2017 Conference Speakers

Fr. Wade Menezes, C.P.M.

Fr. Wade Menezes, C.P.M.

Fr. Wade L. J. Menezes, CPM is a member of the Fathers of Mercy, a missionary preaching Religious Congregation based in Auburn, Kentucky. Ordained a priest during the Great Jubilee Year 2000, he received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Catholic Thought from the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in Toronto, Canada and his dual Master of Arts and Master of Divinity Degrees in Theology from Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. His secular college degrees are in journalism and communications.


Fr. Wade is currently the Assistant General and has served as Director of Vocations and Director of Seminarians for the Fathers of Mercy. Fr. Wade has also served as the Chaplain-in-Residence at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Hanceville, Alabama. While at the Shrine, Fr. Wade was a daily Mass celebrant, homilist and confessor; he also gave spiritual conferences on specialized points of Catholic Christian doctrine to the many pilgrims who visit the Shrine. Both the Monastery and Shrine are affiliated with EWTN, the Eternal Word Television Network.

Fr. Wade has been a contributing writer for The National Catholic Register, Our Sunday Visitor, Catholic Twin Circle, Catholic Faith and Family, The Wanderer, Pastoral Life, The Catholic Faith, Lay Witness and Christian Ranchman publications. Several homiletic series of his have appeared in Homiletic and Pastoral Review, an international journal for Priests. Fr. Wade has also been a guest on various episodes of EWTN’s “Mother Angelica Live” and “Life on the Rock” programs during which he discussed such topics as the sanctification of marriage and family life, vocations and the Sacred Liturgy. He has also hosted several televised series for EWTN, which have covered such topics as the necessity of the spiritual life, the Four Last Things, the Ten Commandments of Catholic Family Life, and the Gospel of Life vs. the Culture of Death. He is also host of the EWTN segment series "The Crux of the Matter" and "The Wonders of His Mercy". His many theological and doctrinal presentations have been featured on EWTN Radio, Ave Maria Radio, Guadalupe Radio Network, Covenant Network Radio, Catholic Broadcasting Northwest, and Voice of Virtue International.




Fr. Chris Alar, MIC

"Father Joseph" - Director of the Association of Marian Helpers Stockbridge, Massachusetts Father Chris entered the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, the religious community entrusted with spreading the message and devotion of Divine Mercy, as a postulant in July, 2006. Prior to that, he received a BS in industrial engineering and an MBA from the University of Michigan. After working several years at a Fortune 500 company, he began his own consulting company in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2000. After answering the Lord's call, he attended Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, for his philosophy studies and earned his Masters of Divinity from Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. Over the past several years he has been mentored by the world's leading experts in Divine Mercy, and he has spoken at over 100 parishes to date. Currently he lives and works on Eden Hill in Stockbridge, Mass., home of the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, where he serves as "Fr. Joseph, MIC,"the director of the Association of Marian Helpers.




Fr. Chris Alar, MIC

Raymond Arroyo

Raymond Arroyo is an internationally known, award-winning journalist, producer, and New York Times Bestselling author. As founding News Director, Managing Editor and Lead Anchor for EWTN News, he is seen in more than 350 million homes on six continents each week and heard on more than 500 AM/FM affiliates and a stand alone Sirius channel throughout the US. Mr. Arroyo established EWTN News and The World Over Live in 1996, which he hosts from Washington DC each week.

Known for his penetrating interviews, Mr. Arroyo has interrogated the leading figures of the day. Highlights include: The first exclusive, sit down interview with Mel Gibson about his film, “The Passion of the Christ”; Mother Teresa of Calcutta; Placido Domingo; Presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump, a groundbreaking interview with comic legend, Jerry Lewis, and the first and only English interview with Pope Benedict XVI.

Mr. Arroyo has anchored coverage of more live papal events than anyone in the industry-- including the passing of Pope John Paul the Second, as well as the election and major international travels of Pope Benedict. During the Conclave of 2013, Arroyo served as a CNN Contributor and was part of the team that covered Pope Francis’ first appearance, live.

Before coming to EWTN, Mr. Arroyo worked for the Associated Press, The New York Observer and the political columnist team of Evans and Novak.

Mr. Arroyo is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts where he studied with some of the finest acting instructors in the world, among them: Stella Adler, Bobby Lewis, Uta Hagen, and Beatrice Straight. He has acted and directed in New York and London.

In addition to his work at EWTN, Mr. Arroyo has appeared on The Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN Headline News, Access Hollywood, The O’Reilly Factor, Erin Burnett Outfront, and the Laura Ingraham Show. His work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, Newsweek, Time Magazine, The New Yorker, and elsewhere.

Mr. Arroyo is producer and host of the PBS musical special, “Christmastime in New Orleans” featuring Wendell Pierce, Jim Caviezel and the city’s great chefs. He is also producer of the bestselling, all star, audio bibles, “The Word of Promise” (Thomas Nelson) and “The Truth and Life Audio Bible” (Zondervan) as well as a Billboard Chart topping PBS Christmas special and CD “The Birth of Christ” hosted by Liam Neeson (Sony Classics). Five of his adult books, including his biography of Mother Angelica, were all New York Times Bestsellers. His new Will Wilder series for young readers is a multi-book collection. “Will Wilder: The Lost Staff of Wonders” (Random House) published in March of 2017. In 2015, Mr. Arroyo founded Storyented.com, a literacy initiative to inspire reading by connecting the world’s great authors and their readers.

He resides in Northern Virginia with his wife Rebecca and their three children.




Tom Peterson

Al Kresta

Al Kresta is a broadcaster, journalist and author who is, first of all, a missionary.  He is President and CEO of Ave Maria Radio and host of “Kresta in the Afternoon.”  He draws upon his unique faith background to create what is, arguably, the most fascinating — and most spiritually constructive — talk radio program on the radio today.

A 1976 honors graduate of Michigan State University, Al has also done graduate work in theology at both Catholic and Protestant seminaries.  He became well known in the Detroit area for his program, “Talk from the Heart,” one of the top-rated Christian talk radio programs during the 1980s and 90s.  When he began the program, Al was a Protestant pastor.  The questions forced upon him as pastor, however, led him to return to the Catholic Church. His profound personal conversion to Christ and return to the Catholic Church is told in the best-selling anthology Surprised By Truth.

In 1997, Domino’s Pizza founder Tom Monaghan recruited Al to launch the media apostolate, Ave Maria Communications.

Over the years Ave Maria Communications has included:

  1. Credo, which became Michigan’s largest religious publication and the recipient of 18 merit awards from the Catholic Press Association;
  2. Ave Maria Radio which produces a number of its own programs and features including Catholic Connection with Teresa Tomeo; The Doctor is In with Dr. Ray Guarendi and Coleen Kelly Mast; More2Life with Greg and Lisa Popcak; Food for the Journey with Sr. Ann Shields, as well as Kresta in the Afternoon and many others.
  3. The local radio stations 990 AM WDEO (Detroit and Ann Arbor) and 1440 AM WMAX (Saginaw, Bay City and Midland).

Heard on more than 350 stations and Sirius Satellite, Kresta in the Afternoon looks at all areas of life through the lens of Scripture and the teaching of the Catholic Church and takes on all comers.  Over the years, Al has engaged in vigorous discussions or debates with nationally known figures from politics, the arts, the Church, academia and business such as Mother Angelica, Jesse Jackson, John McCain, Gloria Steinem, Cuba Gooding Jr., Scott Hahn, Rick Santorum, Judge Robert Bork, Jerry Falwell, Pat Buchanan, Mrs. Anwar Sadat, Martin Luther King III, Jack Kevorkian, John Cardinal O’Connor, Chuck Colson, Archbishop Charles Chaput, George McGovern, C. Everett Koop, Francis Cardinal George, Dennis Quaid, George Will, Tim Russert, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Garrison Keillor, Dion DiMucci, Colin Raye and many more.

Kresta’s life and spiritual journey took on a new dimension in February 2003, when he lost his left leg to necrotizing fasciitis, a virulent infection often referred to as the “flesh-eating bacteria.”  His extended recovery and eventual return to broadcasting have given him new insights into the realities of suffering and hope.

He is the author of Dangers to the Faith: Recognizing Catholicism’s 21st Century Opponents, Moments of Grace: Inspiring Stories From Well-Known Catholics, Why Are Catholics So Concerned about Sin?: More Answers to Puzzling Questions about the Catholic Church, and Why Do Catholics Genuflect? And Answers to Other Puzzling Questions About the Catholic Faith, published by Servant Books.

Al and his wife, Sally, have been married for 30 years and have been blessed with 5 children on earth and two in heaven.




Fr. Chris Alar, MIC

Fr. Dwight Longenecker

Fr. Longenecker was brought up in an Evangelical home in Pennsylvania. After graduating from Bob Jones University here in Greenville with a degree in Speech and English, he went to study theology at Oxford University. He was eventually ordained as an Anglican priest and served as a curate, a school chaplain in Cambridge and a country parson on the Isle of Wight.

Realizing that he and the Anglican Church were on divergent paths, in 1995 Fr. Dwight and his family were received into the Catholic Church. To read Fr. Longenecker’s conversion story or to listen to the audio version connect to the archived articles section of his blog.

Fr. Dwight spent the next ten years working as a freelance Catholic writer, contributing to over twenty-five magazines, papers and journals in Britain, Ireland and the USA. He has also written fifteen books and booklets on the Catholic faith. Fr. Longenecker and his family on the day of his ordination at St. Mary’s Church in Greenville.

In 2006 Fr. Dwight accepted a post as Chaplain to St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Greenville, South Carolina. This brought him and his family back, not only to his hometown, but also to the American Bible belt, and hometown of Bob Jones University.

At St. Mary’s Church in Greenville in December 2006 he was ordained as a Catholic priest under the special pastoral provision for married former Anglican clergy. He now serves as pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary parish.

Fr. Dwight enjoys movies, blogging, books, riding his motorcycle and visiting Benedictine monasteries. He’s married to Alison. They have four children, named Benedict, Madeleine, Theodore and Elias. They live in Greenville, South Carolina with a black Labrador named Anna, a chocolate Lab named Felicity, a cat named James and various other pets.

Fr. Longenecker is a well-known Catholic blogger. Visit his blog which is called Standing on My Head.

Website: Dwightlongenecker.com

Blog: Standing on My Head