Gavin Ahern teaches theology at Xavier College Preparatory. He is a graduate from St. Mary’s High School in Phoenix . After a few years of pursuing a career in music, he was inspired by Dr. Bob Sullivan of Phoenix College to study philosophy and teach. Gavin earned a Bachelor’s in Philosophy from Assumption College in Worcester Massachusetts and a Masters in Theological Studies from the Institute for Pastoral Theology at Ave Maria University. He is happily married to Valerie and they have been blessed with four boys.
REV. JOSE BALLESTEROS
Parochial Vicar at St. Augustine Parish in Phoenix, AZ.
Masters in Education – Technology Institute of Sonora, Mexico
Masters in Philosophy – Pontifical University of Mexico
Masters of Divinity – Diocesan Seminary, Mexico
JAVIER BRAVO, MA, ED.
Javier Bravo is a native of Arizona. Born and raised in Yuma, Arizona, he attended public school all the way through high school. After that, Javier discerned the diocesan priesthood and spent some time in seminary formation. Afterwards he discovered a love for education and has been working in Catholic education since 2009. He has worked as a teacher and even had a brief stint in textbook publishing. Javier is married and has a wife and daughter. He currently serves as an assistant principal at Bourgade Catholic High School.
REV. ROB CLEMENTS
B.S. Finance & French, Arizona State University, Tempe 1983
M.Div., M.A. Theology (Systematics), St. John’s, 1990
Ordained Priest for Diocese of Phoenix, 2 June 1990
Parochial Vicar, St. Mary’s, Chandler, 1990-94
Chaplain, Instructor in Religion, Seton Catholic High School, Chandler, 1991-94
Diocesan Vocation Director, Diocese of Phoenix, 1994-2000
Pastor, St. Mary’s, Chandler, 1998-2005
Rector, Ss. Simon & Jude Cathedral, Phoenix, 2005-10
Director, Catholic Newman Center, Arizona State University, 2010-current
Fr. Rob Clements is a fourth-generation native of the state of Arizona, and is a convert to the Catholic Faith. Graduating from local schools, from Arizona State University, and working for Valley National Bank following university studies, he discerned a call to the priesthood and entered St. John’s Seminary, Los Angeles, in 1985. Following sacred ordination in 1990l, Fr. Clements has served the diocese in a number of pastoral and educational settings prior to his current assignment as the Director of the All Saints Catholic Newman Center at Arizona State University.. He has served on the Priest Placement Board, the Board of Directors for Phoenix Natural Family Planning, and the Catholic Community Foundation.
ROB DRAPEAU, MA., ED.
Rob Drapeau has over 20 years of experience teaching Theology to students ranging from fifth graders in their wonder years to retirees in their golden years. He spent eight years as a Theology Instructor at Brophy College Preparatory and six years teaching Theology, Language Arts, and Latin to junior high students at Saint Maximilian Kolbe School. He has taught numerous classes for The Institute of Catholic Theology at Saint Thomas the Apostle parish and adult faith formation classes at both Saint Thomas the Apostle and Saint Joan of Arc. He has a BA in Religious Studies from the University of Arizona and an MAEd in Educational Technology from the University of Phoenix. Currently, Rob is the Dean of Academics at Saint Mary’s Catholic High School. He also assists with the Inquiry process at his parish, Saint Thomas the Apostle, and serves on the board of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development for the Diocese of Phoenix. Rob is the proud father of seven children (Sophia, Joseph, Olivia, Francesca, Max, Gemma, and Chiara) and the happy husband of one wife, Amy.
Ryan Hanning is currently Director of Parish Leadership Support for the Diocese of Phoenix. Ryan has worked in Parish life as a Director of Youth Evangelization, a DRE and Director of RCIA in both English & Spanish. Ryan has a B.A. in Religious Studies from Arizona State University, a Masters of Education from Northern Arizona University, and is a Doctoral Candidate with Maryvale Institute and Liverpool Hope University in the UK. Ryan also teaches Theology and Biblical Studies at Grand Canyon University, as well as World Religions for the Maricopa Community College District where he was named Outstanding Adjunct Faculty in Religion for 2009-2010. Ryan, his wife Rebecca and their 5 children reside in Mesa, AZ.
FR. THADDEUS MCGUIRE
Fr. Thaddeus McGuire, after earning a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from the Ohio State University and a Masters in Business Administration from Lehigh University.
Fr. McGuire spent five years in Rome, Italy in formation for the priesthood at the Pontifical College of St. Bede and the Pontifical North American College. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Phoenix in July of 1999. He has served as the pastor of St. Daniel the Prophet Parish since July of 2004.
In addition to his parish ministry, Fr. McGuire also serves on the Diocesan School Board, the Board of the Catholic Tuition Organization of the Diocese of Phoenix, the Diocesan Natural Family Planning Board, the Diocesan Priest’s Placement Board, and is the Spiritual Director for the Deacons of the Diocese. Fr. McGuire is also honored to serve as the Spiritual Director for the Archconfraternities of St. Philomena throughout the Western United States.
Mary is the National Director Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Mary began working with as a coordinator of Children’s Catechesis 1992 at St Anne’s in Gilbert, Arizona. She was sent by her Pastor to learn more about the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS), for their 1600 children. She has been a CGS formation leader since 1997 serving as such at home and abroad working with those in the Diocese of Brownsville, the Diocese of Toledo with En Camino Ministry, at Diocesan Eucharistic Congresses, and the Dominicans of Nashville TN . She also worked with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal in Honduras and Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity throughout the United States as well as in Manila, Philippines and Kolkata, India. Mary served on the Board of the National Association, a founding member of CGS Fund Advisory Board and on the International Council for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. She was also a member of first cohort at Aquinas Institute to receive a Masters in Pastoral Ministry in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. She has worked in the Diocese of Phoenix since 2003, as a presenter and formation leader for diocesan catechists and catechetical leaders. Since 2010, she serves as the National Director for the National Association of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd in the United States.
Mike Phelan has directed the Marriage and Respect Life Office of the Diocese of Phoenix for the past four years. He is a graduate of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies in Marriage and Family at the Catholic University of America where he obtained a Masters degree in Theological Studies. A teacher and basketball coach by trade, he has a bachelor’s degree in English and Education from the University of Dallas. He and his wife Sharon have five children and have taught Natural Family Planning and marriage preparation classes together for twelve years.
Christina Strafaci, originally from Long Island, NY, is an adjunct faculty member of the Kino Institute in the Diocese of Phoenix, AZ, and the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, TX. She holds a Masters of Theological Studies from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, as well as graduate degrees in French Literature from UNC-Chapel Hill. She has an extensive background in the education of youth and young adults, including ten+ years at the university level in the United States and France and five years at St. Mary’s High School in Phoenix. Since moving to the desert, she has devoted free time to writing, editing, conference planning, and making short films, often for the diocese’s Office of Marriage & Respect Life. Christina is also the producer, photographer, and publicist for Theophany, a Catholic theatre company formed with her JPII Institute classmates.
FR. PAUL SULLIVAN
Fr. Paul Sullivan is a priest of the Diocese of Phoenix. He was ordained in 2007 and has served in as a parochial vicar, director of a retreat center, high school chaplain and pastor. He currently serves as Director of Vocations for the diocese and Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Phoenix. Fr. Sullivan grew up in New York and is from a family of eight children. He attended SUNY Albany for college where he earned a degree in accounting. After 3 years of work as a CPA, he entered Saint Meinrad Seminary for studies in philosophy and theology.
SR. NANCY WELLMEIER, SNDdeN
Sister Nancy, a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur, began her ministry as a teacher of Spanish and then moved into pastoral ministry, first in Sonora and then in the diocese of Phoenix. Parish ministry, Kino Institute Spanish program and work for the US Bishops’ Conference Department of Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees kept her busy until 2003 when she was elected to the General Council of her congregation and spent the next 6 years based in Rome, Italy. Sister has a doctorate in Cultural Anthropology with a concentration in the religious customs of Latin America.