in lay ministry and is the first nationally certified lay ecclesial minister in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
Vic Klimoski PhotoVictor Klimoski , Ph.D., currently works part-time as a writer, adult educator, and leadership & organizational development consultant. He served fifteen years as director of Conversatio Lifelong Learning at Saint John’s School of Theology whose focus was on supporting clergy and lay ecclesial ministers in their pastoral leadership. Prior to that, he was academic dean at The Saint Paul Seminary of the University of St. Thomas. In addition to writing his own poetry, Klimoski works with writers through retreats and workshops at the Benedictine Center in St. Paul. He is co-director for the Healthy Ministerial Workplace Project.
Dorice Law PhotoDorice Law , M.Div, lives in Plymouth, MN. She has served in health care, parish and campus ministry. She is a graduate of Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary, and holds a Master in Education Administration and Policies. She completed her Chaplain Residency at the University of Minnesota. In her retirement, Dorice volunteers for Grace Hospice. Presently she serves on the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and Saint Paul’s Diocesan Planning Commission.
Kyle Lechtenberg PhotoKyle Lechtenberg was baptized at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Strawberry Point and grew up in that area of northeastern Iowa. In 2016, he and his wife, Kara Ullestad, were married at Capitol Hill Lutheran Church in Des Moines. They welcomed their daughter, Sage Elise, in August 2017. Kyle joined Our Lady's Immaculate Heart Parish in the summer of 2015 as a parishioner and as Director of Music and Liturgy. Kyle enjoys serving God through resourcing the nearly 600 music and liturgical ministers who help lead the whole assembly's worship of God. He directs the Magnificat Choir and Trinity Ensemble, and supports directors of the Cherubim, Youth, and Regina Coeli Choirs along with the other liturgical ministries.
In previous positions, Kyle has served in diocesan and parish ministries in Des Moines and Dubuque, as well as a public school vocal music teacher for grades 7-12 in Independence, Iowa. His undergraduate music degree is from the University of Northern Iowa, and his Master of Theological Studies degree, concentrating in liturgical studies, is from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana.
Yaret Macedo PhotoYaret Macedo is the Director of Administration and Pastoral Ministries at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Santa Ana, California. She has a degree in Business Administration from Cal State University, Fullerton and a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Theology through Loyola Marymount University (LMU). Yaret has been involved in the ministerial life for over 25 years as an active parishioner and staff member at her home parish (IHM). Some of her roles in ministry have been a coordinator of the prayer group Pequeño Rebaño within the Charismatic Renewal Apostolic Movement, member of the parish Finance Council, coordinator of a Diocesan Capital Campaign as a chairperson for the parish, and a presenter for Adult Faith Formation classes within the Hispanic Community at the parish and diocesan level.
Kerry Alys Robinson PhotoKerry Alys Robinson is global ambassador of Leadership Roundtable and author of Imagining Abundance: Fundraising, Philanthropy and a Spiritual Call to Service. Kerry is a member of the Raskob Foundation for Catholic Activities and FADICA (Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities). She has served on the boards of many diverse apostolates including Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Saint Thomas More Catholic Chapel & Center at Yale, America Media, and the USCCB’s Catholic Campaign for Human Development. She is a fierce advocate of the role of laity, young adults, and women in service to the Church. She and her husband, Dr. Michael Cappello, have two children, Christopher and Sophie.
Nathaniel Samuel PhotoNathaniel Samuel , PhD, is the Assistant Professor of Liberation Theology at Institute of Pastoral Studies (IPS), Loyola University, Chicago. Dr. Samuel is conversant with the Jesuit mission. His research interests reflect Caribbean religiosity and theology, narrative hermeneutics and imagination. As a trained economist, he also explores issues at the intersection of faith and economy, particularly with regards to the ethics of economic equality and opportunity. At IPS he teaches courses primarily in the Social Justice program and will serve as the academic advisor to students in that program. Dr. Samuael shares, "As a religious educator, I engage learners from diverse ethnic, socioeconomic and denominational backgrounds in forming learning communities that explore the challenges and opportunities for living the gospel today with responsibility and agency. My career has taken two distinct trajectories: first as a research economist, and presently as a college theology professor. These experiences afford me an interdisciplinary perspective on issues concerning faith and society, and serve my teaching and research. My vision is to help persons and communities gain the critical thinking and practical skills for living responsibly in contemporary society."
Barbara Sutton PhotoBarbara Sutton,D.Min., directs the Field Education and Ministerial Formation program at Saint John's School of Theology in Collegeville, MN., utilizing a learner-centered pedagogy. This focuses attention on what the ministerial student is learning in the practice of ministry and peer opportunities for students to theologically reflect on those practices and learning. This provides opportunities for ministerial students to gain ministerial competencies and confidence over the degree program as they prepare for church ministry. She brings a lens to teaching and formation through the lifecycle of the minister, family of origin, use of power and authority, leadership, community, ministerial context, tradition, scripture, practices of ministry and ministerial experience. Her experience in parish ministry, diocesan ministry, and chaplaincy serve as her context for ministerial preparation. She has worked with the curriculum development of The Saint John’s Bible, Lifelong Learning and Economic Challenges Facing Future Church Ministers.
Jim Wahl PhotoJames Wahl , a native of Southern California, has been involved in liturgical music since he started playing with the “folk group” in his home parish at the age of thirteen. He has served as a Director of Music at parishes in CA, AZ, and NC, including the Director of Music for the Cathedral of Phoenix and Diocesan Choir. He is currently the Director of Liturgy and Music for St. Francis of Assisi, a large Franciscan parish in Raleigh NC, where he has served for over nine years James holds a BA in music from California State University at Fullerton, and a MTA in Theology with an emphasis in Liturgical Music Composition from St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN. A published composer with World Library Publications (now a division of GIA Publications), James is a frequent national presenter on music for liturgy and catechesis with children. James, his wife Tami, and their four children, reside in North Carolina.
C. Vanessa White PhotoC. Vanessa White , D. Min. is Assistant Professor of Spirituality and Ministry as well as the Director of the Certificate in Pastoral Studies and the Certificate in Black Theology and Ministry at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. She is a member of the summer faculty of Xavier University of Louisiana’s Institute for Black Catholic Studies in New Orleans where she teaches in both the Master’s degree and Continuing Education and Enrichment Program. Her research is focused on the intersections of spirituality and praxis and is attentive to issues of discernment, health, women’s spirituality, diversity/intercultural dialogue, leadership development, womanist storytelling traditions, spiritual and ministry formation, spiritual practices, lay ministry and adult faith formation.