Called, Nourished, Sent


Listed Alphabetically


nancy-bird Nancy Bird – Four Secrets of the Spirituality of Self Care

Sponsored by:

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Take some time today to relax, renew and rejuvenate. Even on an airplane, the flight attendant states, “In the unlikely event of a loss of cabin pressure, put your oxygen mask on first, and then assist others.” So why do we, as minister in the church, continually nurture others before taking care of ourselves? Join us as we explore wellness as a way of life for Catechists and look at the spirituality of self-care as a call to the integration of body, mind, spirit and emotions and a reminder not to quit just yet!

Nancy Bird has been involved in religious education for over 30 years 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. Nancy has been a featured speaker across the country invited to the NCEA/NPCD, NCCL, the Los Angeles Congress, and many other international diocesan and school events.
Presently she serves as Division Manager for RCL Benziger Religion Publishing Company and resides in Tallmadge Ohio.



Steve-Botsford Steve Botsford – Flipped Catechesis: What Every Catechist Needs to Know

Sponsored by:

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There’s a new educational approach that’s creating quite a buzz:  Flipping Classrooms. Come and learn how to get students to participate from home, gain parents’ support, enrich session time.  There will be opportunities to access resources online so bring your smartphone, tablet, or laptop.  (Not Required to Attend)

Steve Botsford is a convert to the Catholic faith. He holds a Master of Religious Education degree from Loyola University, is a master catechist in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, GA, and served 10 years as parish youth minister.  He remains a catechist and marriage preparation sponsor with his wife. Steve writes a blog on faith formation at  He has also recently produced a catechetical board game based on the liturgical year called ‘Feast Day’.  More details at




catherine.combier-donovan Catherine Combier-Donovan – Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi:  The Liturgy as Embodied Prayer in Posture, Word, and Gesture

The phrase lex orandi, lex credendi means that The way we pray shapes what we believe (and vice versa).  Come explore why we do what we do at liturgy, from A to Z.

Catherine (pronounced Catrine) Combier-Donovan was the Director of the Office of Worship for the Archdiocese of Baltimore and is now Pastoral Associate and Director of Liturgy and Adult Faith Formation for St. John Neumann, here in Columbia, SC.  Born in Lyon, France, she earned a BS in Languages and Linguistics (Spanish) from Georgetown University and an MA in Liturgical Studies from St. John’s University School of Theology-Seminary in Collegeville, MN.  Catherine has served in a number of parishes on the East Coast as a director of liturgy, RCIA and adult formation, as a pastoral associate, choir director and cantor, and as director of the Diocese of Richmond Office of Worship.  She is a frequent presenter, the author of one book, several articles and reviews, all published by Liturgy Training Publications.  She is passionate about the RCIA and celebrating the rites right.


Feltwell-8x10-1 Dennis Feltwell, Ph.D. – Go Forth:  How to keep Your Faith Formation Encounters from Turning into “Class”

The Gospels show many stories of Jesus continuously forming His closest disciples for their future mission. In today’s academically driven society, there is a tendency to convert all sorts of vocational and technical training into classes with measurable outcomes. How do we assess the effectiveness of our faith formation programs without turning the discipleship process into an academic exercise?

Faith animates every dimension of the human person: intellectual, emotional, moral, and spiritual. Each believer finds herself/himself in need of developing a different part of that complex, but most turnkey programs only focus on one or two of these vital human aspects. Through interactive discussion and practical suggestions, we learn how to set achievable, measurable outcomes for our Faith Formation initiatives with a focus on both the local parish and universal Church. These objectives should awaken the whole person, and challenge the disciple to deepen her/his relationship with our Lord and His Church.

Dennis Feltwell is Assistant Professor of Humanities at Pasco-Hernando State College in Wesley Chapel, FL. He is a founding faculty member at the school’s new Porter Campus at Wiregrass Ranch, which opened in January 2014. Dennis holds the Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His primary area of research is on the role of religious voices in the public sphere, with a focus on moral theology and healthcare ethics.  A former elementary school math teacher, high school science teacher, college religious studies instructor, and Director of Faith Formation in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Dennis now serves as a catechist for middle-school children at Saint Mark the Evangelist Parish in Tampa, FL. He lives in Wesley Chapel with his wife Christine, and three children: Rebecca, Jacob, and their newest addition, Isaac, who was born in April of last year.



head Christopher Gustafson, STD – Staying True To The Mission:  The Church and the Gospel

The proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ is central to the Church’s identity and mission.  In this presentation, Dr. Gustafson will discuss how we keep the mission of the Church ever alive in our ministry.

Dr. Christopher Gustafson is the Pastoral Associate at St. Gregory the Great Parish in Bluffton, SC. He holds a Doctorate in Sacred Theology (STD) from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, Italy and a Masters Degree in Pastoral Theology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, OH. He resides in Beaufort, SC. Gustafson assisted the Diocese of Green Bay, WI with the development of the Morality section of the diocesan Catechetical Program. He also participated in the development of the Reclaim Sexual Health sexual addictions recovery website. Dr. Gustafson has worked closely with the Pro-Life Movement since 2003 as the Executive Director of 3 pregnancy centers in Minnesota and South Carolina. Passionate about Evangelization, Gustafson has been very enthusiastic about the Christ Renews His Parish Program at St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church.



Joyce Kelleher Joyce Kelleher – The Baptismal Catechumenate: Inspiration for Catechesis

The NDC states that the catechumenate is the source of inspiration for all catechesis.  But what does this mean in real life?  Join us to discuss some practical means of seeing our parish catechetical mission through catechumenal eyes.

Mrs. Kelleher brings 48 years of experience in catechesis having served as a volunteer catechist, Parish DRE, Diocesan Secretary for Catechetical Services, seminary instructor, and trainer/consultant for intergenerational catechesis and for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.



leblanc Christian LeBlanc – Tent, Temple, and Tabernacle

This session covers the Bible history of Arks and Tabernacles. We begin in Eden, followed by Noah’s Ark; Moses’ Ark: the Meeting Tent; a discussion of the assorted meanings of the words ark and tabernacle; the Ark of the Covenant; the Holy of Holies in Solomon’s Temple; Mary; a Catholic church; and the Tabernacle in a Catholic church, which is called a Tabernacle instead of an Ark for a very sensible reason. The we discuss what it means that we are a pilgrim church; and we see a connection between Solomon’s Holy of Holies and our future dwelling in the New Jerusalem as described in the Book of Revelation.

Christian LeBlanc began teaching Adult religious education and RCIA in 1998. For the past nine years he has been the sixth grade catechist at St. Mary, Greenville. Christian published his first book in May of 2012, The Bible Tells Me So: A Year of Catechizing Directly from Scripture. Since then he has spoken at diocesan workshops and retreats; and has been a repeat guest on Catholic Radio. He also maintains a blog on Bible-based catechesis, Smaller Manhattans.

Christian and his wife Janet have 5 adult children, 2 grandsons, and live in Greenville.



Michael Martocchio Michael Martocchio, Ph.D. – Laudato Si and Me

The latest frontier in Catholic Social Thought is that of concern for the care for our ‘common home’. What do the Church, in general, and Pope Francis, in particular, have to say on this crucial topic? This is the question that will be explored in this presentation. Along the way, we will locate the words of the Pontiff within the overall tradition of Catholic Social Thought and show how concern for our common earthly home is not only a ‘nice thing to do’, but an imperative of the Gospel.

Participating in the V Encuentro

The Diocese of Charleston, along with dioceses across the nation, is participating in the fifth Encuentro in the upcoming year.  In this session, we will discuss what the fifth Encuentro is and how we can all be involved in this opportunity to enrich our Church, both locally and nationally.

Dr. Martocchio is the Director of Catechesis and Christian Initiation for the Diocese of Charleston.   He has worked as a parish DRE, Youth Minister, Pastoral Associate, and Music Director and taught several higher education course in Theology at various institutions. He has a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Duquesne University and also holds a BA in Theology with a Concentration in Catechetics from Franciscan University of Steubenville, and an MA in Theology from Duquesne University.



Mark ODougherty Pflaum Mark O’Dougherty – In the Classroom: Practical Approaches for the Volunteer Catechist

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Considering children’s physical, emotional, and intellectual abilities as they grow, this presentation will examine best practices for planning a lesson and creating an effective classroom atmosphere, while touching on a variety of techniques for successfully engaging elementary-age learners, with particular attention to the needs of the volunteer catechist.

Mark holds graduate degrees in both Divinity and Education and has been dedicated to Catholic education for more than twenty-five years. During this time he has served as a Catholic school teacher, a parish catechist, and a youth minister. Mark assists local parishes in the implementation of their parish religious education programs as the regional manager for the Pflaum Publishing Group in the southeastern United States.



rabbit John (Jack) Rabbitt  – More Like Christ: Active Faith in Today’s World

Jesus challenges us to put our faith into action through selfless service to others.   St. James emphasizes that Faith without works is dead (James 2:14-17).     Yet in today’s hi-tech world, the forces distracting us from this focus are becoming more and more intense.     Catholic author and speaker, John (Jack) Rabbitt, offers fresh insights and inspiring reflections on familiar passages, and presents practical parallels drawn from contemporary society to help Christians respond decisively to Jesus’ call to evangelization and holiness.

John Rabbitt, a published author (More Like Christ, Outskirts Press, 2012), was a volunteer catechist on Long Island for 35 years, including 28 years in Confirmation prep for 8th and 9th graders.   He also served as an RCIA instructor for 3 years and a lector for 35 years, and was a contributor on parish Finance Committees for 12 years.   Along with his wife, Rosemary, John also served as a Pre-Cana group leader for 15 years, and Baptism prep instructor to new parents for 6 years.   He has spoken at the annual convention for The National Council of Catholic Women, and various conferences in the Diocese of Charleston.     He is a frequent guest speaker at Catholic parishes in the low country, and is a popular presenter on business, history and religion topics at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at USCB.    John, who is retired from a career in finance, is currently the Coordinator for the Family Promise ministry at St. Gregory The Great parish in Bluffton, working with homeless families sheltered  at various churches in Beaufort County.



profile3 Kathy Schmugge – The Gospel and the Family

We find ourselves in a year that has been filled with the family.  We have seen two synods on the family and Pope Francis’ first trip to the United States in September 2015 was connected to the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.  What does the Gospel have to do with the family?  Why is the family important in the Church and in the world?  Join Kathy to find out!

Kathy Schmugge has been working for the Diocese of Charleston in the Family Life Office for  over 10 years.  She holds a Master in Theological Studies degree from Ave Maria University and is a trained chastity educator for Family Honor, Inc.  She also received National Catholic Certification in Health Care Ethics. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Medical Ethics.



sp Sister Pamela Smith, SS.C.M., Ph.D. – Church Ministry:  Explosion, Implosion, and the Universal Call

For some fifty years we’ve experienced what sociologists focused on religion call an “explosion” of lay ecclesial ministry.  Meanwhile, in some quarters priestly, diaconal, and religious vocations are booming while other places are stressed by shortages.  As the Church has just completed her celebration of the Year of Consecrated Life, we consider the characteristics of ordained, religious, and lay vocations and ponder how culture influences the way people respond to God’s call.

Sister Pam serves as Secretary for Education and Faith Formation in our diocese.  For more than forty years she has taught and held administrative positions in Catholic educational institutions and in her religious community, the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius.  The author of 12 books, she holds master’s degrees in English and religious studies and a doctorate in systematic theology.



Pixie Smith Pixie Smith – God’s Gift of Forgiveness

Sponsored by:

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Our Baptism establishes that we are made in the image and likeness of God and is one source of God’s Forgiveness. How is it that we lose sight of this image and turn away from God so often? Let’s examine these issues and how we can continue to grow with God’s Gift of Forgiveness.

Pixie Smith has been active in the ministries of catechesis and liturgy for over 25 years as a catechist, children’s liturgy and music director and coordinator of children/family/sacrament formation programs. She has numerous catechetical and leadership certifications in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Lay Ecclesial Ministry Certification from Springhill College in Mobile, Alabama and advanced studies in Theology and Organizational Leadership. She is the Southeast and International Sales Representative for RCL Benziger Publishing.



Fr Marcin Zahuta 2 Fr. Marcin Zahuta – The Vocation and Mission of Moses: Champion of Faith

In this talk, Fr. Marcin will discuss the calling and mission of Moses.  By examining Moses’ mission, we can also examine our own calling and discern God’s will for our own lives.

Fr. Marcin Zahuta is a native of Poland.  Prior to becoming a priest he was a professional soccer player in Europe.  He attended Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit and was ordained in the Diocese of Charleston in 2006.  He is currently the pastor of St. Thomas More in Columbia.