Meet the Ablaze Family Ministries Team
Michael is a devout Catholic, CEO, philanthropist, and a loving husband and father of five children. He left his home state of North Dakota and graduated from Franciscan University with a Bachelors Degree in business. After pioneering the successful homebuilding company, Trinity Homes, with his wife for over three decades, Michael felt the Lord's calling to do more. In 2017, he began his work as a Catholic evangelist by opening the non-profit organization, Living Waters for Christ Inc., T/A Ablaze Family Ministries, which aims to strengthen families in their faith and help them encounter the love of God. This mission has been a passion project for Michael for many years, and he feels blessed to play a part in rebuilding God's Church with this inspired ministry and dedicated team.
Executive Director of Content
Kristen was raised in a Catholic family, but it wasn't until middle school when she really encountered the Lord. Her faith journey ultimately led her to graduate from Franciscan University with a Bachelors Degree in theology and anthropology, and she left with a heart that was ready to share the Faith in the same way that had changed her own life; youth ministry. Kristen served as a youth minister in the Archdiocese of Baltimore for 16 years, spending most of her time serving middle schoolers and their families, specifically. She left parish ministry to join our team as we seek to equip and empower families to evangelize their own kids in a fun, authentic and dynamic way, all while working alongside parish evangelists. Kristen has been married to her husband, Greg, for almost 15 years, and together they are blessed to be raising 4 children.
Dcn. Steve Sarnecki
Executive Director of Operations
Deacon Steve Sarnecki raised a family of seven (now, nearly grown!) children, after graduating college and marrying his high school sweetheart. For years, he coached multiple soccer and baseball teams, attended Mass regularly and served in his Parish and community, while also working as VP for a large software company. What he thought was just surviving was actually building his skills and charism for love and service. Deacon Steve’s life journey came together in May 2019, when he was ordained a Deacon for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, and his current Diaconal assignment is to St. Lawrence Martyr in Hanover.He is a degreed Chemical Engineer, with an MBA and a Masters in Management, as well as, a Masters in Theology, and he founded SALT (Mt 5:13) Ministries - a grassroots outreach to the hungry, homeless and lonely. Deacon Steve also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Franciscan Center of Baltimore. Working with the needy, so closely parallels my passion and "REAL work" as a father. Each always teaching me to "See Jesus in everyone we meet, and to BE Jesus anyone in need" ... especially with our families!
Abigail Pfau Tringali
Content Collaborator, Administrator
After graduating summa cum laude from Flagler College with a degree in psychology and criminology and a background in the arts, Abigail dove right into the Catholic nonprofits world, working for both Ablaze Family Ministries and Mary's Home Maryland Inc. As the youngest of five children, she was raised Catholic, but her relationship with the Lord wasn't strengthened until she reached high school. As an adoptee and an advocate for the differently-abled community, she is passionate about helping young people conquer their adversities, encounter the Lord in a personal way, and uncover just who He created them to be. Recently married, Abigail and her husband, Dominic look forward to growing in faith together and growing their family.
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 DeBroeck
Dr. Ximena DeBroeck, STL, PhD, is the Liason for Pastoral Associate Formation in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, and she is also an adjunct professor of Sacred Scripture at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary and senior fellow at the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. Her publications include online pastoral courses for the University of Notre Dame and the University of Dayton, the Study Guide for Sherry Weddell’s book Forming Intentional Disciples, and articles on Sacramental formation.
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. She is passionate about evangelization but is mindful that prior to being faithful ministers of the Gospel, first we must become faithful disciples. Furthermore, she affirms the family as the primary place where seeds of discipleship are planted.
Dr. Kathy DeVet
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.
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
Javier and Aneesa Plumey
Javier and Aneesa 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, for seven years 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. Together they serve as marriage mentors at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, and work together as co-pilots in the beautiful train wreck that is raising a family in the 21st century. 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. 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.
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.
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.
Susan Sarnecki is a cradle Catholic, wife, mother, friend and caregiver, who is passionate about her faith and her family. Having grown up, along with eight brothers and sisters, many cousins and friends, at OLPH in Ilchester, the Parish was a focal point and extension of all of them! Susan studied Graphic Arts, but her real job now is one that she’s always loved and wanted ... but never quite felt adequately prepared for - mom. With her husband, and the help of God, they have faced what so many families all face: joy, sorrow, stress, sports!, homework, heartbreak, cancer, calamity, crowded calendars, money woes, and yes, making time for prayer and the faith formation of their seven children. Ablaze is important to her, because it encompasses the reality of all our families these days in search of fulfilling relationships with God and each other - for ourselves and especially for our kids.