Meet Our Reflections' Contributors

Reflections Contributor Day 1: Fr. Maurice Emelu

Father Maurice Emelu, Ph.D., is the GVM reflections contributor for Day 1. He is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Orlu in Nigeria and the Founder of Gratia Vobis Ministries. Also, he is the director of the MS Digital Marketing & Communication Strategy graduate program and an assistant professor of communication (digital media) at the Tim Russert Department of Communication, John Carroll University, USA. In addition, Father Maurice is a theologian, media strategist, and author of seven books whose numerous other works appear on television networks such as EWTN. He is the host of the podcast An Encounter on Spotify. As he likes to describe himself; “I am an African priest passionately in love with Christ and his Church.” To learn more visit

Reflections Contributor Day 2: Fr. Christian Amah

My name is Fr. Christian Amah, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York. I was ordained in 2016 at St Patrick's Cathedral in New York City by his eminence Cardinal Dolan. I was born and raised in Nigeria. Currently, I am the administrator at the Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church, Croton on Hudson, New York. 

Reflections Contributor Alternate Days 3 and 17: Sean Calllahan

Sean Callaghan has a background in editing, education, and journalism. He graduated from Thomas Edison State University with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts, and currently works as a freelancer in content editing. Sean loves to discuss, read, and write on theological topics especially as they relate to the human person. When he’s not working, you can find him dancing the Lindy Hop, visiting with family/friends, or writing at his desk.

Reflections Contributor Day 4: John and Kathy Schultz

Kathy and John have been married for 38 years. We have four children, a son-in-law, a daughter-in-law and two adorable grandchildren. We are life-long Catholics, originally from the Northeast, now residing in North Carolina. We are both involved in a number of ministries in our local Raleigh parish.

Reflections Contributor Day 5: Fr. Justino Cornejo

Justino Cornejo Castillero was born in Panama City, Panama. After an early pursuit of law at the Universidad Nacional de Panama, he felt called to priesthood and began his formation at the Redemptoris Mater missionary Seminary of Newark, New Jersey in 1996. He was ordained as a priest in 2005 and served as a Parochial Vicar in St. Patrick’s Church before moving on to become a Spiritual Director at the Redemptoris Mater Seminary. Holding a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education, an M.A. in Theology, and a doctoral degree from Maryvale International Catholic Institute, he currently serves as a Spiritual Director, teaches various courses, and supports the Itinerant Team of Catechists in Connecticut.

Reflections Contributor Day 6: Fr. Venatius Oforka

Fr. Venatius Chukwudum Oforka is a moral theologian. He was born in Nigeria and ordained a priest for the Catholic Diocese of Orlu. He is presently working in St. Martins parish, Oberstadion in Rottenburg-Stuttgart Diocese, Germany. Among his publications are The Bleeding Continent: How Africa became Impoverished and why it Remains Poor and The Art of Spiritual Warfare: The Secrete Weapons Satan can’t Withstand.

Reflections Contributor Day 7: Connor Szurgot

Through his reversion to the Faith at the end of high school, Connor experienced first hand both the power of grace and the intellectual rigor of the Church’s teachings. He continued to grow his knowledge during his college studies at NC State, where he was also blessed to meet his future wife. He now lives in Raleigh, NC with his beautiful wife and young son, where he is a parishioner of St. Luke the Evangelist. He is excited to give to others some of the fruit that God has given to him and hopes that it can help those who read it grow in holiness.
Email: [email protected]

Reflections Contributor Day 8: Sr. Dr. Olisaemeka Rosemary Okwara, DDL

Rev. Sr. Dr. Olisaemeka Okwara is a Catholic nun of the Daughters of Divine Love Congregation. She is a Systematic theologian, a writer, and a researcher at Julius-Maximilians -Universität Würzburg, Germany. Email: [email protected]

Reflections Contributor Day 9: G. K. Zachary (Be Fruitful in Christ)

I am G. K. Zachary and I write, with my family, about our Catholic faith at We believe that the Lord is continually refining us, through the simple events of our daily lives, our trials and tribulations, our fleeting moments of happiness and long-suffering sorrows. It is in those moments that we learn just how present He is in our lives, guiding us, comforting us, softening our hardened hearts. Thus, we feel compelled to write about what God teaches us, through these ordinary life experiences, in the humble hope it might lead you, through your faith, into that extraordinary eternal life in Him. May your life bear fruit for the glory of His name. Amen. I can be reached at [email protected]

Reflections Contributor Day 10: Radhika Sharda, MD

Radhika Sharda is a practicing physician and a convert to the Catholic faith from a Hindu background. She has written a book of essays on literature, Savour, which may be found on Amazon. She lives in Raleigh, NC, with her three young boys.

Reflections Contributor Day 11: Fr. JohnBosco Obiako

Fr. JohnBosco Obiako is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Orlu, Nigeria. He is a doctoral student of Philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome - Italy, with a special interest in Philosophy and Ethics of technology. He also provides spiritual and pastoral services as Chaplain to African Anglophone Catholic Community in the Diocese of Prato, Italy. Email contact: [email protected]

Reflections Contributor Day 12: Jerry DeMelo Jr.

Mr Jerry DeMelo, Jr OP is a life-long Catholic and life professed Lay Dominican. A graduate of the Naval Academy, he served in the US Submarine Service. He is a retired Judicial Officer in California. Jerry enjoys Catholic Pilgrimages, teaches a weekly Bible study as well as the Diaconate formation program for the Diocese of Fresno. 

Reflections Contributor Day 13: Fr. Alex Igbozuruike

Fr Alexius. C. IGBOZURIKE, is a priest of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. He is a chaplain at our Lady of Lourdes’ Sanctuary in France. To contact him, Sanctuaire Notre Dame de Lourdes, Maison des Chapelains, 1 Avenue Mgr. Théas, 65108, Lourdes Cedex, France. Email : [email protected]

Reflections Contributor Day 14: Fr. Nnaemeka Paschal Ajuka

Fr. Nnaemeka Paschal Ajuka, PhD., BCC., ACPE Certified Educator Candidate, is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Umuahia, Nigeria. He is a Board-Certified Chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC) and National Association of Catholic Chaplains (NACC). Also, he is a retreat preacher who loves his faith. As a sociologist, he cherishes and operates from the vertical and horizontal relationships with God and neighbor. He takes Saint Francis of Assisi’s prayer for peace “Lord make me an Instrument of Peace,” as his ministry mission statement. As a care provider, he meets human needs without discrimination. Moreover, Fr. Nnaemeka has been actively involved in the pastoral ministry in parishes in Nigeria and in the US. Previously, he was an adjunct lecturer at Seat of Wisdom Major Seminary Umuahia and the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Nigeria. Currently, he is a Certified Educator Candidate with the Department of Chaplaincy Services and Education, University of California Health, Davis, Sacramento.

Reflections Contributor Day 15: Fr. Sylvanus Amaobi

Fr. Sylvanus Ifeanyi Amaobi is from Nkume in Imo State of Nigeria. He is the second Child of a family of seven, three males and four females to Mr. Sylvanus U. Amaobi and Late Mrs Veronica C. Amaobi. He is the Pastor of St. Cecilia Catholic Church, Claremore Oklahoma in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA. Email address: [email protected]. Phone number: Office, (918) 341-2343.

Reflections Contributor Day 16: Celina Manville

I have been in education for 20+ years, mostly working in Catholic schools serving children with special needs. Ed and I have been married over 26 years and have 3 (now) adult children - Eddie, Tony, & Kateri. Since my mom was from Brazil, and I speak fluent Portuguese, I can understand Spanish fairly well. Currently, we live in Wake Forest, North Carolina, and are parishioners at St. Luke, the Evangelist Catholic Church in Raleigh. I am most grateful to my parents for grounding me in the faith, to the Franciscan University of Steubenville for its amazing formation and education, and to Christ and His Blessed Mother for being at my side.

Reflections Contributor Day 17: Matthew Kelly

My name is Matthew Kelly (No I'm not from Australia), and I am an adopted sinful son of God. Born in Rochester, NY in 2000, all of my seven sisters and one brother and I were homeschooled until high school age, which made for a lot of book-reading and tree-climbing in the early days! I like playing sports with friends, reading, singing, eating, and all things baseball-related. I hope that I take this opportunity to write for Gratia Vobis Ministries in the way that God wants me to, and that my writings might facilitate communication between you readers, and God.

Reflections Contributor Day 18: Joanne Huestis-Dalrymple

Joanne Huestis-Dalrymple is a freelance writer residing in Wake Forest, NC. She is a wife and mother of eight, plus two in heaven. Joanne coaches the St. Thomas More Academy swim team and is a member of the school’s CrossFit team. Joanne has a devotion to our Blessed Mother and she enjoys reading, writing, gardening and going on adventures with her big family.

Reflections Contributor Day 19: D'Souza Family

The D’Souza family who go by the moniker, Unity Flame, consists of Patrick and Juliet and their three daughters, Naomi, Nicole, and Nadine. Patrick and Juliet spent their formative years in India and have been married 26 years. Being a missionary is at the heart of their family. Patrick and Juliet are members of the Regnum Christi movement, have homeschooled their children, and have been active members of their parish church and small Catholic community. Their daughters have been active participants as in the Challenge girls clubs, which emphasize formation, friendship with Christ, and virtue-driven leadership programs. Naomi and Nadine have each spent a “gap” year between high school and college as missionaries in the Philippines and Atlanta. Contact: [email protected]

Reflections Contributor Alternate Day 20: Tom Nash

Tom Nash is a Contributing Apologist and Speaker for Catholic Answers, and has served the Church professionally for more than 30 years. Tom is also a Contributing Blogger for the National Catholic Register and a Contributor for Catholic World Report. He formerly served as a Theology Advisor at EWTN and is the author of What Did Jesus Do?: The Biblical Roots of the Catholic Church (Incarnate Word Media), and The Biblical Roots of the Mass (Sophia Institute Press), and the forthcoming 20 Answers: The Rosary (Catholic Answers Press). Tom is also a Regular Member of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars.

Reflections Contributor Alternate Day 20: Cheryl J.

Cheryl J. grew up a cradle Catholic, had a powerful personal encounter with Christ, and a conversion at the age of 17. Two decades later, she had a deeper re-conversion—or perhaps she calls it a reversion—to the teachings of the Catholic Church. She immigrated to Canada as a young adult and lives in Ontario with her three children.

Reflections Contributor Day 21: Deborah van Kroonenburg

I am a Secular Carmelite, mother and grandmother, worked in the NHS for many years as a midwife and health visitor, and now work for my UK Diocese, in Marriage and Family Life and Catechesis, as well as helping my husband who is a Deacon in our parish.

Reflections Contributor Day 22: Lizzie Gildner

Hello, my name is Elizabeth Gildner. As a daughter of God, I have a strong devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. I was blessed during my years of college to attend Mass at an intimate church dedicated to the Sacred Heart. I hope to express my love for His Precious Heart in these reflections and enable you to encounter His Love through the Spirit. His Heart contains everything that we need to reach eternal salvation.

Reflections Contributor Day 23: Fr. Cyriacus Uzochukwu

Rev Fr Cyriacus Uzochukwu is a priest of the Catholic diocese of Orlu, a former editor of The Forum Newspaper of the diocese and currently the Our Lady of the Assumption and St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church, Tavistock, UK.  

Reflections Contributor Day 24: Nicole Buchholz

Nicole Buchholz has been a Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi since 2001. She has worked in the United States, Ireland, and the Philippines, and is currently living in Georgia. Throughout her consecrated life she has worked in schools, with youth groups, young adult Missions, retreats, camps, and family ministries.

Reflections Contributor Day 25: Fr. Luke Ijezie

Rev. Fr. Dr. Luke Emehiele Ijezie comes from Amucha in the Imo State of Nigeria. He is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Orlu, Nigeria, and ordained a priest on 24th September 1988. With a Licentiate and Doctorate in Sacred Scripture (SSL, Biblicum, Rome, 1995, STD, Gregorian University, Rome, 2005), he has since 2006 been a lecturer in Sacred Scripture and Biblical Languages at the Catholic Institute of West Africa (CIWA), Port Harcourt, Nigeria. In addition, he is the national secretary of the Catholic Biblical Association of Nigeria (CABAN) and executive member of the Association of African Theologians (ATA), a member of various professional associations, among which are the Catholic Biblical Association of America (CBA) and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL). Also, he is the author of numerous publications. Contact: Catholic Institute of West Africa (CIWA), Port Harcourt [email protected]

Reflections Contributor Day 26: Arlene Braganza

Arlene Braganza is a life-long Catholic who was born and raised in Bahrain and now resides in California. She has been married for over 35 years and has one married daughter living in Los Angeles and a son living in New York. She works as an Office Manager for a busy CPA firm (31 years and counting) and tries to make it to Daily Mass even during the stressful tax season.

Reflections Contributor Day 27: Fr. John Opara

Fr. John Opara is an associate pastor at St. Johannes Lette Coesfeld, Germany. He has a doctorate degree in Sacred Liturgy and is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Orlu in Nigeria. Email: [email protected].

Reflections Contributor Day 28: Erin Szurgot

Erin Szurgot is a wife and mother of a one year old baby boy. She lives with her family in Raleigh, NC and is a stay at home mom. She has a strong devotion to St. Therese of Liseux and St. Gerard Majella. In her free time she enjoys reading good books, going on long walks, and discussing theology and philosophy with her husband. She hopes her reflections will bring you closer to Our Lord and Our Lady!
Email: [email protected]

Reflections Contributor Day 29: Fr. Marcelo Javier Navarro Muñoz, IVE

Father Marcelo J. Navarro Muñoz, IVE is a professed member of the religious family of the Institute of the Incarnate Word. He was ordained in Argentina in 1994, and then worked as a missionary in Brasil, Guyana, Papua New Guinea, Brooklyn (NY), San Jose (CA), and currently resides at Fossanova Abbey in Italy. In 2020 he obtained his Ph.D. through Maryvale Institute and Liverpool Hope University in the UK. Besides philosophy and fundamental theology (his field of specialization) he has authored two books of religious poetry.

Reflections Contributor Day 30: Paul Verderber

Paul Verderber is a husband, father of two daughters, religious education teacher, fruit and vegetable ingredients salesman, and President of Gratia Vobis Ministries, Inc. He holds both Bachelors and Masters degrees in Chemical Engineering, as well as a Masters in Business. Paul lives outside of Raleigh, North Carolina. To contact Paul, email: [email protected] 

Reflections Contributor Day 31: Fr. Archie Tacay

I'm Padre Archie Macaroncio Tacay, CICM. I was born on April 19 and was raised in the Philippines. I entered the seminary formation of the Missionhurst-Missionaries or CICM Missionaries in 1995 and professed my religious vows in 2001. After completing my Theological studies at Maryhill School of Theology, I was sent to the US to continue my internship formation. While here in the US, I went to Oblate School of Theology, learned the Spanish language in Cuernavaca, Mexico and later on trained as a chaplain in MD Anderson Houston, Texas. Most of my assignments were in Texas, particularly in the Diocese of Brownsville and Archdiocese of San Antonio. I was ordained as a priest on May 20, 2008. My current assignment has me in Wendell, North Carolina, as Pastor of St. Eugene Church. I love outdoor sports! e.g. cycling, tennis. I also love to read books, play guitar and do nature trekking.

Previous Writer, Alternate Day 3: Tristan Evans

Tristan Evans is a husband, father of a daughter and two sons, past Director of Religious Education and Middle School Youth Minister. He is a Master Catechist for the diocese of Raleigh and currently serves as the Coordinator of African Ancestry Ministry and Evangelization for the diocese. He resides in Durham, North Carolina. 

Previous Writer, Day 5: Fr. Mike Moore

Fr. Michael Moore converted to the Catholic faith, being baptized as a freshman in college. He was ordained in the country of Slovakia, spent time in Russia, and now is pastor of St. Peter's Church in Lemoore, California. 

Previous Writer, Day 7: Fr. Tony Ohaekwusi

I am a Catholic Priest of Orlu Diocese, Nigeria. I earned my Ph.D. in Philosophy with a focus on "Religious Terrorism and Moral Blindness" from the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Poland, where I also obtained Master’s Degrees in Philosophy and in European Union Law. Moreover, I have broad experience and interest in Pastoral Administration, Scriptural Reflection, Spiritual Direction, Moral Philosophy, Critical Analysis and Editing, Youth Coordination, Strategic Studies, Multi-culturalism, Investigative Journalism, and Humanitarian Services.

Previous Writer, Day 9: Dr. David Cooper OP


Dr. David Cooper OP converted to Catholicism 16 years ago and became a life promised Lay Dominican 8 years ago. He is grateful for 50 years of marriage, two daughters and 5 grandchildren. He is a retired rehab doctor with a passion for medical missions, having served in Thailand, India, Cameroon and Honduras. His current mission field is in the Texas state prison system where he is active in the Kolbe Prison Ministries. He also mentors men who are in Lay Dominican formation.
[email protected]

Previous Writer, Day 17: Dr. Tina Facca-Miess

Dr. Tina Facca-Miess is a marketing professor in the Boler College of Business at John Carroll University, Cleveland, Ohio USA. With an extensive background in global industry as well as academics, she is active in the Catholic and Jesuit networks, working to bring online education and livelihood opportunities to the brightest of the poorest at the margins of society.

Previous Writer, Day 22: Brett and Taylor Akins

Brett and Taylor Akins both had reversions to the Catholic faith while in their early 20s. The two married in May of 2020 and live in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Their passion is teaching the youth about the lives of the Saints, and how we are all called to Sainthood. Brett and Taylor spend their free time hanging out with their huge Catholic family and volunteering as Confirmation teachers. You can email Brett and Taylor at [email protected].

Previous Writer Day 28: Sister Veronica Schueler, F.S.E.

Sister Veronica Schueler, F.S.E. is the Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon, where her responsibilities include oversight of the archives and general record-keeping, as well as mission outreach.  She is also the Episcopal Delegate for Religious Communities and for Catholic Health Care.  She earned a certificate in bioethics from the National Catholic Bioethics Center and is engaged in addressing bioethical issues for the Archdiocese. She graduated cum laude from the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School in 1993.  Admitted to the bars of several states, she has 15 years of experience practicing immigration law.  She is a member of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, a pontifical religious community with its Motherhouse in Connecticut and a local center in Bridal Veil, Oregon.

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