Archives for Speakers

Aurora photo_13

EC2018 – Aurora Zacarias

In 2018 we are partnering with NPH New Zealand to bring Aurora Zacarias from Mexico to tell her incredible life story.

NPH (Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos) is a Catholic organisation which helps abandoned, orphaned and other vulnerable children throughout Latin America. Aurora is one of these children. She has now grown into a successful businesswoman and ambassador for NPH.

Aurora grew up in a very poor family in Mexico city. Tragedy struck when Aurora’s mother became sick and their family didn’t have the funds to help her.  When her mother died, Aurora’s father became depressed, addicted to alcohol, and then abandoned the children. In these cases many children end up begging on the streets, struggling to survive, often forced into gangs. Fortunately Aurora and her siblings were welcomed into NPH, an caring “family” started by Father William Wasson in 1954.


Aurora photo_14


Aurora looks forward to sharing her life story, giving you an insight into how our most vulnerable children survive adversity through faith in God, and a helping hand from generous people like Father Wasson.

Don’t miss out on hearing Aurora speak. She will speak at the convention on both Saturday the 7th and Sunday the 8th of April, as well as be our guest speaker at the fundraising dinner on the Saturday night.

Aurora photo_9

Aurora photo_1

Speakers List


EC2018 – Mother Mary Assumpta

Mother Mary Assumpta Long, O.P., is the Prioress General of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


She holds a S.T.L. in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, and has taught at the elementary, secondary and junior college levels.

Mother Assumpta is a former President of the Forum of Major Superiors and has served on the boards of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars and the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

In the early 1990’s she was invited by John Cardinal O’Connor to assist with the initial formation of the Sisters of Life in New York.

In 1997 she and three other Sisters founded the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist; in the intervening 20 years the Community has grown from four to over 130 Sisters with an average age of 30 years old.

The Community currently has Sisters teaching and serving as administrators in elementary and secondary schools in Michigan and seven other states across the country, and serving at the Pontifical North American College Seminary Library in Rome.

Speakers List


EC2018 – Sister Joseph Andrew

Sister Joseph Andrew Bogdanowicz, OP, is one of the four foundresses of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, MI. 


As the Community’s vocations director, she travels throughout the U.S. (and beyond) giving talks that employ Sacred Scripture, anthropology and psychology, guiding audiences to a greater understanding of the Divine Image in both male and female, and the authority God has entrusted to each. 

Sister has published in various Catholic journals and magazines as well as led retreats for high school and university students, parishes, religious priests and seminarians in the USA, Canada and Austria. She has appeared on television including EWTN, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and, more recently, NPR, CBS, and Fox & Friends to speak about the amazing success of the Community’s first CD, “Mater Eucharistiae.”

In November of 2014, a second CD was made — “The Rosary: Mysteries, Meditations, Music.”  A Christmas CD, “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” will be released in October of this year. 

Sister also served as general editor and an author of the Community’s “And Mary’s ‘Yes’ Continues,”  a much needed  and timely book about Religious Life in the Church today. 

In her Community’s 20 years of existence, it has grown from 4 to over 130 members, with women coming from 30+ states in the USA as well as from Canada and Australia. 

For more information about this Dominican Community, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, please go to

Speakers List


EC2018 – Aisha Te Kani


“My love of public speaking began when I was young when at the age of 12 I spoke for the first time in front of a school assembly sharing about my life. The uniqueness of my story is that I was born with a condition known as ectopia cordis – my heart being on the outside of my body. I am the only New Zealander with this condition. I use my story and different aspects of my personal experiences to encourage and inspire those I speak to. I have spoken at a range of events, conferences and gatherings both here in New Zealand and overseas”.


Aisha Te Kani has a heart so open that people are able to see it, literally!  Born with her heart outside of her body, she is a living miracle for those who consider her life to be “medically impossible”.   She is a passionate and inspirational speaker, whose voice comes at a time when it is often difficult for one to encounter encouragement and words of wisdomand hope to walk through the hardships that life throws at all of us.  Having faced some challenging times herself, she has a real determination to use her life story and experience to help others discover a sense of hope and purpose that will provoke strength and endurance.  


Speakers List


EC2018 – MDM Refuge

The Sunday of the Eucharistic Convention is the big feast day of Divine Mercy established in the Church by Pope St John Paul II on the 30 April 2000 when he canonised Sr. Faustina who had visions of Jesus with messages central to the Divine Mercy devotion now celebrated around the world.

While there are many promoters of this devotion, some of whom have had promotional tables at some of our conventions over the years, the leadership and members of the Mother of Divine Mercy Refuge are living examples of what the devotion is really all about.  Mother Susana Fiu and her community live the messages of Divine Mercy in such a way that kids not wanted by their families and dumped on their door step are nurtured, healed and restored back to life. Other kids are extracted from gang life, shown some love and encouraged to travel a new road of peace and stability they have never before known.  Yet others are rescued from violent home situations where all they have ever known are arguments, bashing’s, rapes and everything else that goes with the dark side of life.  MDM Refuge are the champions of Divine Mercy in our local community and as such are the champions of the Divine Mercy devotion at the Eucharistic Convention.

MDM Refuge Choir_1

Together with Father Tony Ricard and RabelztheMC, the community from MDM Refuge will have a central role at our 2018 Eucharistic Convention where they will celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday in a manner that will be aligned to the practical works of Mercy they carry out every day.  This will be something very special – not to be missed.

You are invited to view the following video recorded at our 2014 Eucharistic Convention. In it you will see four members of the Mother of Divine Mercy Refuge in Auckland give their very moving testimonies of how their lives were saved, and changed by their association with Mother Susana, as they call her, and their experience of a new life at the Refuge she established



Speakers List


EC2018 – Fr Tony Ricard

Fr Tony Ricard is returning to speak at our 2018 Eucharistic Convention.


Fr Tony wearing the beautiful cloak gifted to him by the late Joy Mendes
at a welcoming function for him at Te Unga Waka Marae in Auckland.  
Joy died a short time later – please say a prayer for the repose of her soul.

When he was here previously at our 2014 Eucharistic Convention Fr Tony fell in love with the members of the Mother of Divine Mercy Refuge and is so delighted we have asked him to return for our 25th anniversary event next April.  If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to experience Father Tony Ricard in action you are in for a real thrill if you are lucky enough to be present at our Eucharistic Convention over the weekend
Friday 6th to Sunday 8th April 2018.

Don’t miss our 2018 Eucharistic Convention – it will be something very special.

John Porteous.


‘click’ this link to find out


Speakers List



“My goal, my mission is to expose Jesus’ Divine Mercy to hip-hop culture,
to youth, and to the world before it’s too late”    RABELZTHEMC


Coming to the Eucharsitic Convention in Auckland, New Zealand
over the weekend 6th to 8th April 2018

RabelztheMC in conjunction with Father Tony Ricard and
the Mother of Divine Mercy Refuge community are planning
something beautiful for those lucky enough to be attending our
unique event next year.

The Spirit of God is moving through contemporary society
like you wouldn’t believe – RabelztheMC is an example of the
Grace of God that is being bestowed on young people who are
open enough to recognise what’s happening

Speakers List


Father Douglas Al-Bazi

Father Douglas Al-Bazi saw his church blown up in front of him before crazed jihadis knocked his teeth knocked out with a hammer, broke his nose and back and shot him in the leg.


The Christian population of Iraq has been decimated from two million in 2003 to less than 200,000 today.

Father Al-Bazi was captured and tortured for nine days by al-Qaeda on his way home from a Mass in Iraq in 2006.

He said: “They destroyed my car, they blew up my church on front of me. I got shot by AK-47 in my leg. The bullet is still in my leg. And I had been kidnapped for nine days.

“They smash my nose and my teeth by hammer. And they broke one of my back discs.”

Fatrher Al-Bazi was captured by Islamist militants in a planned raid as he made his way to a friend’s house after taking Mass in November 2006.


Two cars blocked off the road before gun-toting jihadis dragged him from his vehicle, threw him in the boot and sped off.

The fighters – who Father Al-Bazi says were wearing Iraqi government uniforms and had access to state police cars and ambulances – then began their campaign of torture as they attempted to secure a huge ransom payout from the church.

He revealed: “When I arrived they took me outside and I found myself on the ground with a lot of blood on my face. One of them hit me with his knee to my face and back and broke my nose. Then they took me inside and they brought chains and I spent nine days there in this way.

“My cell was a tiny toilet and my head had to rest in the sink. After the second day they used a hammer and they started to break my teeth. There was blood in my mouth and when I spat my teeth and blood came out. One of them told me ‘don’t be worried, you have a lot of teeth and we have all night’.

“They hit me in my shoulder and my back and they broke one of the discs in my back. At one point they said they were going to cut off my head and put the head of a dog in its place then send it to my relatives.

“Even now I never go to my bed without being sure there’s a bottle of water near my bed because they left me without water for days. They were a horrible nine days.”

Speakers List


Dr Inge Auerbacher

“I remember as a little girl waiting impatiently for my birthday to arrive. My childhood birthdays were always very happy and special. That is, until my eighth birthday. I was seven years old in 1942 when I was sent with my parents to a concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. My next three birthdays marked the years of a nightmare.”*


Dr. Auerbacher with her parents and grandparents

We had booked Dr Auerbacher to come to tell her story to attendees of or 2015 Eucharistic Convention.  An unfortunate accident meant she was unable to make the trip to New Zealand that year which was disappointing not only for us but also for Dr Auerbacher – she was devastated to say the least.

Bob and Freda Narev from Auckland came to our rescue that year as they told their story as Holocaust survivors; you could hear a pin drop in the auditorium during their presentation.

In 2010 Holocaust survivor Magda Brown shared her story with us – she brought listeners to tears.  I mentioned to Dr Auerbacher that with Magda and the Narev’s having told their stories perhaps having her talk to us as well might be a repetition of what she might have to share with us.   Dr Auerbacher made the point that all stories are personal and that in her opinion it is most important that all who are willing to speak about their experiences in Concentration Camps should be given the opportunity to do so before there are none left to tell the story.  I couldn’t agree with her more – so welcome aboard our 2017 Eucharistic Convention guest list Dr Auerbacher – we are so lucky that you are prepared to come half way around the world  to talk to us in little old New Zealand.

Here is how Dr Auerbacher responded to our invitation for her to join us in 2017:

“Dear John: Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your invitation. I feel so blessed. I would like to join you in 2017. The people you have selected to speak at your 2017 Eucharistic Convention are amazing, and I would be so honored to join them. It is a once in a lifetime group to celebrate the face of our ever-loving God on us.  Much love and blessings, Inge”

Dr. Auerbacher will be sharing her compelling story of her three childhood years spent in the Terezin concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. Her vivid memory recounts the story of her as a seven year old who witnessed life’s darkest, most horrific moments. Through dreadful diseases and mass starvation, Dr. Auerbacher amazingly maintains a wonderful, loving persona which instantly draws you into her friendship and vast “adopted” family.

Not letting her torment from childhood hold her back, Dr. Auerbacher has gone on “to being a chemist, world traveler, travel writer, and avid photographer. Inge is also a writer. More than fifty of her poems and numerous articles have been published.” (Auerbacher, 2006, p. 87, inside back cover)

While not wanting to tell you her whole story—since Dr. Auerbacher is the very best at that—we can encourage you to come to hear her present it herself. In 1981, she began traveling and lecturing about the events in her life in an effort to educate people about the Holocaust so history does not repeat itself and to convey her main message of “We shall never forget.”

Complete silence, listening to Dr. Auerbacher’s account of her childhood story is common no matter the audience.  Dr. Auerbacher has great rapport with children and loves to answer all their questions, while being sensitive to the fact that they are indeed children.

Common Questions

Many children asked her questions about what she had to eat while in the concentration camp. In her book, I Am A Star, she describes how they stood in long lines waiting for “coffee, a muddy-looking liquid, which always had a horrible taste. Lunch was a watery soup, a potato, and a small portion of turnips or so-called meat sauce; and dinner was soup. By the time the people reached the barrels from which the food was ladled out, they were so hungry and exhausted that they immediately gulped their portion down.”

Some children ask about her birthdays. In I Am Star, she gives account of her eighth, ninth, and tenth birthday gifts while in Terezin: “Birthdays presented a special challenge. One year, I received a potato cake the size of my palm, prepared from a mashed boiled potato with just a hint of sugar in it. Another year Marlene, my doll, was given a new outfit sewn from rags. On my tenth birthday my gift was a poem my mother had written especially for me.” Children walk back to their seats with looks of disbelief and hopefully a greater appreciation for what they have in their own lives.

It is truly a great learning experience to hear all that Dr. Auerbacher has overcome during her younger years. Her story is so compelling that “The Star on My Heart” theatrical play was written by Angela Milora-Hansen to depict Dr. Auerbacher’s life. After attending the play, Ohio Senator Kenny Yuko summed up Dr. Auerbacher’s life: “The Nazis tried to destroy Inge’s life, but they could not break her spirit.” (Facebook post by Senator Kenny Yuko, November 20, 2015).

We encourage you to come to hear Dr Auerbacher and meet her in person in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

John Porteous

Here is a recent interview with Dr Auerbacher that you might enjoy


Speakers List


Rosanne Romero

Rosanne Romero is the bestselling author of Amusing Grace, a collection of articles from her well-loved column in Kerygma Magazine, Kitchen Scribbles. In 2015, she launched Amusing Grace, A Second Helping which was nominated for Best Inspirational Book for the Cardinal Sin Book Awards in the same year.

A very active teenager who was into horseback riding and ballet, Rosanne started experiencing strange symptoms in her university days which no doctor then could diagnose.

It was only years later, in 1986 following the birth of her second child that her mysterious symptoms were given a diagnosis– Multiple Sclerosis, a debilitating degenerative disease of the brain and spinal column.

Currently living in Manila, she and her family spent a good chunk of their lives as missionaries in Jakarta, Indonesia from 1995-1998.

She is a sought-after speaker on the subject of Adversity, speaking from her own experiences of God not only in spite of, but mostly because of her illness.

She is a wife to Omy Romero, PhD, a management consultant, mother to two batty daughters, Rinka and Becca. The most recent addition to the hats she wears is “Lola” (grandma) and she wears it proudly.  She enjoys babysitting her only (for now, at least!) grandchild, Malaya who is four going on twenty-five.

Updated 17 January 2017

Thanks to Pope, oldest inmate in Women’s Correctional Prison in the Philippines gets freedom

Prayers do get answered.

In January 2015 Petra Lukingan, a 91-year-old inmate from the Baguio Women’s Correctional facility gained her freedom thanks in large part to the prayers of Pope Francis.

Thanks to Kara David, a reporter for GMA News who was on the flight when Pope Francis made his trip to the Philipines in January 2015, a rosary made by Petra was given to the Pope.

Strung together inside the Women’s Correctional facility, the beaded pink-and-white rosary was handed over to Pope Francis on the flight to Sri Lanka before heading to the Philipines..

It included the picture and a letter from 91-year-old Petra Lukingan, one of the oldest inmates in the prison. She wished the Pope to learn of her case.

Pope Francis unexpectedly responded to the reporter in English and thanked her for the gift.

The Pope prayed, the prisoner was released, what a happy ending.

Following are two videos – although the audio tracks aren’t in English the storyline is self evident.

This first video shows Pope Francis being given the rosary and the picture on the flight:

This second video shows Petra’s release from prison.

This week Rosanne Romero, who will be one of the guest speakers at our 2017 Eucharistic Convention, visited that same prison in the Phiippines to give a talk entitled “We are all Prisoners in the War of our Lives” One of Rosanne’s sponsors to bring her to New Zealand in April is Tina Cochrane who told me: “Rosanne was very brave to do a talk to these women, they are hard, tough and criminal women. She was astoundingly accepted and applauded by them all.”



Rosanne Romero giving her talk at the Baguio Women’s Correctional Prison.
Don’t miss hearing her talk when she comes to speak at our 2017 Eucharistic Convention
over the weekend 21 to 23 April 2017

John Porteous

Speakers List


“My goal, my mission is to expose Jesus’ Divine Mercy to hip-hop culture, to youth, and ...

Read More

Skip to toolbar