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Lead me Lord

Diocese of Oakland Catechetical Congress 2019


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No onsite registration for this event.
Please register online. Registration deadline Aug. 5


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Come be enriched and inspired by nationally known speakers as well as some of our local leaders in ministry.

Early Bird Registration $35 before July 15, after that date $40
There will be no onsite registration. Last day to register is August 5, 2019

Saturday, August 10, 2019
Doors open at 8:15 am
(8:15 am – 5:00 pm)

Bishop O’Dowd High School
9500 Stearns Avenue, Oakland CA


Bishop Cantú
Bishop of San Jose

Dr. Bob Rice
Professor, Author, Speaker
Franciscan University

Victor Valenzuela
VP Ministry Formation
Dignity Health

Rev. Hy Nguyen
Professor of Theology
Catholic University of America

Mark Lederer, MFT
Director of Health and Wellness
Bishop O’Dowd High School

Kathleen Radecke
Oakland Diocese Catholic Schools

Christine Watkins
Queen of Peace Media

Ed Hopfner
Director of Family Life
Archdiocese of San Francisco

Rev. Rafael Hinojosa
St. Anthony Parish, Oakley

Rev. Carl Arcosa
St. Michael Parish

Julio Suarez
Master Catechist, Speaker, Musician

Rev. Anthony Huong Van Le
St. Catherine of Siena

Michelle Martinez-Kilty
SPRED Coordinator

Sandy Pimperton
Retired RCEB, Case Manager

Juan Jose Suarez
Dir. of Faith Formation
Our Lady of Guadalupe 

Lizette Suarez
Program Coordinator
School for Pastoral Ministry


For more info contact: Patti Collyer
Department of Faith Formation & Evangelization at [email protected]

Register Here


Oakland Diocese Catechetical Congress 2019

Workshops & Speakers

Morning Keynote

Proclaiming Christ Crucified – Dr. Bob Rice

St. Paul is rightly considered the greatest theologian of all time, yet he sought to convey one simple truth: “I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:1-2). Like the beauty of a monstrance, it is easy to be distracted by the richness of the Church’s many doctrines and yet miss the simple heart of what we are called to proclaim. “On the lips of the catechist, the first proclamation must ring out over and over: ‘Jesus Christ loves you; he gave his life to save you; and now he is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen and free you’” (Francis, Evangelii Gaudium164). This keynote examines numerous ways to proclaim that message.

 Dr. Bob Rice is an internationally known speaker, acclaimed musician and innovative writer. He is a Professor of Catechetics and the director of the Masters of Arts in Catechetics and Evangelization at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He has a PhD in theology from Liverpool Hope University where he researched Catholic youth and evangelization. He authored many books, articles and award-winning scripts that have helped people come to a deeper understanding of the Catholic faith. He is the host of EWTN’s Franciscan University Presents.  He lives in Steubenville with his beautiful wife, Jennifer, and their seven adorable children.


 Afternoon Keynote – English

“Upon this rock, I will build my church” (Mat 16:18) – Rev. Hy K. Nguyen

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is very clear that Jesus established the Church to fulfill the Father’s plan of salvation (CCC 763), and that the Church was built on the foundation of the Apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone (Eph 2:20). Through the Apostles,

we come to Jesus himself (CCC 765). To be a Christian is to believe that “Jesus Christ is Lord” (Phil 2:11). Therefore, the Lord’s words not only assure but affirm us to be witnesses of Christ, and despite all crises, “the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” (Mat 16:18)

 Rev. Hy K. Nguyen was ordained to the priesthood in 1997 in the Diocese of Oakland. He then joined the Society of St. Sulpice in 2000, as a member of the American province. He earned a B.A. in Philosophy in 1992, a Bachelor of Sacred Theology (STB) in 1996, a Master of Divinity in 1997, and an M.A. in Theology in 1998. He completed a doctorate in dogmatic theology at Gregorian Pontifical University (Rome) in 2006. Since then, he has taught at St. Mary's Seminary & University in Baltimore, as well as the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio. He currently resides in Washington D.C and serves as the vice-rector of Theological College, the national seminary of the Catholic University of America, with a teaching position in the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America.


Workshops in English

Rising from the Ashes: Renewing Parish Life – Fr. Carl Arcosa

This presentation aims to assist parish leaders and ministers on how to respond to the reality of dying parishes or parishes needing renewal or revival. It will focus on 3 core values of parish life: Celebrating the Sacraments, Hospitality and Evangelization.

 Rev. Carl Arcosa was born and raised in the Philippines and finished his priestly formation in 2007 at St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park, CA. He was ordained in the Diocese of Oakland and served at numerous parishes. He is currently the Pastor of St. Michael Church in Livermore, CA and the Diocesan Chaplain of Divine Mercy Devotions. He firmly believes that serving God's People and taking care of souls bring life and growth to the parish through the celebration of parish life, the sacraments, popular devotions, hospitality and faith formation.


Five Characteristics of Effective Catechesis - Bob Rice

There is often confusion within North America about the relationship of education and catechesis. Education is an indispensable part of catechesis, but catechesis seeks a loftier goal: “The definitive aim of catechesis is to put people not only in touch but in communion, in intimacy, with Jesus Christ” (John Paul II, Catechesi Tradendae5). The goal of catechesis is not just information, but transformation through the power of the Holy Spirit. It must be Christocentric, systematic, organic, kerygmatic, and beautiful. For, “The whole concern of doctrine and its teaching must be directed to the love that never ends” (CCC 25).


 How the Blessed Mother Helped Save Me from Death and Can Help Save the Souls you Love – Christine Watkins

The Blessed Mother has said in her authentic apparitions regarding how we can help heal and save the souls of our loved ones. These same key steps are outlined by Jesus in His words to St. Faustina Kowalska, the saint of Divine Mercy. In this dynamic presentation, you will learn of these three specific and distinct guidelines from heaven, and you will be amazed by what Mary has done for others--and what she can do for you. Never underestimate the prayers of your Mother.

Christine Watkins, MTS, LCSW, founder of Queen of Peace Media, is a popular Catholic speaker and author of several best-sellers, including OF MEN AND MARY: How Six Men Won the Greatest Battle of Their Lives and FULL OF GRACE: Miraculous Stories of Healing and Conversion through Mary's Intercession. Before her conversion, Watkins danced professionally with the San Francisco Ballet Company. Today, she has twenty years of experience as a Catholic speaker and counselor. Watkins has been featured guest on Catholic television shows and hosts her own show on Radio Maria, called "Find Something More, Find Your Way Home." She is the founder of Queen of Peace Media (www.QueenofPeaceMedia.com). Also see www.ChristineWatkins.com



 Youth Mental Health: What Hurts and What Helps                                                                                              In this session attendees will learn about some of the more common psychological stressors experienced by youth, how to start conversations about mental health with young people and families, and when and how to refer for further support.  Special focus will be placed on social and cultural aspects to mental health struggles in youth and reducing stigma associated with mental illness.

 Mark Lederer works at Bishop O'Dowd High School as the Director of Health and Wellness and School Therapist.  He received his BA in Philosophy from the University of New Hampshire, his MA in Theology from the Graduate Theological Union, and his MA in Counseling Psychology from the Wright Institute.  He is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice in Berkeley providing psychotherapy to adults and adolescents.


Including our Brothers and Sisters Who Have Special Needs – Michelle Martinez-Kilty & Sandy Pimperton

The goal of the workshop is to create a snapshot of how to build small Christian communities and promote inclusion for people with developmental disabilities.

 Michelle Martinez-Kilty is the Coordinator of SRRED (Special Religious Education) for the Diocese of Oakland since 2013.  Michelle earned her Masters’ Degree in Special Education at Holy Names University and has been a part of the SPRED ministry since 2008.   

Sandy Pimperton is a Retired Case Manager for the Regional Center of the East Bay where she worked for over 40 years. She has been involved in SPRED for over 20 years.


Virtue in a Sexualized Culture??? – Ed Hopfner

Our young people are coming of age in a difficult time.  The true meanings of love, sex, and the dignity of the human body are often obscured in a culture of sexting and hook-ups, while the basic requirements of respect and commitment for sexual intimacy have now been replaced by the low bar of ‘consent.’  Too many of them struggle to find their own self-worth, dignity, and even identity.

How can we show our young people that the truths of the Church’s teaching on sexuality are life- and love-affirming, not just old-fashioned rules? Come to this workshop for a down-to-earth presentation of Pope St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, with suggestions and resources for sharing it with young people, helping them to reclaim their identity, and equipping them to survive and thrive in today’s world.

 Ed Hopfner is the Director of Marriage & Family Life for the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Ed also served as the Coordinator of Marriage and Family Life for the Diocese of Oakland.  Ed has four Masters’ Degrees and formerly taught at a High School in Washington state.


Strengthening the SPIRIT of the Catholic Educator – Kathleen Radecke

We are called by Christ to be ministers of our faith, preparing our students for heaven!  Nurturing and sustaining our own spiritual development is critical to the fulfillment of our calling and the mission of Catholic education.  This presentation will educate and inspire, provide nourishment and energy for bringing the Good News of Jesus into the total educational experience.

Kathleen Radecke, an energetic and engaging presenter and retreat leader, is the Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Oakland.  She has been a vivacious and passionate advocate for Catholic education for almost 30 years.


Giving A witness Talk – Julio Suarez

 At times it is hard to put into words what God has done in our lives. Sharing our faith journey can be intimidating or overbearing. In this workshop, we will go over simple and effective ways in which you can put together a powerful and effective witness talk. 

Julio Suarez a Master Catechist, who attended the School for Pastoral Ministry, is also a nationally known speaker and worship leader.  He travels the country giving talks at parish and diocesan events. He also offers video reflections and released a video course last year titled “4 Things That Kill Your Joy and How to Defeat Them”. He is passionate evangelization and faith formation and has a BA, Master Catequista, Orador y Músico Católico Nacional.


Presentador en Español – Mañana

La Divina Providencia y La Catequesis – Víctor Valenzuela

La fe que tenemos es otorgada por la Divina Providencia. Esta fe es la que nos guía en nuestras vidas. Es una fe que es un don gratis que viene de nuestro Dios. A través de la catequesis tratamos de inculcar esta fe en las personas que han decidido seguir una vida de fe. Cristo es el modelo y el ejemplo de cómo debemos seguir a Dios. El discipulado es la manera que usamos para instruir a las personas en la catequesis. “Sabemos que Dios dispone todas las cosas para el bien de quienes lo aman, a los cuales él ha llamado de acuerdo con su propósito”. (Romanos 8:28).

 Víctor Valenzuela es un profesional de la formación y vicepresidente del Ministerio de Formación para Dignity Health. Ha servido en el ministerio durante más de 30 años, incluyendo en formación, ministerios parroquiales, capacitación de maestros y la publicación de materiales para escuelas y parroquias. Ha presentado talleres y conferencias a numerosos grupos tanto a nivel regional como nacional. Tiene una licenciatura en Artes del Seminario San José en Menlo Park, California y una Maestría en Artes en Educación de la Universidad de San Francisco. Actualmente está completando un doctorado en la Universidad de Barry en Miami. Nacido en Arizona de padres de ascendencia mexicana, es completamente bilingüe y bicultural. Actualmente vive en San Leandro, CA.


Presentador en Español – Tarde

Obispo Oscar Cantú, es Obispo de la Diócesis de San José y nació en Houston, Texas. Obtuvo su título de Bachiller en Artes en la Universidad de Dallas, y luego recibió su Maestría en Divinidad y su Maestría en Estudios Teológicos en la Universidad de St. Thomas, también en Houston. Asistió a la Pontificia Universidad Gregoriana en Roma, Italia, donde obtuvo su S.T.L. Licenciatura en Teología Sagrada, así como su Doctorado en Teología, Doctorado en Teología Sagrada y en Teología Dogmática. El Obispo Cantú fue ordenado sacerdote de la Diócesis de Houston en 1994.

Taller en Español

Psicología de la Catequesis  -  Padre Rafael Hinojosa

Una conferencia que proporcionará los elementos fundamentales del desarollo humano para una catequesis eficaz, oportuna y trasformadora. Aumentaremos nuestro entendimiento del ser humano como un ser en proyecto, un ser educable y un ser en desarrollo.

Padre Rafael Hinojosa es pastor de la Parroquia San Antonio en Oakley, se graduó en el 2000 con un título en Negocios como CPA de la UdC, México. Fue ordenado sacerdote en mayo del 2009, obtuvo su Maestría en Divinidad y STB en Teología en el Seminario y Universidad de San Patricio en Menlo Park. El padre Hinojosa es uno de los instructores de la Escuela de Ministerios Pastorales y del Instituto Catequético Serra en la Diócesis de Oakland.


Catequesis de Misericordia – Víctor Valenzuela

Nuestros esfuerzos catequéticos tienen que llegar a “las afueras” de nuestras comunidades. Hay muchas personas que están luchando día a día con su fe y cómo identificarse con la iglesia. Muchas veces estas personas están al margen de la sociedad y son personas que no se identifican con lo que la sociedad define como “normal.” Si escuchamos el reto del Papa Francisco, nos pide traer la misericordia a las personas que están olvidadas por la sociedad. En este taller nos dedicamos a desarrollar 5 estrategias para salir de la rutina normal de la catequesis y buscar modos para enlazarnos con personas que no caben en nuestra definición de la catequesis normal. Se darán recomendaciones prácticas para cómo logar estas metas en nuestras comunidades.


¿Cómo Preparo mi Sesión Catequética? – Juan José Suarez

Alguna vez has pensado: "Me gustaría ser catequista pero no tengo la menor idea cómo preparar una sesión". O quizás quieres nuevas técnicas para preparar tus sesiones. Ven y te presentaré tres maneras diferentes para planear tu sesión catequética. Música, oraciones, actividades, libros y silencio. Todo lo que necesitas y quizás algunas cosas que no.

Juan José Suárez es el Director de Educación Religiosa en la Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe en Fremont, California. También es un especialista en educación en servicio y consultor para RCL Benziger. Ha servido en su parroquia durante 15 años como ministro de jóvenes y catequista de confirmación. Juan José se graduó y ha enseñado en el Instituto Catequético Serra y en la Escuela de Ministerios Pastorales de la Diócesis de Oakland.


Viviendo la Virtud, en una Cultura Sexualizada? – Ed Hopfner

Nuestros hijos están creciendo en un tiempo muy difícil.  El significado verdadero del amor, la sexualidad y la dignidad del cuerpo humano muchas veces están ocultos en una cultura de ‘sexting’ y ‘hooking up.’   Los requisitos fundamentales para intimidad sexual - el respecto y compromiso – han sido reemplazados por una norma mínima de ‘consentimiento.’  Demasiados jóvenes encuentran dificultad conociendo su propia dignidad, auto-estima y aun su identidad.

¿Cómo podemos mostrar a nuestros hijos que las enseñanzas de la Iglesia Católica sobre la sexualidad ofrecen una afirmación de la vida y el amor, y no solamente ‘más reglas’? Ven a este taller para una presentación claro de la Teología del Cuerpo de Papa San Juan Pablo II, con sugerencias y recursos para compartirlo con los jóvenes, que ellos puedan reclamar su identidad, y sobrevivir y prosperar en el mundo de hoy.

Ed Hopfner es el Director de Matrimonios y Vida Familiar de la Arquidiócesis de San Francisco. Ed también se desempeñó como Coordinador de Matrimonios y Vida Familiar de la Diócesis de Oakland. Ed tiene cuatro maestrías y fue profesor en una escuela secundaria en el estado de Washington.


 Cómo involucrar a los Padres en la de Formación de Fe de sus Hijos  - Lizette Suárez

Sabemos que todo comienza desde el hogar de los adolescentes/ jóvenes con los cuales interactuamos. Los padres juegan el papel más importante en sus vidas. Sabemos que a veces es un reto involucrar a los padres y que participen en la catequesis de sus hijos. En este taller repasaremos ideas sobre cómo involucrar y comprometer a los padres en la formación de la fe de sus hijos. Y, ojalá, impactar a sus familias para que participen y compartan más en nuestra Iglesia.

 Lizette Suárez es Coordinadora del Programa de la Escuela de Ministerios Pastorales para la Diócesis de Oakland. Ella ha servido a la Iglesia por más de 16 años en diferentes capacidades y obtuvo su Maestría en Teología de la Escuela Franciscana de Teología. Una de sus misiones es ayudar a equipar a los líderes para que sirvan a su máximo potencial.


 Cómo dar tu Testimonio de FeJulio Suarez

A veces es difícil expresar con palabras lo que Dios ha hecho en nuestras vidas. Compartir nuestro camino de fe puede llegar a ser un reto. En este taller repasaremos formas sencillas y efectivas en las que puede formular un testimonio poderoso y efectivo para compartir con tu comunidad. 

 Julio Suárez es Catequista Master, que asistió a la Escuela para el Ministerios Pastorales; también es un orador y líder de adoración conocido a nivel nacional. Viaja por el país dando charlas en eventos parroquiales y diocesanos. También ofrece reflexiones en video y un curso de video lanzado el año pasado titulado "4 Cosas que Matan tu Alegría y Cómo Vencerlos". Es apasionado por la evangelización y la formación en la fe. Tiene una Licenciatura, Maestra Catequista, Orador y Músico Católico Nacional._


 Concebir La Parroquia en Estado de MisiónMadre Carmen Escalante

Sabemos que para hacer una parroquia misionera primero esta tiene que ser evangelizada. La iglesia es esencialmente misionera. En este taller exploraremos cómo suscitar evangelizadores parroquiales y la necesidad de llevar el mensaje hasta los hogares

 Madre Carmen Escalante – Hermanas Misioneras Servidoras de la Palabra

Formadora de Jóvenes Misioneros  Laicos. Misionando desde hace 19 años desde Argentina hasta Estados Unidos.


Vietnamese workshops

 Giáo Dục Con Cái Sống Đức Tin – Fr. Hy Nguyen

Tại sao giới trẻ ngày càng lơ là với đức tin, bỏ nhà thờ, và đôi khi còn chống đối những ai truyền bá đức tin? Có nhiều nguyên nhân dẫn đến thảm hoạ này. Là cha mẹ và giảng viên dạy giáo lý, ta cần hiểu gì và làm gì để giáo dục đức tin cho con cái được hữu hiệu?


7 Bài Học Theo Chúa Làm Giáo Lý Viên – Fr. Anthony Huong Le

Thiên Chúa là một người thầy hoàn hảo. Ngài có một cách truyền đạt tiệm tiến và hiệu quả. Trong bài chia sẻ này chúng ta cùng nhau lần tìm trong lịch sử cứu độ 7 bài học sư phạm mà Thiên Chúa dùng để dạy bảo con cái mình. Qua đó chúng ta áp dụng vào việc học và dạy giáo lý. Với ơn phúc Chúa ban, người giáo lý viên sẽ gặt hái nhiều hoa trái.

Father Anthony Huong Le was born and raised in Vietnam. He came to the Diocese of Oakland in 2007 and was ordained on May 29, 2015 by Bishop Michael Barber S.J. He has served as administrator of St Catherine of Siena Parish, Martinez since September 2017.

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