Bishop Joseph Strickland
Bishop Joseph Edward Strickland serves as the fourth Bishop of Tyler.
To read messages from Bishop Strickland, visit BishopStrickland.com.
Bishop Strickland was born the sixth child of Raymond and Monica Strickland on October 31, 1958. He grew up in Atlanta, Texas. The Strickland’s were founding members of St. Catherine of Sienna Church in Atlanta, Texas where he assisted as an altar server. He entered first grade in Atlanta public schools in 1965 and graduated from Atlanta High School in May of 1977.
He entered Holy Trinity Seminary and the University of Dallas; studying for the Diocese of Dallas in August of 1977, and earned a Bachelor of Philosophy in May of 1981. He continued his education at Holy Trinity and the University of Dallas and was ordained to the Diaconate by then Bishop Michael Sheehan at Holy Trinity Seminary on December 8, 1984.
He earned a Master of Divinity Degree in May of 1985 and was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Dallas by Bishop Thomas Tschoepe at St. Monica Catholic Church in Dallas, Texas on June 1, 1985.
He was assigned as a newly-ordained priest to Immaculate Conception Parish in Tyler, Texas in June of 1985 and served as Parochial Vicar until June of 1989. Upon the erection of the Diocese of Tyler on February 24, 1987, he then joined the presbyterate of the new diocese and was named the first vocation director for the diocese in March of 1987 by Bishop Charles Herzig. He was assigned as Parochial Vicar of Sacred Heart Parish in Nacogdoches, Texas in June of 1989 and served there until October of that same year when he was assigned as pastor of St. Michael Parish in Mt. Pleasant, Texas. He served as pastor of St. Michael's until August of 1992 when he was assigned to canonical studies at the Catholic University of America by Bishop Edmond Carmody.
Strickland completed his canonical studies with a Licentiate in Canon Law in May of 1994 and was assigned by Bishop Edmond Carmody as rector of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Tyler, Texas in June of that same year. He was appointed Judicial Vicar for the Diocese of Tyler in May of 1995 and named a Prelate of Honor with the title Monsignor by His Holiness Pope John Paul II in February of 1996.
He was elected Administrator of the Diocese of Tyler in March of 2000 when Bishop Carmody departed for Corpus Christi and served in that capacity until January of 2001 when Bishop Álvaro Corrada, SJ, was installed as the third bishop of the Diocese of Tyler. He continued to serve as rector of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and Judicial Vicar of the diocese until February 1, 2010, when Bishop Corrada named him Vicar General. He served in that capacity until September of 2011 when Bishop Corrada was installed as the second Bishop of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, and appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Tyler sede vacante. At that time, Bishop Corrada appointed him as Delegate of the Apostolic Administrator.
On September 29, 2012, it was announced that His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI had chosen Strickland as the fourth bishop of the Diocese of Tyler. He was ordained to the episcopacy on November 28, 2012, by His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo of Galveston-Houston with Bishop Álvaro Corrada, SJ of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, and Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan of Santa Fe assisting as co-consecrators.
Fr. Donald Calloway
Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, a prominent Marian priest, exhibits an unmistakable zeal for the priesthood and devotion to Our Lady. He is a well-known conference speaker on Divine Mercy and the Blessed Virgin Mary. He speaks passionately about these topics in his moving conversion story. He is the editor of two books: The Virgin Mary and Theology of the Body and The Immaculate Conception in the Life of the Church. He has also authored seven books: Purest of All Lilies: The Virgin Mary in the Spirituality of St. Faustina, No Turning Back: A Witness to Mercy, Under the Mantle: Marian Thoughts from a 21st Century Priest, Marian Gems: Daily Wisdom on Our Lady, Mary of Nazareth: The Life of Our Lady in Pictures, Rosary Gems: Daily Wisdom on the Holy Rosary, and Champions of the Rosary: The History and Heroes of a Spiritual Weapon
Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers
Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers is known around the world as the “Dynamic Deacon” and is one of the most sought-after speakers in the Church today. He is a powerful and passionate evangelist and preacher, whose no-nonsense approach to living and proclaiming the Catholic faith is sure to challenge and inspire those who hear him. His areas of expertise include marriage and family life, discerning the will of God, the sacraments, male spirituality, pro-life issues, evangelization, prayer, and many others.
He co-hosts the weekly broadcast, “Living Stones,” every Monday on Mater Dei Radio, and has appeared as a guest on numerous other national and international radio programs, including “Catholic Answers Live” and “Vocation Boom Radio.”
In addition, he is the host or co-host of several popular series on EWTN television.
Retaining a deep love of Benedictine spirituality which he gained during his time discerning a call to that religious community, Deacon Harold is a Benedictine Oblate of Mt. Angel Abbey. Most importantly, Deacon Harold is married to his lovely wife, Colleen, and they have four beautiful children. They live in Portland, Oregon, where Deacon Harold is assigned to Immaculate Heart Catholic Church.
Sr. Deirdre Byrne
Sister Deirdre Byrne is an active missionary sister and superior of her community in Washington, DC. She is double board-certified in family medicine and general surgery. A native of the Washington, D.C. area, Sister Deirdre (known to many as Sister DeDe) is one of eight siblings, attended Langley High School, and graduated from Virginia Tech. After college, Sister DeDe followed in her thoracic surgeon father’s footsteps and entered medical school at Georgetown University, where she eventually completed a surgical residency. During that time she also joined the Army. After a lifetime of medical and military service in far-ranging areas, she was led to the Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts community, whose charism involves sisters placing each and every person they care for between the Heart of Jesus and Mary. Her apostolate has been performing overseas medical missionary surgery and providing free medical care for the poor and uninsured. The over 125-year-old community includes 400-500 members. By 2000, the board-certified Dr. Byrne made her commitment to the Little Workers and began her novitiate training in earnest.
Sister DeDe retired with the rank of Colonel from the United States Army in 2009 after 29 years of service in the military. She was extremely grateful for the opportunity to have served the “brave soldiers” while deployed to Afghanistan. Over the years, Sister Deirdre has found it easy to integrate her medical and military service into her religious vocation. Though comfortable in scrubs, she wears a full black or a white working habit when she can and is grateful for the impact it has on those to whom she ministers. Currently, she is the superior of D.C. Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts house near Catholic University, where the sisters run a pro-bono physical therapy clinic and diabetic eye clinic, a retirement home for her elderly sisters as well as a music school pre-school children.
Sister DeDe’s other charitable medical/surgical service includes hands-on ministry in the rubble of the twin towers following the terrorist attack on 9-11, caring for the sick during the earthquake in Haiti in 2011, and annual medical missions to Haiti and Iraq.
Patricia Sandoval is an international pro-life and chastity speaker, and host of an EWTN show called De Dos en Dos. She has appeared on many television and radio shows sharing the story of her life's transformation and work in the pro-life community. She is regarded as a primary voice for the unborn, chastity, and post-abortion healing, especially in the Spanish speaking world. She tells of years of living on the streets, drug abuse, and the devastation of multiple abortions. She is the co-author of the book, Transfigured, the story of her life and her incredible rescue into the arms of our merciful and healing God.
Jesse is a full-time bilingual Catholic Lay Evangelist, who is nationally acclaimed for his dynamic, upbeat Christ-centered preaching. His preaching apostolate is "On Fire Evangelization."
Jesse is a resident of Arizona and a retired Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff who has been married to his wife Anita since 1983 and is the parent of three children and grandchildren
He has a B.A. from Mount St Mary’s University in Los Angeles and an M.A. in Catholic Theology from Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. He is a bilingual Catholic author. (1) Recipient of the Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Award, (2) The Fullness of Truth “Defender of Faith” Award & (3) “Sports Faith International Award”
Jesse has been on Catholic radio for over 15 years now hosting teaching and speaking in English & Spanish. Currently on virginmostpowerfulradio.org hosting “The Terry and Jesse Show,” & “Jesus 911.” Jesse is also a host on a Spanish network show Enfamilia Radio” in Phoenix, Arizona.
Fr. Chris Alar
Father Chris Alar, MIC, is a priest with the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. Father Chris wrote and produced the popular "Divine Mercy 101" and "Explaining the Faith" DVD series and is the author of the bestselling book After Suicide: There's Hope for Them and for You. He is a regular host and guest on EWTN, and he also hosts the online "Divine Mercy Matters" series at DivineMercyMatters.org. He serves as "Fr. Joseph, MIC," the director of the Association of Marian Helpers and is the head of Marian Press, located on the grounds of the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
Fr. Ubald Rugirangoga
Fr. Ubald has been a Roman Catholic priest for 25 years in the Cyangugu Diocese of southeastern Rwanda. Cyangugu is situated very close to the Congo and Burundi borders on the picturesque Lake Kivu. During the 1994 genocide Fr. Ubald lost over 80 members of his family and over 45,000 of his parishioners were exterminated. He escaped through the Congo on foot in the middle of the night. When he left Rwanda at that time he made a promise to his Bishop that he would return to bring healing to his people. He spent 3 months in Belgium during the genocide at which time he said that he cried every day. After a trip to Lourdes where he heard Jesus tell him “Ubald, carry your cross,” he felt a release from the burden of his sorrows and knew he was called to preach healing, forgiveness and reconciliation.
Fr. Ubald has a beautiful healing gift and his focus is on healing and evangelization wherever he goes. There are many documented cases of physical healings, spiritual healings, healings in relationships, and emotional healings through his prayers. It is not uncommon for him to do a healing service in his country where anywhere from 10,000-60,000 people will be in attendance.
The Government of Rwanda seeks him out for advice on forgiveness and reconciliation as the country continues to rebuild after the devastation of the genocide. He continues to preach healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation in Rwanda, the Congo, and Burundi. He has also traveled all over Europe, the Holy Land, and other parts of Africa. He made his first trip to the United States in 2009, at the request of Immaculee’ Ilibagiza, author of “Left To Tell, “ another genocide survivor, who currently resides in the US.
Fr. Robert Altier
Fr. Robert J. Altier was ordained to the Priesthood in 1989 at the Cathedral of St. Paul. He served for three years as an Associate Pastor at the Church of St. Raphael in Crystal; the Associate Pastor at the Church of St. Agnes in St. Paul for fourteen years; the Chaplain at Regina Medical Center in Hastings for eight years; and the Parochial Vicar of the Church of the Holy Trinity and the parish cluster of the Church of St. Michael in Pine Island and the Church of St. Paul in Zumbrota for less than a year. He is currently serving as Parochial Vicar at the Church of St. Raphael in Crystal, MN.
Fr. Altier is best known for the series Beauty, Truth and Goodness: The Fundamentals of Catholicism which is presently being aired on EWTN. It is a 60-part Catechetical series on the basics of the Catholic Faith.
Fr. Altier has been a member of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites for 33 years and serves as the Spiritual Director for the Mater Dolorosa Chapter in St. Paul. Fr. Altier is a frequent guest on the Drew Mariani Show on Relevant Radio. He writes a weekly article for the Wanderer newspaper. He is the Chairman of the Board of the Holy Family Adoption Agency, a truly and fully Catholic Adoption Agency. He is also the President of Help the Helpless, an organization which raises funds to support handicapped orphans in India and the poorest of the poor in Ecuador. Fr. Altier is also the Spiritual Director and a board member of Catholic Parents Online, a group which seeks to keep parents of school-aged children informed regarding issues pertinent to parents and education.
Dr. Segunda Acosta
Dr. Seggy Yanez Acosta is a Catholic stress and pain specialist practicing in Manassas and Fredericksburg, Virginia under S.T.R.E.S.S. Centre Inc. She is licensed & board certified as a Psychiatric-Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist and a Diplomate with the American Academy of Pain Management. She believes in the integration of her Catholic Faith into her practice. She received her Master's Degree (M.S.N.) in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing (B.S.N.) degree at the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines. She is the Vice President of the Legion of Mary Fairfax Committee and a catechist at St. Clare of Assisi Parish. She is a founder of the Holy Trinity Jubilee Park.Inc., a nonprofit center for evangelization and the only Catholic Park in Northern Virginia offering outdoor retreats for all ages with a built-in rope and obstacle games. Dr. Acosta is the author of "Diabolical or Psychological: The Differentiation of Psychological Diseases from Diabolical Disorders."
Fr. Frank Pavone
Fr. Frank Pavone is one of the most prominent pro-life leaders in the world. Originally from New York, he was ordained in 1988 by Cardinal John O’Connor. In 1993 he requested and received permission to devote his entire life and ministry to ending abortion. With his bishop’s permission, he serves as the National Director of Priests for Life, the largest pro-life ministry in the Catholic Church. He is also the President of the National Pro-life Religious Council, and the National Pastoral Director of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign and of Rachel’s Vineyard, the world’s largest ministry of healing after abortion. He travels throughout the country, to an average of four states every week, preaching and teaching against abortion. He broadcasts daily to hundreds of thousands of people on television, radio, and online programs. Mother Teresa asked him to speak in India on life issues. The Vatican appointed him to the Pontifical Academy for Life and to the Pontifical Council for the Family to help coordinate the pro-life activities of the Catholic Church. Members of Congress have invited him to address the pro-life caucus, and to preach at the prayer service they had in the Capitol just prior to the vote on health care reform. In 2016 he was asked by then-candidate Donald Trump to serve on his Pro-life and Catholic advisory councils. He was present at the bedside of Terri Schiavo as she was dying and was an outspoken advocate for her life. He received the “Proudly Pro-life Award” by the National Right to Life Committee, and numerous other pro-life awards and honorary doctorates. His work has been praised by Presidents, Popes, and countless citizens. He is the author of four books, Ending Abortion, Not Just Fighting It; Pro-life Reflections for Every Day; Abolishing Abortion, and Proclaiming the Message of Life. Norma McCorvey, the “Jane Roe” of the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade abortion decision, called Fr. Frank “the catalyst that brought me into the Catholic Church.”
Ted is the author of many bestselling books, including The Thunder of Justice: The Warning, The Miracle, The Chastisement, The Era of Peace (co-written with Maureen Flynn); The Hope of the Wicked: The Master Plan to Rule the World; Idols in the House; and The Great Transformation: Finding Peace of Soul in Troubled Times. He has been a guest on radio shows, spoken at conferences and seminars, and produced two Catholic Films: Prophecy and the New Times and Key to the Triumph.
Kathy Grace Duncan
After living for eleven years as a man, Kathy Grace Duncan, yielded her heart and said yes to the invitation to become the woman God created her to be. Through her obedience and courage, and with the support and love she's received, Kathy Grace is now living in the fullness of restoration as a daughter of God. She has served at Portland Fellowship for over twenty years working with women in the programs. She is one of the teachers for the Taking Back Ground Online series, leads women's small groups, and facilitates discussion groups for the weekly TBG meetings. Kathy Grace has also given her testimony in various churches and taught on transgender topics. Kathy Grace Duncan has celebrated more than 25 years of freedom and redemption. Her heart is for women to know who they are in Christ and to understand how valuable they are.
Teresa Tomeo is an author, syndicated Catholic talk show host, and motivational speaker with more than 30 years of experience in TV, radio, and newspaper, 20 of which were as a secular reporter/anchor in the Detroit market. In the year 2000, Teresa left the secular media to start her own speaking and communications company, Teresa Tomeo Communications, LLC. Her weekday morning radio program, Catholic Connection, is co-produced by Ave Maria Radio in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network. It is heard on over 500 Catholic radio stations worldwide and on the Sirius Satellite Network.
Teresa is a columnist and special correspondent for the national Catholic newspaper OSV Newsweekly and appears frequently on the EWTN Global Catholic Television Network. Teresa co-hosts the EWTN television series, The Catholic View for Women, and is a field reporter for their annual March for Life coverage in Washington, D.C. Teresa has been featured on The O’Reilly Factor, Fox News, Fox & Friends, MSNBC, The Dr. Laura Show, and Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk Radio, discussing issues of faith, media awareness, and Catholic Church teaching, especially as it relates to the culture. Teresa also hosts a monthly webinar, Catholic Leaders Webinar Series: Media Matters, produced by Our Sunday Visitor.
She was one of a select group of international delegates invited to the Vatican Women’s Congress in Rome, marking the 20th Anniversary of Pope Saint John Paul II's letter, On the Dignity and Vocation of Women (Mulieris Dignitatem) in 2008. Teresa also spoke at the Vatican conference entitled, "The Rights of the Family and the Challenges of the Contemporary World" on the topic, “The Way Family is Perceived in Society,” presented by the Pontifical Council for the Family in 2013.
As an international speaker, Teresa addresses media awareness and activism, as well as sharing her reversion to the Catholic Church. She also leads various retreats and pilgrimages each year to destinations around the world, including Italy and the Holy Land.
Fr. Francis Peffley
Father Francis J. Peffley was born March 16, 1963, in Norristown, Pennsylvania to William and Mary Peffley, who met in the Legion of Mary. He joined the Legion of Mary at the age of ten along with his sisters, Edel and Natia. He graduated from Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia with a Bachelor of Arts in Theology. Father Peffley attended Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland where he received his priestly formation and his Master of Divinity and Master of Arts Degrees. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia on May 19, 1990.
Father Peffley served as founding pastor of Holy Trinity Parish in Gainesville, Virginia from 2001 to 2011 as Spiritual Director to eight praesidia and pastor to over 4,000 families in a vibrant and rapidly growing community, with 65 other ministries and organizations. Father then went to serve as parochial vicar at Saint John the Apostle in Leesburg, Virginia until 2016 and currently serves as parochial vicar at St Mary of Sorrows in Fairfax, Virginia.
In addition to his parish activities, Father Peffley is especially active with the parish young adult ministry, retreat work and pilgrimages, Catholic apologetics, and evangelization. He serves as the Spiritual Director of the Arlington Regia. For the past twenty years, he has also been a chaplain of the Knights of Columbus councils in each parish he has served. Father Peffley’s interests include juggling fire torches and machetes, golf, scuba diving, bowling, billiards, baseball card collecting, and traveling to pilgrimage sites and shrines.
Fr. Greg Bramlage
Fr. Greg Bramlage was born in 1964 and grew up in Indiana. In 1990 he graduated from Marian College with a Degree in Business Administration. He worked 13 years in the Transportation Industry before being called to the priesthood. In 1996 he graduated Cum Laude from Mount St. Mary’s Seminary and was ordained for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. He has pastored multiple parishes and a school. He has led ten pilgrimages to the Holy Land and many throughout Catholic Europe. In 2004, he received the Blessed Gianna Molla Award for his leadership in the Pro-Life Ministry. And in 2005, Fr. Greg inaugurated the first Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapel in Southeast Indiana.
That same year, he began hosting and speaking at regional faith conferences. He incorporated a full-time Healing/Deliverance Ministry at his parish of St. Nicholas. He has been a guest speaker for EWTN as well as various Catholic Radio Stations. Since 2009, Fr. Greg has evangelized throughout Africa, India, Central & South America as well as in many parts of the United States. In 2011, Fr. Greg received permission from his Archbishop to begin full-time work as a Catholic Evangelist. That same year, he founded “Missionaries of the New Evangelization” to accomplish this purpose.
Joan and Dave Maroney
Catholic speakers and married lay couple Joan and Dave Maroney have been leading the way in the New Evangelization since 1999. As founders and directors of Mother of Mercy Messengers, an apostolate of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception based at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, they have presented the Divine Mercy message through live multi-media presentations to over 100,000 souls at more than 1000 events in parishes and schools across the US and beyond. Their popular materials including DVDs, CD’s and YouTube videos have helped countless others reach thousands upon thousands.
Kristin Bird became involved with the Diocesan Rosary Congresses in her home Archdiocese of Baltimore in 2016 when a dear friend, Peggy Downs, called and asked her to help promote this effort there. Seeing the tremendous fruits and graces from that year’s Congress was instrumental in her, “Yes!” when Peggy asked, “Would you help promote this nationally?” Since then, Kristin has assisted with the leadership of this apostolic work and is now president of the Diocesan Rosary Congresses (DRC). Within that role, the DRC leadership has worked to bring together other Eucharistic and Marian Apostolates to form a coalition, CEMA, the Coalition of Eucharistic and Marian Apostolates.
Kristin has been a guest to EWTN’s Home with Jim and Joy and the Fulton Sheen Institute with Dr. Peter Howard. She is always seeking out opportunities to speak with clergy and laity about the importance of this power-packed week of praying the rosary before the Blessed Sacrament. Kristin now passionately hopes to promote this lay-led initiative to every diocese, so that the hearts and lives of all the faithful will be transformed and the Immaculate Heart of Mary will triumph.
Fr. Ron Stone
Fr. Ron Stone has been ordained for 19 years. He presently serves as the Pastor of Holy Cross Catholic Church in the Diocese of Knoxville, Tennessee. Fr. Stone comes from very difficult and tumultuous family background and has given his testimony, "From Body Building and Drug Addiction to Soul Building." He credits his return to his faith to the Rosary and his devotion to Our Blessed Mother.
Angelina and Denis Girard
Dennis & Angelina Girard are directors of the Marian Devotional Movement, founders of DivineMercyRosary.com & CatholicInCanada.com. They are the authors of "Marian Consecration for Little Souls" and producers of the DVD "God's Favored Lady."
Fr. Peter Joyce
Fr. Peter Joyce was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Worcester in 1983 by Bishop Bernard Flanagan. He received his M.A. in Theology from the Catholic University of America (having completed seminary formation across the street from the Shrine at Theological College). In 1991, he was assigned by Bishop Timothy Harrington to San Blas in Coamo, PR to learn the language and culture of the people of Puerto Rico to return as Pastor of Saint Mary Parish in Southbridge, MA. In 2011, the parish was merged with others in town to become (first Blessed then, eventually) St. John Paul II Parish. In 2014, he was assigned to Our Lady of Copacabana in Rio de Janiero to learn Portuguese and in 2017 was named as Pastor of Saint Mary of the Assumption Parish in Milford, MA. As part of the Jubilee of Mercy, Fr. Peter was appointed a Missionary of Mercy by Pope Francis. In December of 2107, Bishop Robert McManus named him diocesan liaison to the Cause for the Beatification and Canonization of Audrey Santo, who lived in Worcester and died there in 2007.
Amy Young has been married for almost 30 years and has three grown sons, the oldest is a Ranger in the Army, the second is a C.P.A, and the third is a senior at George Mason University with an ROTC scholarship. Amy experienced a deep reversion back to her Catholic faith in 2002 from an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the Mercy of Jesus Christ, through forgiveness for an abortion she had in 1984, that she had not truly previously repented. Since then, she is a daily communicant during the summer and a high school English teacher during the school year. Amy has a Master of Fine Arts Degree and a law degree from Catholic University and a Secondary Education Masters Certificate. She has been a teacher in the public school system for thirteen years.
Fr. John Melmer
Fr. John Melmer is a priest in the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia. He spent 12 years in seminary and has been an ordained priest for 29 years. He is the Assistant Spiritual Director for the Arlington Regia of the Legion of Mary and is very involved in the healing ministry for the Diocese of Arlington. He is a native of Virginia and has served in many parishes throughout the Diocese, most recently as Parochial Vicar at Our Lady of Lourdes in Crystal City, and currently, Parochial Vicar at St. John the Beloved in McLean, Virginia.
Verástegui was born in Xicoténcatl, Tamaulipas, Mexico. He was raised in a practicing Catholic Christian family. After finding success as a musical entertainer, and then as a soap opera star, he decided to pursue a career in Hollywood. In 2002, before filming commenced on Chasing Papi, Verástegui took voice-coaching lessons to improve his English pronunciation. The coach was a committed Catholic, and in the course of their conversations, Verástegui re-discovered his faith and resolved to change his lifestyle. He also declared that he had decided to turn down offers to play roles in films that conflicted with his Catholic beliefs. In an interview with Dave Hartline, the author of The Tide Is Turning Toward Catholicism and published by Catholic Report, he said he was committed to attend Mass daily, praying, reading the Bible, saying the rosary, and going to Confession at least once a week. He also said that he first encountered his renewed faith in Scott Hahn's book, Rome Sweet Home that "had a great impact on me and its influences can be seen in a lot of what I do".
Verástegui is a pro-life advocate, through the organization "Manto de Guadalupe". Verástegui recounts an anecdote about his beliefs: he was doing research for his role in Bella and had gone to an abortion clinic as part of that process. While there, he started talking to a Hispanic couple who were going to the clinic for an abortion. He says that recognizing him from his telenovela roles on Mexican television, they listened as he described his upcoming role and the plotline of "Bella". They reconsidered their decision and went home without going ahead with the abortion. Immediately after their child was born, they called him to tell him the good news and thanking him and asking for his permission to name the child Eduardo after him. He also made a point of meeting "little Eduardo" weeks later.
In 2008, he released a long video message denouncing the high rate of abortion in Hispanic communities in the United States and speaking out loudly about alleged targeting of the Hispanic communities with pro-choice messages by the Barack Obama campaign during the presidential race.
Actively involved in charities, he has established "Manto de Guadalupe" a pro-life organization with worldwide outreach and based in Los Angeles and offering a crisis pregnancy center for the underprivileged Latina women.
Missy Reilly Smith
Missy Reilly Smith is foundress and president of WAKE UP, which stands for Women Against the Killing & Exploitation of Unprotected Persons. In 1999, Missy Reilly Smith’s life changed forever because The Washington Times and "60 Minutes" produced shocking exposés about abortionists torturing unborn babies and selling their bodies whole or dissected. Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey held a congressional hearing and read the horrifying Washington Times article aloud. Trafficking babies or their body parts is illegal in the USA, Missy founded WAKE UP to stop it, and – as the Center of Medical Progress proved with their documentaries – abortionists still not only get away with mass murder, but they sell babies’ body parts to government agencies, universities, and commercial companies. Missy prays outside abortion facilities, she counsels mothers entering those places, she trains other counselors, she goes to the halls of Congress to meet with lawmakers pleading with them to secure the fundamental human right to life, and she works as a speaker. See more about Missy's mission on her secure websites WAKEUP.mom (https://wakeup.mom/) and AbortionInjured.com (https://abortioninjured.com/).
Fr. Andrew Fisher
Fr. Andrew Fisher was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Arlington in 1998. He has served as the Pastor of St Ambrose parish (Annandale) since 2010. Fr. Fisher has a MA in Church History and is a frequent speaker on topics in Church History and the lives of the saints. He has spoken at parishes, colleges, theology on tap, and seminaries. His talks have been broadcast on EWTN, Catholic Radio, the St Augustine Institute, and Light House CDs.
Benjamin Watson is an author, pro-life activist, former professional football player, father of seven children, and husband to Kirsten Watson. Watson graduated from the University of Georgia and played 16 seasons in the NFL for four teams: the New Orleans Saints, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, and New England Patriots. He won a Super Bowl with the Patriots in 2004. In 2015 and 2017, the NFL recognized Benjamin for his incredible philanthropic efforts by naming him a Walter Payton Man of the Year Finalist. Benjamin also received the prestigious 2017 Bart Starr Award. Waston is the author of two books: Under Our Skin: Getting Real About Race--And Getting Free From the Fears and Frustrations That Divide Us, and The New Dad’s Playbook. This year, Watson starred and executive produced his first movie entitled Divided Hearts of America.