MEET THE STAFF
Executive Director & Co-Author of The One Best Thing
Kristen was raised in a Catholic family and had her first powerful, personal encounter with the Lord while attending a Christian summer camp in middle school. Her faith journey ultimately led her to graduate from Franciscan University with a Bachelors Degree in theology and anthropology, and a heart that was ready to share the Faith in the same way that had changed her own life; youth ministry. Kristen spent 16 years as a professional youth minister in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, 15 years of which had her focusing on middle schoolers and their families specifically. She enjoyed helping young people prepare for Confirmation, and also serving in Baptism prep, Marriage prep, and young family ministries. She continues to serve as a volunteer in youth ministry at her parish.
Kristen has been married to her husband, Greg, for 18 years, and together they are blessed to be raising 4 children. She enjoys traveling with her husband and kids, and the impromptu sing-alongs, dance parties, and never-ending piles of laundry that come with family life.
KATHERINE DEVET, PhD
Co-author of The One Best Thing & Content Collaborator
Dr. Katherine DeVet holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Child Development. She worked on two longitudinal studies of children at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health before changing paths and becoming a full-time homeschooling mother of three boys. Prioritizing volunteering in the parish and community, Kathy & her husband teach Natural Family Planning, coordinate marriage enrichment activities, and direct marriage preparation at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Ellicott City. Kathy has a particular devotion to the Blessed Mother, St. Joseph, and the Guardian Angels.
Family Prayer Project Coordinator
Becky grew up in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. She attended Catholic schools through grade school and high school but credits her parish youth group and Franciscan University’s summer youth conferences for setting her on the path of discipleship. As a teen, she discovered a love for praying with music and has led worship at retreats and liturgies for almost twenty years.
Becky graduated from Franciscan with a bachelor’s in Theology and Catechetics and has since worked and volunteered in various parish ministries as her vocation allows. After marrying her high school sweetheart, Trevor, the US Army took them to Germany and then Missouri, before moving back to the east coast. They and their four kids have come to love life in Catonsville as members of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and the Lamb of God School communities. They also love being outdoors together, spending as much time as they can camping, fishing, hiking, and traveling. Becky is excited to serve Ablaze Family Ministries as the Family Prayer Project Coordinator!
Maureen is a life-long Catholic who had her first profound encounter with Jesus in high school. From college campus ministry to parish life, working with youth ministry to engaged and married couples, young mom’s groups to college moms prayer groups, she continues to seek ways to enrich her faith in whatever season of life she finds herself. In her professional life she has worked in many administrative positions, and is delighted to be combining her professional life with her passion to share her faith at Ablaze Family Ministries.
Maureen has been married to her husband Joe for over 35 years. She is Mom to three and Gram to four, who all live in different parts of the country. As members of OLPH in Ellicott City, she and Joe are involved in many ministries there. In her free time you can find her reading, watching the Ravens and planning her next trip to see her grandchildren!
Producer & Collaborator
Javier is a worship leader at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, teaches technology electives at The Lamb of God School, has served on the board of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School, and is the founder of Numinous FM, a rising Catholic digital media company.
Together with his wife, Aneesa, Javier serves as a marriage mentor at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, and they work together as co-pilots in the beautiful train wreck that is raising a family in the 21st century.
Joe Schuberth has served in marketing and communications roles in Catholic schools for the majority of his professional career. He loves working for an institution with a mission that he can get behind and support whole-heartedly. Having had an encounter with Jesus during Eucharistic adoration while in high school, Joe is passionate about providing opportunities for others to experience the presence of God and grow in their faith. He is a husband and father of 6 children, and he coaches soccer and baseball in his spare time.
Catherine encountered the Lord on her confirmation retreat at age 13, igniting a passion for Catholic youth ministry and launching a pursuit of God's truth, beauty, and goodness. After being immersed in Ignatian spirituality at Loyola University Maryland and earning a master's degree in theology from the University of Notre Dame, she spent nearly a decade teaching religion and English to middle and high school students. She loves reading, writing, thinking, and teaching about the ways that Jesus comes to us through our senses and imaginations.
She is married to her college sweetheart Patrick and together they have three daughters.
MEET THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Founder & President of the Board
Michael is a devout Catholic, CEO, philanthropist, loving husband, father of five children, and grandfather to 14 grandchildren. After obtaining a degree in Business from Franciscan University of Steubenville, he pioneered a premiere homebuilding company with his wife for nearly four decades and raised their five children together. Although their company is still very active, an encounter with the Lord on a men's ACTS retreat lead Michael to embrace an additional calling.
That calling was to found two nonprofits - Ablaze Family Ministries and Mary's Home Maryland. When he's not at the office or in Board meetings, Michael enjoys praying the rosary with his small group, remaining active in the ACTS community and parish life, and fishing and kayaking with family.
MICHELLE (MIKI) HILL
Having spent a few years working in DC politics and marketing for Xerox after college, Miki was committed to becoming a full time wife, mother and evangelist when she married Tim Hill. Miki has served on many national boards and has worked directly with both the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops), as well as three Pontifical Councils in Rome advocating for the support and instruction of strong Catholic marriage and family principles. MIki has been involved in pro-life work since before abortion was legal and has spoken at conferences across the U.S. and in Ireland about evangelizing families. A member of the Catholic Women’s Forum though the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington DC, Miki has advocated for balanced Christ-centered women’s roles both in the Church as well as in the society. Pioneers of the Catholic Homeschooling movement, Miki and Tim raised 9 children and presently have 17 grandchildren. Deeply devoted to doing God’s work, Miki delusionally still thinks she is 35 years old and is always on the go!
Tom Lauer is a lifelong Catholic. He graduated from Loyola University in Maryland with a Masters in Finance and has worked in the corporate world for nearly 40 years, mostly in marketing and sales. Tom was always content to do the minimal Catholic requirement, go to mass, put something in the basket and receive the sacraments. However, 10 years ago at a Catholic Men’s Retreat, Tom was overcome with the love and mercy of Christ. That experience gave him a thirst to know more and more about his faith. He also felt the call of Christ to bring others into closer relationship with Jesus. Since that time, Tom has involved himself in numerous evangelizing efforts – including numerous ministries with his own church and involvement on the boards of ChristLife, Ablaze Family ministries and the Catholic Men’s Fellowship of Maryland. He is an avid Catholic and likes to call himself a missionary disciple for Christ who looks to share his story of redemption from the God of Love & Mercy.
Chad is a native of North Dakota, where he grew up on the family farm and deepened his roots in his faith and the Catholic Church. He graduated from Montana State University, in Bozeman, with a degree in Psychology, and in 1994 had every intention of going back home to take over the family business. But God had different plans for Chad and he found himself working in financial services, where he currently serves as leader and head of Vylla Home, a nationwide real estate brokerage. Chad is a cradle Catholic, and his faith grew as result of being part of a devout family who’s very involved in the church. His brother, Reed, is the Vice President of Student Development at the University of Mary, in Bismarck, ND, and his sister, Sarah, is the parish admin at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Hettinger, ND. Chad is on the Pastoral council at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Ellicott City, a confirmation prep small group leader and member of the Cornerstone men’s ministry. He also actively participates as a lector, Eucharistic minister and minister of hospitality at OLPH. Chad has been married to his high school sweetheart, Melissa, for 29 years, and they are the proud parents of 2 sons and grandparents of 2 beautiful granddaughters.
Rose is the Executive Director of the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors and has over 21 years of experience in the ministry of vocations for diocesan priesthood. Rosemary’s work in this ministry began in 2002 as the Vocation Program Coordinator for the Diocese of Rockville Centre, including overseeing seminary candidate admissions for 10 years. This led to her being hired as the Events Coordinator for the NCDVD in 2006, and subsequently their Executive Director in 2009, while continuing her work with Rockville Center. Since 2009, Rosemary has also served as a consultant to the USCCB committee for Clergy, Consecrated Life & Vocations. In addition to her work in vocations, in 2012 Rose was appointed by Timothy Cardinal Dolan to serve as Program Director for the Sacred Heart Institute for the ongoing formation of Clergy, part of the St. Charles Borromeo Tri-Diocesan Partnership. Rosemary is a member of the Board of Directors for the Foundation of Priestly Vocations. A graduate of St. John’s University with degrees in Business and Communications, Rose has been married to her husband Gary for over 37 years; they have four young adult children and 3 grandchildren. One of their sons is a priest for the Diocese of Rockville Centre.
MEET THE ADVISORY TEAM
FR. ERIK ARNOLD
Fr. Erik Arnold is a priest of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and pastor of St John the Evangelist Parish in Severna Park, MD. Fr Erik completed his theological studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University, earning an S.T.L. in Dogma. He was ordained in 1999 and has served in various parish assignments over the years. In addition to parish ministry, Fr Erik has been actively involved in the world of evangelization, serving with ChristLife as a teacher and speaker, and with Ablaze Family Ministries as a member of their Content Advisory Team. He is passionate about helping people to fall in love with Jesus Christ and recognizes the unique role that the family can play in fostering that relationship.
DR. XIMENA DEBROCK
Ximena DeBroeck, STL, PhD, is the Director of Pastoral Formation and Faculty at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, MD. Until recently, she served as the Director of Catechetical and Pastoral Formation at the Archdiocese of Baltimore, and prior to that as its Director of Divine Worship and Sacramental Formation. She previously served in the Archdiocese for Military Services.
Ximena is senior fellow at St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. Her publications include articles on Scripture interpretation and sacramental formation, the Study Guide for Sherry Weddell’s book Forming Intentional Disciples, online pastoral courses for the University of Notre Dame and the University of Dayton, and contributions to Give Us This Day. Additionally, she has co-authored Manual para proclamadores de la palabra 2022 (Workbook for Lectors, Gospel Readers, and Proclaimers of the Word). She presented a doctoral seminar on “Ritual and Remembrance” at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland and has been an invited speaker at various diocesan and parish events.
She earned her Theology MA with Scripture concentration from Saint Vincent Seminary, her License in Sacred Theology from St. Mary’s Seminary, and her doctorate in Systematic Theology from Duquesne University. Her teaching and research include Scripture, sacramental and liturgical theology, discipleship, evangelization and catechesis.
Dr. DeBroeck grew up in Ecuador, where much of her family still resides, and she is married with 4 adult children and 4 grandchildren. She is passionate about supporting families, accompanying people of all ages on their journey to discipleship, and is grateful for those who continue to walk with her on her own journey.
Content Advisory Team
Holly Novotny is a convert to the Catholic faith and a wife and mother. A Lifetime Marian Servant, Holly embraces a Rule of Life focused on holiness, obedience, and humble service. As a graduate of the Cenacle School of Spirituality, in affiliation with Franciscan University of Steubenville, she holds a Certificate of Spiritual Direction and accompanies others in their spiritual journey and through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. She returns regularly to the Cenacle for continuing education and as a mentor and facilitator for the School of Spirituality. The MARIAN SERVANTS® of the Redeemer was established in the Archdiocese of Baltimore as an affiliate community of THE MARIAN SERVANTS OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE®, a Public Association of the Christian Faithful, with the mission to guide God’s people to healing, freedom, and purpose in Christ. In addition to their leadership of the MARIAN SERVANTS®, Holly and her husband Adam serve in various ministries at their parish, including mentoring engaged couples as they prepare for marriage, and they currently serve together on the screening committee with the Vocations Office of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. The active pursuit of grace, virtue, and holiness is the Novotny family mission, and service to others is a foundational part of personal and family life. Holly has a passion for sharing about the power of the Lord’s transformative grace and His healing touch in her own life to help others accept the fire of God’s love in their own hearts
Aneesa and Javier Plumey, married since 2002, have worked in youth ministry, worship, digital media, and other forms of ministry since they met at their high school youth group in 1993. As an engaged couple and into their young marriage, they led a dynamic youth ministry to hundreds of middle schoolers, high schoolers, and young adults. Along the way they started one of the first Catholic podcasts and a Catholic t-shirt company.
Aneesa has worked behind the scenes at local ministries for the homeless for five years, has served on the board of a local Trail Life troop, and works at The Lamb of God School. They have two sons, Lucas and Alex, who consume massive amounts of their time, and who, along with their demanding dog Luna, are their universe.
Kristina Romero holds a Masters in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California and is currently earning a Certificate of Theology from the University of Notre Dame. She began her career as an actress on the CBS Soap Opera As The World Turns, earning two Daytime Emmy nominations, before then leaving Hollywood to starting her own digital web agency which she ran for 11 years. Currently, Kristina is juggling work-from-home as a digital growth consultant and writer while raising her four young children. Kristina is pleased to help contribute to Ablaze Family Ministry to help further Ablaze's mission of helping families encounter the love of God.
Maureen grew up in a Catholic family and remembers fondly going to mass on Sundays. “When I was young, I would observe families at mass and was struck by how beautiful it was to see everyone together in the presence of God.” When her own children were young, she was inspired to become a catechist and has served in that capacity for over 18 years. Most of that time was spent sharing a hands-on Montessori approach to faith formation called the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Her experience sharing CGS with families who practice a rich faith life at home opened her eyes to the importance of building up families in the faith. She believes everyone deserves to know Jesus, not just the child, but the entire family. Maureen earned a BS in Biology from Gonzaga University and eared her certification in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Level I (ages 3-6), Level II (ages 6-9) and Level III (ages 9-12) from the Center for Children and Theology in Washington, DC. She is currently the coordinator of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program and helps coordinate middle school youth ministry at Our Lady of Perpetual Help. She lives in Ellicott City with her husband of 27 years, Brady. They have three children and two grandchildren.
Co-Author of The One Best Thing & Content Advisory Team Member
Marianna Taylor is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, who is passionate about integrating the Catholic faith with therapy while helping clients achieve healing in their lives and relationships. She has gained training in Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) for work with children and adolescents with complex trauma, emotional/special needs, or relationship difficulties. Her work is not only informed by her training and experience, but also by her vocation as a wife and a mother to 5 children and her own conversion to the Catholic faith at the age of 16. Marianna is passionate about ministering to pre-teens and teens as she made the decision to become Catholic after encountering Jesus for the first time at a Steubenville retreat, which her friend had invited her to attend. Marianna received her M.A. from Florida State University in 2005 and also has a B.A. in Elementary Education from Flagler College. She joined the Alpha Omega Clinic in 2018. Marianna is also a Level 1 Catechesis of the Good Shepherd catechist.