Archives for Speakers


Fr Paul Glynn, SM

Father Paul has been good enough to give of his time to come to our conventions on many occasions over the years.   In the early days he spoke about the work both his brother Tony, also a Marist priest, and himself were involved in reconciling the peoples of Japan and Australia following the terrible events that took place during the second world war.


Father Paul introduced us to Dame Jan Ruff O’Herne who was a sex slave for the Japanese during the war who told of the plight of her and other young women who were treated very harshly at that time.

Father Paul was not going to come this year because he wants to get another book he is writing finished but then changed his mind so that he could assist our event by hearing confessions over the weekend.  If you have not read any of Fr Paul’s books you are encouraged to do so – every cent made from the books help a charitable cause.  Here are some samples

HealingFireofChrist nagasaki Smile Ragpicker

Fr Paul has made a very generous gesture by deciding to join us again this year  for which we are most grateful.  Even though he has to come all the way from Australia to do this for us.

Here is the communication I received from Fr Paul about his change of mind:

Dear John, After reading Pope Francis’ document announcing the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which includes a section on the importance of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and also on the need of priest confessors to make the Sacrament encouraging and helpful to the penitent, I reversed my thinking on the Convention.I shall be happy to go with the job of making it possible for everyone to go to Confession. If I am of use in this capacity, and in any other way, I shall happily co-operate in anything you require. If I would be helpful,  let me know

We are indeed most grateful to Fr Paul – we look forward to having him with us once again at this years convention

John Porteous

Speakers List


Christine Bell

Christine Bell holds the vision to open a residential House of Welcome for men in New Zealand who are struggling in life whether from depression, anxiety, addiction or other presentation.

Christine has recently lived with communities in Italy who have successfully operated in this ministry and has witnessed first hand the miraculous transformation of these men as they follow the two-three year residential programme. She is working to open a similar community, St Philomena House, on a ‘farmlet’ in the wider Auckland area, prior to Christmas 2016. Christine is excited to share the progress to date and will present a 7 minute video that gives an inside view of life in a House of Welcome in Italy.


A house of welcome in Trento, Italy.  Christine is second row to the back.


The ‘boys’ and house leaders lunching alfresco, Trento, Italy.


The boys cater for weddings at the community house, Trento, Italy.  All dressed 
and ready to go!  Solid evidence of the transformations that occur in community.

This ministry is long overdue in New Zealand and well timed in this Year of Mercy.

Christine resides in Auckland and is the mother of adult children, a lawyer and gained a Masters in Theology from Franciscan University, Steubenville, USA.

Speakers List


Colleen & Michelle – FLI

Either Colleen, Michelle or both of them together will give us an update of how things are going with their work of saving the most venerable in our society; innocent babies.  This will take place after the opening Mass of the Friday evening of our convention and is always a highlight of the weekend.

Colleen Bayer is the National Director, Family Life International NZ

Colleen established Family Life International NZ in 1992. Inspired by the late Fr Paul Marx (the great Apostle of Life, she realised the need for a pro-life, pro-family organisation in New Zealand which addressed all the life issues from natural conception through to natural death, was unashamedly Catholic, and would open its arms wide to every pregnant mother facing a crisis pregnancy, as well as the sick, disabled and elderly who` may find  themselves a target for euthanasia-type practices.

Colleen has been married to her husband Terry for 40 years.  Together the have five children (four adopted, three of whom have special needs), and ten grandchildren.  For many years Colleen and Terry have fostered and provided respite for 27 children with various special needs, truly opening their hearts and their home to those who are most vulnerable in society today.  In the 20 years prior to establishing Family Life International, Colleen was actively involved in SPUC, Operation Rescue, and praying outside the abortion clinics.

Prior to his resignation, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI named Colleen a Dame in the Order of St Gregory the Great, an honour for her pro-life work with mothers and babies in New Zealand.

Colleen has her hand in every aspect of the organisation, directly working with the mothers that come into the John Paul II Centres for Life, as well as ensuring that the mission of Family Life International NZ is carried out faithfully

Michelle Kaufman is the Communications Director at FLI

The daughter of Colleen and Terry Bayer, Michelle has been immersed in the pro-life,  pro-family apostolate all of her life.  However, it was at the age of 14 that her real  passion to be actively involved took hold.  Michelle has been with Family Life  International NZ since its very first days and has experience working throughout the organisation.  With a primary teaching background, Michelle is passionate about educating on the various life issues and motivating people to action.  Her articles can be found on Family Life International NZ’s blog A Culture of Life as well as and NZ Catholic.

Michelle is married to Brendan, who manages Family Life Catholic Gifts.  Together, they have seven children.



Speakers List


Philip Hines

Philip, whose singing talent was made known to us during the year, is the son of Brian and Barbara Hines who are well known in many areas of lay involvement in the Catholic Church in the Auckland Diocese.

We are delighted to be able to welcome Philip onto our guest list this year and look forward to his contribution with eager anticipation.

John Porteous


Speakers List


Mark Gasparini

Mark is the the Senatus President of the Legion of Mary for New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga and Nuie. He has found his calling working within the Legion. He is very aware that all Catholics are called to be witnesses for the Lord. What better way to fulfil this mission but through the Mother of God, Mary. Mark plays the organ at St. Joseph’s Parish in Grey Lynn and helps with the Catechism programme at Holy Family Church in Te Atatu, and for fun he starts up Legion groups throughout the parishes in Auckland. Mark is married to Annemarie and they have two daughters.

At the convention this year Mark will talk about the value that he and other lay people who are involved in the work of the Legion of Mary get from their efforts.

Speakers List


Fr Andrew Matthew

Father Andrew is Parish Priest of Holy Family Parish in Te Atatu, Auckland City.  He is also spiritual director to the Senatus of the Legion of Mary.
Father Andrew will talk about the objective of the Legion of Mary, some topics may include:
The Legion of Mary Altar
Mary Mediatrix of all Graces
The Legion of Mary and St Patrick
St Louis Maria De Montfort – The True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin
What is Faith?
The Spirit of Generosity
Assumption of Mary
The Spiritual life of Mary after the Ascension of Jesus
Who is the Virgin Mary to You?
The Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord
Some thoughts about the Vexillium
The Angelus
What is a Spirit?
What is a Soul?
A Deeper Look at the Interior Spiritual Life
Duty of the President at the Legion Meeting
The Spirit of Home Visitation
The Work of the Officers of the Legion of Mary
The Tessera
Legion and the Priest
Pentecost Sunday 2011
What is a good Legionary?
The Most Holy Name of our Lord Jesus Christ
Legion of Mary Christmas
Nourished by the Eucharist
Mary Mother of Virtue
The Four Last Things: Death – Judgement – Heaven – Hell
The Legion of Mary and the Epiphany of the Lord
Sound the Trumpet
A serious question, often asked at the Legion of Mary meetings
The Object of the Legion of Mary
Thursday, 9 June 2011

The object of the Legion of Mary is the glory of God;

  • through the holiness of its members
  • developed by prayer and active co-operation,
  • under ecclesiastical guidance,
  • in Mary’s
  • and the Church’s work of crushing the head of the serpent,
  • and advancing the reign of Christ.
[Legion of Mary Handbook, Chapter 2, pg 11, Object]

Some questions to ask your Praesidium:

Is the glory of God a real “ever present aim” for all our members?

  • Are we one fire or has routine fallen upon us?
  • Do we often reflect that Jesus said; “I choose you, you did not choose me”?
  • Do we remember one of the 6 precepts of the Catholic Church is to be Apostolic?

Advancing the holiness of our members.

  • Does our Presidium have a real concern and friendship for each other?
  • Do we all go to Confession once a month as a Legion group?Do we hold regular Praesidium days in our Parish?
  • Di we ask for special Masses for our Praesidium?
  • Do we have religious talks or Praesidium study days for our members?
  • Do we go on retreat at least once a year with our Presidium members?
  • (Not just Motuti retreat)

Working with our Parish Priest

  • Do we inform our Parish Priest with summary of our work each week?
  • Do we invite the Priest to our prayer days or to give a talk to our Praesidium occasionally?
  • Do we ask the Priest to offer Mass for the Legions intentions each week?
  • Do we make sure the Parish Priest is invited to the Acies, Legion functions, and Legion Masses.

In Mary

  • Do we really have a loving relationship with Mary outside our Legion work?
  • Do we promote Mary under the title of our Presidium?
  • Do we have a shrine of Mary in our Church, do we take her flowers and make sure the shrine is clean and neat at all times?

In our 2 hours apostolic work each week

  • Do we actively and sincerely do our work realising it is important?
  • Do we prepare with prayer before we go to do our work?
  • Do we have a Praesidium Plan
    • Monthly plan for visitation, apostolic works?
    • Yearly plan for Parish visitations?
    • Do we keep a detailed list of the people we have met?
    • Do we revisit people whom we have met?

Is Christ more present in our parish because of our Legion Presence?

Is the Legion of Mary known in our Parish?

  • Do we have a Legion presence in the Parish Council?
  • Do you have a poster with contact names in the Church?
  • Do you have Legion information at the back of the Church?
  • Do we advertise once a month in the parish newsletter?

Do we try to gain younger members who are apostolic (active members)?

Do we try to gain older members who are good prayers (auxiliaries)?

Speakers List


Fr Linus Clovis

Fr. Linus F Clovis is a priest of the Archdiocese of Castries, St. Lucia in the West Indies.  He studied for the priesthood at the Angelicum in Rome and was ordained in 1983 by Saint Pope John Paul II. Fr. Clovis is a qualified teacher and holds a doctorate in Mathematics and degrees in Theology, Canon Law and Latin Literature.

He has served as dean of the Arts, Science and General Studies Faculty of the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College and for seven years was principal of St. Mary’s College, St. Lucia.  He has served as the archdiocesan spiritual director of the Legion of Mary in St. Lucia, through which he promotes devotion to Our Lady, especially that of the Rosary, the Perpetual Help novena, and the First Friday and First Saturday devotions.

Additionally, he has led outreaches to the neighbouring islands, and annual pilgrimages to Marian shrines in over fourteen different countries.

He is also the spiritual director of the Population Research Institute and Family Life International and a versatile speaker on pro-life issues, Scripture, Mariology and on Catholic teaching in general.  Not only has he many talks and homilies on CD to his credit but he has made literary contributions to newspapers and international magazines and has published a book entitled “A Biblical Search for the Church Christ Founded.”

In 2003, Fr. Clovis led the resistance to the St Lucia Government’s surreptitious legalization of abortion in his Catholic island and even refused Holy Communion to the head of state for having signed abortion into law.

Fr. Clovis is the eldest of five brothers who are all active in the pro-life apostolate.

Father Clovis is being sponsored by Family Life International, Auckland, for the Eucharistic Convention.

Speakers List


Jim Bertrand

Roger Gilbride who has been to many conventions and is now a Seminarian with the Priestly Confraternity of Saint Peter in Nebraska recommended Jim Bertrand as an idea guest speaker for our convention. Bishop Pat agrees and so Jim is on board for 2016.

This is very exciting because Jim will give us an insight into the Shroud of Turin which he has studied for many years. Here is the Bio he sent us.


Jim Bertrand has been a student of the Holy Shroud for some 30 years and at the most recent International Shroud Convention held in St. Louis (Oct. 2014) he became affiliated with the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA, headed by Dr. John Jackson, the world’s foremost expert on the Shroud of Turin.

Bishop Michael Sheridan, of the Diocese of Colorado Springs, decreed the formation of
the American Confraternity of the Holy Shroud in September of 2014. “As a presenter of the Shroud, my mission is to unite Truth with the human heart. People will see the most updated scientific evidence regarding the Shroud, and then they can make their own reasoned judgment regarding its authenticity.


Whether a relic or an icon, the Shroud is a sacramental, leading us to a deeper relationship with Jesus.”

Jim and his wife, Kristi, are in their 32nd year of marriage and have six children ages 15 – 30. He has a Master’s Degree in Education and has been teaching high school science for 35 years. In the past year he has given over 40 Shroud presentations to religious communities, schools, and parishes. He also directs his parish choir at St. Peter Parish in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA, and has been the Perpetual Adoration Director for the past 24 years. “There is a beautiful harmony between faith and reason. Accepting the fullness of the truth, requires us to use both our reason, and to step out in faith to understand the sacred mysteries which we cannot quantify, such as the Real Presence and the infinite love of God. Having the opportunity to share this information about the Shroud and my Catholic faith, is such a blessing.

People will see some things in the power point they have not seen before.”


Speakers List


Leah Libresco

Leah Libresco is a writer and school systems analyst based in Washington, D.C. A former atheist blogger and writer for the Huffington Post, Ms. Libresco stunned her readers in summer 2012 when she announced that she was converting to Catholicism. Raised in an atheist household on Long Island, she had graduated from Yale University in 2011 with a B.A. in political science.

Ms. Libresco now writes about her conversion and newfound Catholic faith in the Unequally Yoked blog at the Patheos Catholic portal. A frequent commentator on Catholic issues, she has appeared on CNN and other national media outlets to discuss her conversion from rationalist atheism to Catholicism. Her writing has also appeared in First Things magazine and the American Conservative. Her first book, Arriving at Amen: Seven Catholic Prayers that Even I Can Offer, was published by Ave Maria Press on May 11.

The great strength of her presentation is that Libresco manages to show how our philosophical and theological prejudices show up in our prayer life. Few considerations could be more profoundly Christian. What we think about the world matters, and it matters most intimately in our personal life with God. Whether she’s debunking her Kantian-Stoic prejudice against petitionary prayer or her fascination with rubrics about the treatment of the Eucharist, by offering her own scruples and perspective, she affords the rest of us avenues of growth. Libresco’s book abounds with priceless examples, which are as accessible and welcome as they are intimate and creative.
Arriving at Amen chronicles the bizarre crossroads of contemporary American Catholicism. Ours is now a Church inspired by the fruitful models of Catholic bloggers’ own little examens, prayed with the iBreviary app, and where allegiance to saints is chosen by online generators (there’s as much determinism there as in the holy cards traded by happen-stance on playgrounds of yore, I suppose). If the spiritual classicals of perennial value appear to you hindered by the dust of centuries past, fear not, because Libresco’s book opens ancient devotions like lectio divina, the divine office, and the rosary with insight pregnant for our times: “The joyful mysteries, which begin with Mary’s great ‘Amen,’ invite me to make a small one, at any scale, to receive the chance to better know the God who is Love at all scales.”
Perhaps the best of what Libresco offers is her insatiable energy and enthusiasm. She moves, unexhausted, from exercise to exercise. This greatest virtue of modernity directly combats the sloth to which we lovers of the one, true, and good are too often prone. Urging us onward to grapple with prayer, she notes, “If I wait to offer prayers only in moments of peace and confidence, I’ll lose the chance to invite God into all parts of my life, including the tumultuous moments when I need him most.” Libresco eloquently details the challenges of prayer, and captures–with strokes only the most talented expressionist could paint–the essence of the landscape of the spiritual life.



Speakers List


Roy Schoeman

At our Eucharistic Convention this year Roy Schoeman gave two presentations. This is the first of them where he talks about the Role of the Holocaust in Salvation History and the second he shared hir personal testimony with us.

Roy had a dramatic conversion from Judaism to the Catholic faith – he is what he says about himself:

My parents are German Jews who fled from the Nazi holocaust and settled here in the U.S.. I was born and raised in a middle class suburb of New York City. Growing up I was quite religious, but drifted away from religion when I went to college — first to M.I.T., where I absorbed the hip scientific “we know better than to believe in God” philosophy, and then to Harvard Business School, where I eventually joined the faculty.

Despite worldly success my life felt irrelevant, meaningless. When I suffered some reverses in both my professional and my personal lives, I hit bottom. It was at that point that the Lord gave me perhaps the greatest grace of my life. While walking on an empty beach, it seemed like I “fell” into Heaven. I directly felt God’s presence and His love. I knew that He existed, that from the first moment of my life He loved me and watched over me, and that everything, every event which happened in my life was exactly the best thing which could possibly happen. I knew that everything I did — for good or for bad — mattered and was weighed in the scales. I knew that we lived forever, and knew that Heaven existed. I knew about the angelic hierarchy. I knew that this was not the picture of God that I had from the Old Testament. I prayed to know the name of my Lord and Master, my God. I prayed “Let me know your name. I don’t mind if you are Buddha, and I have to become a Buddhist. I don’t mind if you are Apollo, and I have to become a Roman pagan. I don’t mind if you are Krishna, and I have to become a Hindu. As long as you are not Christ and I have to become a Christian!”

Roy has an interesting story – we invite you to enjoy watching these videos.

Speakers List

Rosanne Romero

Rosanne Romero is the bestselling author of Amusing Grace, a collection of articles from her well-lo ...

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Mariatu Kamara

We are so fortunate to have been able to encourage Mariatu to come half way around the world to shar ...

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Samuel Aigbe

  Unfortunately Samuel had to cancel his trip for personal reasons. We are most disappointed ab ...

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