11 Changemakers You Might Meet at the Dallas Ministry Conference
Date published: Sept. 27, 2016
From Sept. 29 - Oct. 1 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas, Catholic
faithful from the diocese and the surrounding area will come together at the 10th
annual Dallas Ministry Conference, sponsored by the Diocese of Dallas and the University of Dallas, to learn, pray
and “Walk Together in Faith.”
Over the three-day period, 128 speakers will share their wisdom and stories. These
128 include 22 members of religious life, 14 priests and 16 past or present University
of Dallas professors — an impressive array who together boast over 750 combined years
in ministry, but among them are also reporters, CEOs, founders, artists, architects
and authors. Here are 11 changemakers (some might even say visionaries) you’ll have
the opportunity to gain insight from and possibly even meet this week at the DMC:
- Many of our speakers have been working actively on the world stage to promote peace
and security. In 2012, the Most Rev. Luis R. Zarama was asked to be part of The Santa Marta Group, the task force against human trafficking
established by Pope Francis that gathers bishops and security leaders from around
the world at its annual meetings. He currently serves as a member of the migration
committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
- Meanwhile, David M. O'Brien, M.Div., a specialist in Catholic peacebuilding, worked this past year in Northern
Uganda with child soldiers through the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.
- Then there are the artists. William Brocious’ work has ranged from the restoration and renovation of historic cathedral basilicas
to the replacement of a small country parish church lost in a fire.
- For the past three years, Catholic performing artist Michael James Mette has toured the country with his wife, Michelle, and their six children, blending
music that is “passionate like a Friday night and reverent like a Sunday morning”
with technology and testimony to share their ministry across 44 states.
- Shelley Kolman Smith has been a self-taught professional artist for over 27 years, first as a portrait
painter and then as a sculptor; her work can be found in churches throughout the U.S.
- What about the authors, you ask? Matthew Pinto is the founder and president of Ascension Press and the author or co-author of a
variety of best-selling works, including Did Adam and Eve Have Belly Buttons?, Did Jesus Have a Last Name?, and A Guide to the Passion, a New York Times bestseller.
- John Allen, of course, serves as the editor of Crux, an independent Catholic news site, and
is also the senior Vatican analyst for CNN.
- Meanwhile, Marlon de la Torre is the author of Screwtape Teaches the Faith (Tan/Saint Benedict Press 2011) and Man Up: Becoming the New Catholic Renaissance Man (Bezalel Books 2014).
- As for our community leaders, Shannon Deitz is the founder of Hopeful Hearts Ministry, an advocacy nonprofit organization giving
a voice to survivors of abuse and the spokesperson for the Maria Goretti Network,
a Catholic peer-to-peer support group for survivors of abuse.
- Janice Benton, executive director of the National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD), guides
initiatives that promote participation of persons with disabilities in the Catholic
- Pamela Bernards, Ed.D., is the director of professional development for the National Catholic Educational
Association (NCEA) and welcomes the challenge of working with and supporting teachers
and principals in their vocation as Catholic school educators.
These 11 are just a sampling of the DMC’s talented and dedicated speakers, all men
and women who work daily to enact virtue and spread the gospel throughout their communities,
their countries and often the world.
Whatever your area of interest in ministry, according to Emilia Leon, manager of advertising
and promotions for the Dallas Ministry Conference, you’ll find a session pertaining
to it at the DMC.
"This conference is open to everyone — whether you’re a working professional in ministry
or a layperson, there’s something that will surely interest you,” she said. “It’s
the 10th anniversary of the DMC. We’re excited to host the event and welcome newcomers
as well as returning attendees.”
Register and get tickets for the DMC today.
In the photo: Top: Allen, Benton, Bernards, Brocious, Deitz
Bottom: Delatore, Mette, O'Brien, Pinto, Smith, Zarama