John L. Allen Jr. is the prize-winning Senior Correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter and the Senior Vatican Analyst for CNN. He's the author of five best-selling books on the Vatican and Catholic affairs, and writes frequently on the Church for major national and international publications. He's also a popular speaker on Catholic affairs, both in the United States and abroad.
When the Vatican spokesperson called upon Allen to put the first question to Pope Benedict XVI during a press conference aboard the papal plane en route to the United States in April 2008, the spokesperson said to the pope: "Holy Father, this man needs no introduction." That's not just a Vatican judgment. Veteran religion writer Kenneth Woodward of Newsweek described Allen as "the journalist other reporters – and not a few cardinals – look to for the inside story on how all the pope's men direct the world's largest church."
Allen's work is admired across ideological divides. Liberal commentator Fr. Andrew Greeley calls his writing "indispensable," while the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, a conservative, called Allen's reporting "possibly the best source of information on the Vatican published in the United States."
Allen's current project is "The Future Church: How Ten Trends are Revolutionizing the Catholic Church," a survey of the most important currents shaping the future of Catholicism. John divides his time between Rome and his home in Denver, Colorado.
Sr. Kathleen Erickson, RSM, has a background in education and administration, and spent the last 18 years at the US/MX border, plus travel and Spanish study in Latin America. She is co-founder and former director of the Women's Intercultural Center in Anthony, NM, a place for immigrant women. She is trained in Spiritual Direction and an avid learner about evolutionary spirituality.
For over two years she provided spiritual counseling to undocumented women in Federal Detention in El Paso, Texas, and is an advocate for immigrant rights. She is a former member of the Board of Directors and Task Force of Border Network for Human Rights, and participated in several sessions of the Border Institute for Religious Leaders in El Paso.
She recently moved to Omaha, Nebraska, where she is part of the Sisters of Mercy Justice Team for the West-Midwest Regional Community. She remains connected with immigration work at local and national levels.
Kathleen is committed to raising awareness by speaking about immigration issues and spirituality.
Father Larry Gillick, SJ was born in Milwaukee and attended Marquette Jesuit High and St. Norbert College before entering the Society of Jesus in 1960. He received his bachelor's degree from St. Louis University in 1966. He taught at Campion Jesuit High in Wisconsin for the next three years. He was ordained in June 1972 after completing his theology studies at Regis College in Toronto. For the next seven years, he was on the staff of the seminary in Toronto as a Spiritual Director for the younger Jesuits.
He was sent to Omaha in 1979 as Spiritual Director for the young Jesuits in formation who were studying at Creighton University and living at Campion House in Omaha. In 1984, he assumed the office of Rector of the Jesuit Community at Creighton Prep in Omaha. He served in this capacity until the fall of 1991, when he was assigned to be the Director of the Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality at Creighton University. He continues to serve as Director of the Deglman Center.
Father Gillick gives spiritual direction to students, faculty and alumni at Creighton University, as well as, directs retreats and days of reflection around the country.