Home » 2023 Retreat » Past Conferences » 2010 National Conference » 2010 Plenary Speakers
Rev. Richard Tessmer Leadership Lecture
Individual Change and Promise
Rev. Jan Michael Joncas, S.L.D.
Fr. Jan Michael Joncas, S.L.D., a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, is most widely known as a composer of liturgical music. He currently serves as an Associate Professor at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN where he teaches courses in Catholic culture and liturgy. He holds a S.L.D. from the Pontificio Istituto Liturgico at the Collegio Sant’Anselmo in Rome. In addition to his teaching, Joncas has spoken and written extensively on spirituality, liturgy, culture, and justice. Joncas’s life story took an unexpected turn during Holy Week of 2003 when he was suddenly struck down by Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Coming close to death he spent months in the hospital and outpatient rehabilitation recovering the use of his arms and legs. Joncas said later that this experience opened his eyes to the experiences of the sick, as well as his dependence on God and others. After his recovery, Joncas experienced a new surge of musical creativity that gave birth to In the Sight of Angels, one of many liturgical music compositions.
The Rev. Richard Tessmer Leadership Lecture, sponsored by the Alexian Brothers Health System in Arlington Heights, IL, honors the memory of Dick Tessmer, longtime chaplain, supervisor, and pillar of the NACC.
Ecclesial Change and Promise
M. Shawn Copeland, Ph.D.
M. Shawn Copeland, Ph.D. is an associate professor in systematic theology at Boston College where her research interests converge around issues of theological and philosophical anthropology and political theology as well as African and African-derived religious and cultural experience and African American intellectual history. She holds a doctorate in theology from Boston College. Copeland is especially interested in Christian social praxis: how are we as Christians responding to the needs of our time? Copeland is the past convener of the Black Catholic Theological Symposium and former president of the Catholic Theological Society of America as well as receiving the Yves Congar Award for Excellence in Theology in 2000 from Barry University. The author of more than seventy articles and book chapters, recent publications include Enfleshing Freedom: Body, Race, and Being (2009); Uncommon Faithfulness: The Black Catholic Experience (editor, 2009); The Subversive Power of Love: The Vision of Henriette Delille (2009); and Feminist Theology in Different Contexts (edited with Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, 1996).
Professional Change and Promise
Ira Byock, M.D.
Ira Byock, M.D., is the chair of palliative medicine at Dartmouth Medical School; director of palliative medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center; and a professor in the departments of anesthesiology and community and family medicine. In 2008, the NACC awarded Dr. Byock the Outstanding Colleague Award, which recognizes a person or group outside the organization who supports the NACC and its field of ministry. Dr. Byock has been involved in hospice and palliative care since his residency in 1978, when he helped found a hospice home care program for the indigent population of Fresno, CA. He is a past president (1997) of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. From 1996 through 2006, he served as Director for Promoting Excellence in End-of-Life Care, a national grant program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He has been involved in hospice and palliative care for many years, and has written and lectured widely on these subjects. Among books he has written are Dying Well (1997) and The Four Things That Matter Most (2004).
Global Change and Promise
Sr. María Elena González, RSM
Sister María Elena González, RSM has a long and varied career from having been the first woman President of the Mexican American Cultural Center – a national Catholic center – to being one of the first women to be named as Diocesan Chancellor in Texas. She holds a master’s degree in theology from St. Mary’s University, TX. In November 2007, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) honored her with the Archbishop Patrick F. Flores Award Medal for Leadership in Hispanic Ministry. In her work González has considered herself an educator at heart, devoted to the empowerment of the poor and oppressed. Throughout the United States and abroad, González is known for her presentations on culture and its impact on power and communication. She served as a consultant to the Committee for Hispanic Affairs of the USCCB from 1994-2002; served as a member of the Bishops’ Sub-Committee for the National Encuentro 2000; and was named to the U.S. Census Bureau Race and Ethnicity Committee for the 2000 Census.
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