Donations for 2018 can be made online until 11:59 p.m. Central time, December 31st.

Meet our preachers

Rev. John Anglin, O.F.M.

Speaks: English/Spanish

Throughout most of his 45 years as a priest, Father Anglin has worked with the poor and marginalized. He has served as a high school religion teacher in Boston and in churches in New York City, Buffalo and New Jersey. He spent three years as a missionary in Bolivia where he worked in a rural parish in the Andes that included outreach to nearby poor villages. He witnessed extraordinary faith, a desire to work hard, a commitment to family and a sense of community. Currently working with the Franciscan Ministry of the Word, he preaches at missions and retreats. Through his blog, The Wandering Friar, he chronicles his travels, reflects on current events, and speaks about the poor by challenging his readers with the question, "Have you ever walked in their shoes?"

Sponsoring a 10-year-old boy from Peru, I have his picture on my desk and pray for him daily. This forming of a relationship with one person is what makes Unbound unique. One doesn't just mail in a check but forms a lasting relationship. — Father Anglin

Rev. Jerry Beat

Speaks: English/Spanish

As a priest of the Diocese of Wichita, Father Beat has not only worked as a pastor of various parishes but also has served as chaplain and minister of pastoral care in hospitals, ecumenical outreach, prisons, Hispanic and Cursillo ministries. Spending 12 years as a missionary in Venezuela, he learned the Spanish language and Latin culture, which expanded his priestly life, ministry and vision of the universal Church. He believes that seeing Unbound’s work in Venezuela and Guatemala enriched his life, and that the benefits are great for the sponsors and the sponsored friends. Father Beat also served on the governing board for Unbound, contributing his knowledge, experience and spiritual leadership.

Getting families sponsored through Unbound means that we help to unbind the chains of poverty, oppression and isolation, and free them up to become the children God wants them to be. — Father Beat

Rev. Bob Beirne

Speaks: English/Spanish

As a priest of the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island, Father Beirne served as a pastor and as a chaplain of a hospital, prison and college. He served three years as national chaplain of the Young Christian Workers in Baltimore, Maryland. Spending five years in Chile, Father Beirne worked with Mary Knoll as a missionary priest in San Alberto Parish in Santiago and Nuestra Senora de Fatima Parish in Talca. He established four Area Latino Ecclesial Communities in the Diocese of Providence. Now retired, he helps other priests on weekends, ministers to those in prison and in the Amos House Soup Kitchen, and travels to Chile to work in parish ministry. Father Beirne enjoys hiking, piano, reading and classical music.

Born into a family of textile workers, I’ve always sensed my option for the poor and the voiceless. I try not to speak for them but to help them have a voice, so that others can see the riches of working people and the poor. — Father Beirne

Rev. Bob Bonnot

Speaks: English

As a priest of the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio, Father Bonnot served as an associate pastor, senior pastor, high school teacher and as diocesan director of communication services. He also directed satellite communication efforts for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Interfaith efforts, and served as a chaplain for the Army National Guard in Ohio, New York and Maryland. His faith journey was strengthened through seeing the world. He visited a fellow Youngstown priest in El Salvador, traveled to Maryknoll Missions in Panama, Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Brazil and worked alongside the bishop of Ngong, Kenya. Now retired, he remains involved in the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests (AUSCP). Father Bonnot enjoys reading, writing, golf, and travel in his R.V. He sees Unbound as a way to express his Christian concern for the human race while reaching out to the margins with his talent, treasure and person.

Working with Unbound will make real my desire to do work with the poor in a global dimension. — Father Bonnot

Rev. Patrick Dolan

Speaks: English

Father Pat Dolan is a native of Ireland, ordained in 1971 for the Diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri. He has served at several parishes as a parochial vicar and pastor and has also been a high school teacher and spiritual director. One of Father Dolan’s greatest experiences as a priest was the 11 years he spent as a missionary in Peru. Currently he is the pastor of the Shrine of St. Patrick in Laurie, Missouri.

I have a great admiration for the work of Unbound. Its approach and style of outreach appeal to people and is truly the work of Christ’s church. — Father Dolan

Rev. Gerald Flater, O.M.I.

Speaks: English

Father Gerald Flater is a priest of the United States Province of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. He was ordained in 1957 and then received his licentiate in sacred theology from Catholic University a year later. During his years as a priest, Father Flater has worked as a chaplain and pastor. He lives in the Boston area and currently serves as a mission speaker for his community, in addition to his preaching for Unbound.

As missionaries in today's world, Oblates are called to involve themselves more fully in promoting the mission of the laity in the Church and in the world. What better reason for preaching for (Unbound)? — Father Flater

Rev. Jerry Frank

Speaks: English/Spanish

Father Jerry Frank worked as teacher and coach in Quito, Ecuador as well as with migrant farm workers in Rengville County, Minnesota. Ordained in the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas, he founded Esperanza Home for Boys, served as campus minister and taught biblical studies at Pan American University, was the director of the diocesan lay ministries and Deacon programs for many years and served as pastor of four parishes in the Brownsville Diocese. He has been involved in community outreach efforts related to just wages, housing for the poor, job training, and health care and prison ministry.

Preaching on behalf of Unbound fits into my life trajectory. I want my life to be a gift to the poor and downtrodden. My entire life has been a commitment to the poor: act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with God. — Father Frank

Rev. Cyrus Gallagher, OFM Cap.

Speaks: English/Spanish

Father Cyrus Gallagher is a Capuchin Franciscan friar living in Colorado. He has served as a high school teacher, diocesan director of marriage and family life, retreat master, vocation director and the director of religious formation for his Capuchin community. Spending time in the Capuchin mission in Papua New Guinea, Father Gallagher taught English as a second language. In addition to his preaching for Unbound, he currently serves as confessor in the Catholic chapel at the Citadel Mall in Colorado Springs.

The personal relationship Jesus offers to people is made present by Unbound’s invitation of personal relationship to individual children, youth and elders. I am honored to offer this to people in our parishes. — Father Gallagher

Rev. John Gillespie

Speaks: English

As a priest of the Diocese of Raleigh, Father John Gillespie served as pastor in diverse parishes from the Basilica to rural, from campus ministry to military parish, from affluent to poor. Father Gillespie focuses on making the Gospel meaningful with a spiritual reflection. Spending three months in rural Mexico, he was exposed to Spanish and people living on the edge (impoverished, poverty). Now as a retired diocesan priest, he helps other priests in weekend parish support. He enjoys exercising at the YMCA, reading spiritual theology and watching DVD’s by teachers on prayer and meditation.

Working with Unbound means being in personal friendship with those suffering in poverty and who are drawing me closer to Christ and being a voice for those who cannot tell their (his/her) story. — Father Gillespie

Rev. Joseph Gosselin, M.S.

Speaks: English

Father Joseph Gosselin, a Missionary of Our Lady of La Salette, served as missionary working with the poor and seminarians in the Philippines, did research in France, and led groups of people for workshops in Mexico at the Cuernavaca Center for Intercultural Dialogue & Development. He believes his missionary experiences in the Philippines and Haiti help him explain poverty with greater clarity and feeling to American congregations. Father Gosselin served as pastor in Ontario, New Hampshire and Louisiana and continues to work part of each year in Haiti. It is out of deep respect for their dignity that, humbled but privileged, he dares to be the voice of the voiceless.

I speak of how Unbound works on two levels … doing charity and doing peace and justice … both approaches unbind people. Charity [unbinds] by giving individuals and their families the wherewithal to be unbound from chains of hunger, thirst, sickness, lack of education. Justice [unbinds] by empowering groups of women to find strength in working together to transform their society, surroundings and neighborhoods. Unbound uses both head and heart for the ‘Kin-dom’ of Christ. — Father Gosselin

Rev. John Graden, O.S.F.S.

Speaks: English

Father John Graden, an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales, served as a high school teacher and vocation director. For nearly three decades, he has provided adult spiritual formation and preaching missions throughout the United States with his singing and story-telling. As the Director of Embraced by God at DeSales Resources outside Niagara Falls, he authored Letting Go, Hanging On: A Guide for the Spiritual Journey. He considers experiencing the Church in different countries and cultural settings to be one of the great privileges of his life.

Unbound enables me to reach out to the poor of the world in a way I can no longer physically do. — Father Graden

Rev. Jerry Hackenmueller

Speaks: English/Spanish

As a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Father Hackenmueller not only served as a pastor in his home diocese but also in Venezuela. Spending 11 years in Venezuela, he came to treasure the culture of Latin America. He applied his work to the Spanish-speaking communities of St. Paul-Minneapolis.

I love the opportunity to help people on a one-to-one basis in all aspects of ministry. — Father Hackenmueller

Rev. Bob Hasenkamp

Speaks: English

Father Hasenkamp has served as an associate pastor and pastor in parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas as well as the director of liturgy for the archdiocese. His work involved ministry in both urban and rural parishes. Visiting retreat centers and houses of prayers throughout the world enhanced his commitment to the service of the poor, as well as and his priestly vocation.

Working with Unbound gives me an opportunity to help people in need to live with greater dignity and hope. I often feel like I am the connecting link that makes possible a new relationship between a child living in poverty and a sponsor. Preaching for Unbound becomes that 'link'. — Father Hasenkamp

Rev. Peter Hereley, O.P.

Speaks: English

Ordained a Dominican Friar, Father Hereley has been a pastor, campus minister and chaplain, as well as prior of the Dominican Community in River Forest, Illinois. At one time, he was a radio/TV producer and the director of Dominican Central Productions in Chicago. Father Hereley has also served as the Procurator/Bursar of the Ecole Biblique et Archeologique Francaise in Jerusalem. Now living in the Chicago area, he was one of Unbound’s first preachers, having joined in 1992.

Unbound’s work with and for the poor was best described by Bob Hentzen, a co-founder of Unbound, when he said, ‘Just give them a hand-up and then get out of the way. They know best what they need to do to succeed.’ Bob respected the dignity and potential of every human being, a perspective which I share. — Father Hereley

Rev. Martin Holler

Speaks: English

Father Martin Holler, a priest of the Diocese of Steubenville, Ohio, served as pastor at Christ the King University Parish and in campus ministry at Ohio University. He taught seminary philosophy. Now in retirement, he makes annual service trips to a small school in Kenya and preaches for Unbound. He is inspired by the ‘Oscar Romero Prayer’ of Bishop Ken Untener: “We cannot do everything and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.” Father Holler enjoys reading, walking, keeping fit, cooking and visiting family and friends.

As best I can, the ‘something’ that I do will be to continue to serve those in poverty. It brings me great joy. Yes, I am Unbound. — Father Holler

Rev. Jim Horath

Speaks: English

As a priest of the Diocese of Superior in northern Wisconsin, Father Jim Horath served as an associate pastor, hospital chaplain, chancellor of the diocese, vicar for pastoral affairs, vicar for temporal affairs, pastor of a parish cluster and pastor of a parish that supported a Catholic school. Through all these varied assignments, Father Horath has focused his ministry on serving the people to grow in their love for God. He feels privileged to continue his priestly ministry as a voice of Unbound.

I feel fortunate He has called me to share in the work of caring for the beautiful people in the Unbound community. My own eyes have been further opened to the basic needs of our poorest brothers and sisters and, in turn, I now share in the responsibility to spread the message of Unbound to the good and generous people of our United States. — Father Horath

Rev. Keith Hosey

Speaks: English

After ordination, Father Keith Hosey served as an associate pastor in the Diocese of Lafayette, Indiana. Then he became director of the John XXIII Retreat Center in Hartford City, Indiana, giving 75 retreats per year in the United States and other countries. Although retired, Father Hosey continues to help with retreats and resides at the Fatima Retreat House in Indianapolis. Praying and preaching on behalf of Unbound helps him touch the lives of the poor.

An Irish deacon told me that if you have a hand in serving the poor, your ministry will succeed. — Father Hosey

Rev. John Malasi Ighacho

Speaks: English

Reverend John Malasi Ighacho is a priest of the Diocese of Mombasa, Kenya, currently serving in the Diocese of Owensboro, Ky. Father Ighacho has also served in Jamaica and Canada as a pastor and chaplain. He considers the experience of being able to work in different countries and relate to new people as a miracle, and he considers his work with Unbound an opportunity to express gratitude for all he has received.

It is indeed very humbling and liberating to be the voice of Christ’s message of hope, compassion, and love for the poor and the marginalized. — Father Ighacho

Rev. Mathew Illikattil

Speaks: English

Ordained in Kerala, India, Father Mathew Illikattil served 14 years in Kerala before moving to Brazil. Working with members of the Sisters of Charity (the community of Mother Teresa) while in Rio de Janeiro, he celebrated Mass for the poor and shared meals with them. From his experience in Rio de Janeiro, Father Illikattil realized it’s not easy to be poor and live in the slums. Retired from the Diocese of Kalamazoo, Michigan, he served as pastor and associate pastor. Finding ways to help uplift the social and economic conditions of those he serves is a focus of his ministry. He believes that his work with Unbound gives him an opportunity to empower the powerless and speak for the voiceless in the world.

As an individual, we may not be able to wipe out poverty from this world; however, as individuals together, we can make a difference in the lives of many people in the world. — Father Illikattil

Rev. Arthur Kirwin, O.P.

Speaks: English/Spanish

Father Art Kirwin, a Dominican Friar, has spent his career primarily in parish, hospital and prison ministry. Additionally, he worked to promote vocations for his province. He has a particular affinity for prison ministry and has witnessed a victim forgive a prisoner for a major crime. He believes that preaching on behalf of Unbound allows him to set up a connection between sponsored friends and sponsored children and elderly that provides sponsors with a glimpse into the reality of the poor. Father Kirwin enjoys reading, watching great movies and hiking.

[Preaching on behalf of Unbound] is a humbling thing and it’s a responsibility to invite parish members and others into the Unbound circle. — Father Kirwin

Rev. John Kirwin

Speaks: English

As a priest of the Diocese of Albany, New York, Father John Kirwin not only worked for people in Catholic education as a high school teacher and campus minister but also in parishes a pastor. As a young man apprehensively embarking on a year of service, he had coffee with Servant of God Dorothy Day and was encouraged by her. Now, as a retired diocesan priest, he helps other priests in weekend parish support and serves where needed.

Unbound affords me an opportunity to visit a variety of parishes and ‘hopefully to affect (afflict) the comfortable and in turn comfort the afflicted!’ — Father Kirwin

Rev. George Knab, O.M.I.

Speaks: English/Spanish

Father George Knab, a Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, served as director of religious services at a Buffalo, New York Catholic high school, hospital chaplain in Indianapolis and pastor in South Carolina and Florida where he promoted outreach to poor communities in the developing world. Currently, he conducts Bible studies at a soup kitchen and his parish mission collections now support Oblate seminarians in Zambia. Father Knab has written a booklet of bedside Eucharistic devotions. He is glad to preach for Unbound, and in doing so, helps children and elderly break free of the bonds of poverty.

To spread the joy of the Gospel Pope Francis wants believers to double-down the practice of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Within a faith community I find joy in preaching a Gospel message that promotes sponsorship as a sign of divine mercy to the children of the poor. — Father Knab

Rev. Michael Kuchar

Speaks: English/Spanish

As a priest of the Diocese of Lansing, Michigan, Father Michael Kuchar served as an associate pastor, pastor, and chaplain of campus and prison ministry. Spending five years in parish ministry in Latin America, Father Kuchar became aware of the great divide among people and was moved by the direct witness of the poor in their homes and hospitals. The community, church and culture in Bolivia, El Salvador and Mexico deepened his awareness of those who survive each day in poverty. Now retired, Father Kuchar travels regularly to Senegal and Mexico, where he minsters to others. He enjoys gardening, swimming and keeping in touch with friends, both locally and globally.

I consider working with Unbound as a wonderful opportunity to embrace my spirituality in the various current realities that others encounter each day with their lives.
— Father Kuchar

Rev. Bill Kulas

Speaks: English

As a priest pf the Diocese of Winona, Minnesota, Father Bill Kulas served as pastor, teacher, canon lawyer & in the marriage tribunal. He also taught in middle school and high school. Working with the downtrodden at Sharing & Caring Hands in Minneapolis and Warming House, he has always felt a special love for the poor as he sees Christ in them. Currently he spends time assisting active priests, driving for Ride Share, ministering to Warming House, and doing police chaplaincy work. He enjoys gardening, reading, mastering jigsaw puzzles and tending to indoor plants.

I grew up in a house with a lot of love. I see this in the poor and I want people to know of this. I also believe of putting into practice the words of Jesus: ‘Preach the good news to the poor.’ I find Unbound as my way of doing this. — Father Kulas

Rev. Frederick LaBrecque

Speaks: English/Spanish

Ordained in New Hampshire, Father ‘Rick LaBrecque is a priest for the Diocese of Charleston, South Carolina. Most of his priesthood has been spent serving the Spanish-speaking community, and he found the experience of helping to introduce Hispanic ministry to a traditional U.S. parish particularly rewarding. He has also served in vocations work, communications and continuing education, as well as organizing mission trips for parishioners to Honduras. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling and reading.

Unbound gives me an opportunity to help connect people with our brothers and sisters in poorer parts of the world. It has also been a wonderful way to experience the church today around the country. — Father LaBrecque

Rev. Tom Landgraff, O.S.F.S.

Speaks: English

Ordained for the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, Father Tom Landgraff has served as parish administrator, high school teacher and baseball and basketball coach. Father Landgraff was also a counselor in Toledo, Denver, and Erie. In Denver he not only ministered to the needs of his parishioners, but also operated a counseling center and food bank that helped the poor. By preaching parish missions Father Landgraff has long served his religious community. Currently, he presides at liturgies in two parishes, a nursing home and convent. He enjoys listening to jazz, playing golf and socializing with friends. He believes we are to serve as Jesus did, to do what Jesus did and what the Risen Christ does.

Unbound is a very concrete and effective way to help the poor of the world. — Father Landgraff

Rev. Mark Lane, C.O.

Speaks: English

Ordained in Sydney Australia, Father Lane came to the United States in 1991. A priest of the Oratory Parish of St. Boniface in Brooklyn, New York, he has served as pastor, hospital chaplain and theology professor. Living in Kenya proved to be a pivotal moment in Father Lane’s journey. Currently, he is the director of campus ministry at Regis High School in New York City. Father Lane leads retreats and liturgies and promotes the spiritual life of students. Every person has a God-given dignity and is worthy of practical love and support; Unbound provides this opportunity.

I am in a small way a bridge between two very good and worthy groups of people. I love the mutual benefit of Unbound sponsorship. This is a win-win in an often unfair and unjust world. We are able to be a sign of real and practical hope and goodness. I just love being able to do a little in the great good work at Unbound. — Father Lane

Rev. Bill Martin

Speaks: English

Ordained in the Archdiocese of New York, Father Bill Martin served in prison ministry and taught high school. Also, he supported the U.S. Air Force personnel as a chaplain for twenty-two years. Unbound is the efficient organization that empowers Father Martin to make significant change for God’s poor. Father Martin enjoys skiing, flying, reading, and history.

Unbound turns the yearning of the heart into productive action for those who have nowhere else to turn. Over 21 years I have received a barrage of gratitude from sponsor friends at any moment; this is beautiful background noise in my life. — Father Martin

Rev. Dennis Martin

Speaks: English/Spanish

As a priest of the Diocese of Davenport, Iowa, Father Dennis Martin served as a teacher in Catholic schools, pastor and associate pastor of parishes. As a director of pastoral care at a Catholic hospital and chaplain at a V.A. hospital, Father Martin ministered to the spiritual needs of people. For 20 years he enfolded the Spanish ministry into two parishes. Father Martin continues to serve the Diocese of Davenport in Hispanic Ministry. He enjoys celebrating Mass in Spanish because he believes the communities’ positive vibes uplift the human spirit. In his free time, he bikes, golfs and travels.

Working with Unbound gives me an outlet to answer the pope’s call to solidarity with the poor. I feel personally involved by not only calling on sponsors but sponsoring myself. — Father Martin

Rev. Robert “Mac” McAleer

Speaks: English

Father Robert “Mac” McAleer, priest of the Diocese of Davenport, Iowa, served in parish ministry both in rural and suburban settings, taught at Catholic high schools and was one of the original “Founding Fathers of the Association of United States Priests.” While in seminary, he studied in Mexico and saw true poverty firsthand. Having served as chair of the diocesan presbyteral council, priests’ personnel board and marriage tribunal has brought his leadership skills to a new ministry: Unbound. He currently serves as Trustee at St. Ambrose University and helps local parishes and convents. In his free time he enjoys golfing, traveling, and spending time with friends.

I look forward to the refreshing challenge of preaching Unbound’s and Pope Francis’ message of serving the poor. I encourage people to experience the richness of being a sponsor:, building a relationship and finding Christ embodied in others. — Father McAleer

Rev. Jerry Morgan

Speaks: English/Spanish

Father Jerry Morgan has ministered as pastor to parishes in the Diocese of Salina, Kansas. Also, during this time, he served as comptroller for the diocese. He believes his most important ministry is offering the sacrament to hundreds of souls. An inspiring memory was celebrating Mass on the same altar and place where Blessed Oscar Romero was martyred. Hugging and being hugged by lepers while on an awareness trip in India was another notable experience.

Poverty is not just a word! It’s an experience, a sensation, a reality, a life of vulnerability. I have the opportunity to help change the vulnerability into self-sustenance. — Father Morgan

Rev. Anthony Nguyen, C.Ss.R.

Speaks: English/Vietnamese/Spanish

Born in Vietnam, Redemptorist Father Anthony Nguyen has served in various ministries including parish and hospital ministry, formation, retreats, liturgy & music, music composition, and Engaged Encounter programs in several dioceses. Currently he gives parish missions in the U.S. and other countries, writes articles related to liturgy and sacred music and introduces others to Vietnamese culture and traditions. Additionally he, teaches liturgical and music workshops and composes music.

Preaching on behalf of Unbound gives me opportunities to pursue my religious commitment: to evangelize and be evangelized by the poor and marginalized and to practice charity, hope and faith. Practicing charity brings hope for our world as people open themselves, not only seeing the poor but also showing their care as sponsors. Through hope, my faith is enriched as I witness people living their lives in relationship as Children of God and members of the Body of Christ. — Father Nguyen

Rev. David Noone

Speaks: English

Ordained at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome for the Diocese of Albany, New York, Father David Noone has served in parishes and as a hospital chaplain in Albany, London, England, and Dunedin, New Zealand. He also served in the office of student affairs at the University of Notre Dame. Currently he assists at parishes and on a local army base in Fayetteville, North Carolina. When Father Noone is not conducting parish missions and days of recollection, he’s involved with an outreach in Haiti, which paved the way for Father Noone preaching for Unbound. . Father Noone believes we all have the same ministry: to realize we are God’s instruments, through which He accesses others’ lives, and enters ours through theirs.

The poor and marginalized, whom Unbound has recognized as having potential, may not be developed without help. My job is to help connect both groups in need; one needing to give and the other needing to help realize their potential. I never expected to find such a meaningful ministry. — Father Noone

Rev. Jeremiah O’Shea

Speaks: English

Ordained for the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Father Jerry O’Shea served as pastor of a parish in South Hills of Pittsburgh and as parochial vicar. Retiring from active ministry, he currently lives in the Diocese of Greensburg. He is founder and chaplain of a division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in Greensburg, an Irish fraternal organization. One of his most profound experiences during his years of priesthood was providing pastoral care for a man who, after being shot in a robbery, became a quadriplegic, yet has forgiven his attackers. Father O’Shea enjoys gardening, traveling, and participating in environmental programs.

In my retirement I want to use my preaching ability to bring education and a decent way of living to young and old, to be a channel of God’s great love to sponsors and sponsored alike. — Father O'Shea

Rev. Roger Plante, M.S.

Speaks: English

Father Roger Plante is a Missionary of Our Lady of La Salette. He was ordained in 1961 and has served as a high school seminary headmaster and teacher, pastor and as provincial and various other offices for the La Salette community. In New Hampshire, Father Plante began a cooperative called F.O.O.D. (Friends Organizing for Ongoing Development). He has also preached missions for his community and, for the past 17 years, for Unbound.

To work on behalf of the poor and marginalized energizes and motivates me to keep serving in this ministry for as long as I can do it well. — Father Plante

Rev. Michael Rieder

Speaks: English/Spanish

Father Mike Rieder, a priest from the Diocese of Rockville Centre on Long Island, New York, served as chaplain of McGann-Mercy High School. There he says he learned that mercy is not something God doles out; rather it is a way of life. Students taught him how to LIVE MERCY; his friends at Unbound taught him to LIVE MERCY UNBOUND! Taking awareness trips to Latin America with parishioners allows them to have a first-hand experience of the work of Unbound. As pastor of St Joseph Parish in Ronkonkoma he serves the parish, school and Spanish community in building the City of God.

Preaching for Unbound helped me to take a tremendous step on my Christian journey---I now speak of the work we do. It is another big step to recognize that everyone who sponsors is part of this team, this worldwide community of compassion. I was part of the team long before I started preaching for Unbound. — Father Rieder

Rev. Frank Ruff

Speaks: English

Father Frank Ruff is a member of the Glenmary Home Missioners, who serve in the rural south of the United States where Catholics are a minority. Long active in ecumenical relations between Catholics and evangelicals, he was field representative of the U.S. Bishop’s Committee on Ecumenism and Interreligious Affairs to the Southern Baptist Convention. He has served as vocation director, fundraiser, director of program to start mission churches with lay pastoral ministers, and President of Glenmary. Father Ruff enjoys gardening, canning vegetables, and raising animals. He continues to serve on the Glenmary Ecumenical Commission.

I have worked with many groups for 54 years that want to help the poor, but always see themselves above the poor and make decisions for them instead of letting them make their own decisions. When I visited Unbound in Costa Rica and read its material, I became convinced that I finally found a group that was founded on the Gospel and able to work with the poor without violating their dignity. — Father Ruff

Rev. Greg Schmitt, C.Ss.R.

Speaks: English

Father Greg Schmitt, a Redemptorist and native of Milwaukee, has served as pastor in Kansas City, Seattle, and New Orleans, worked in retreat houses in Fargo, North Dakota, and Oakland, California and preached parish missions in Chicago, Brazil and Nigeria. His work has not only included assisting with clothing and food banks but also administering funds to people in need after Hurricane Katrina. Father Schmitt enjoys golf, walking and woodworking.

St Alphonsus Liguori founded the Redemptorists specifically to preach to people who were poor, neglected, and living on the margins. As a Redemptorist, I see Unbound as an extension of my Redemptorist calling. The more we stand with others at the margins, the more quickly the margins will disappear. — Father Schmitt

Rev. LaVerne 'Pike' Thomas

Speaks: English

Father Pike Thomas, ordained for the Diocese of Shreveport, has served in pastoral ministry for 32 years as well as president of Presbyteral Council of the diocese, vicar for clergy, vicar for clergy continuing development and member of the diocesan liturgical commission. As a chaplain at the David Wade Correctional Center, he ministered to the spiritual needs of the people. From 1987-2007, he organized the annual Mission to Saltillo, Mexico, for the youth of the Diocese of Shreveport, which provided an on-site encounter with the poor and ‘left behind’ and gave a deeper understanding of needs, lifestyles and a desire to work long-term for solutions. He enjoys classical music, playing piano and singing, American and Louisiana history, genealogy and travel.

Service to Unbound and its participants throughout the world offers me a powerful vehicle to accelerate empowerment and particularly educational advancement in places struggling to participate in the world’s advances. — Father Thomas

Rev. Joseph Uecker, C.PP.S.

Speaks: English/Spanish

Father Joseph Uecker, a priest of the Kansas City Province of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, served in parish ministry and taught business and Spanish in a high school seminary. He studied Spanish and business at La Universidad de las Americas in Mexico City which introduced him to Hispanic ministry. Moreover, he traveled to his community’s missions in Brazil, Chile, Peru and Argentina learning about other cultures and communities. He has spent most of his priesthood in the Diocese of San Angelo, Texas serving as pastor to a Mexican-American community. He enjoys reading, cooking, and tracking current events.

I like to think of myself as a key maker, one who makes duplicate keys. All sponsors are keys to unlock the treasure which already exists. God has given the treasure. God seems to be saying, ‘What good does it do for me to enrich people with talents and abilities if they are not going to be able to unlock them and put them to use?’ WE are that KEY. — Father Uecker

Msgr. Adolfo Valdivia-Aguirre

Speaks: English/Spanish

Monsignor Adolfo Valdivia-Aguirre served in the Archdiocese of San Antonio as parochial vicar, pastor, worked in jail ministry and led retreats and missions. In Mexico, he performs tribunal work. He experienced profound poverty; yet considers himself rich in faith and grateful to his parents. The archbishop told him when he was ordained, “You came from the poor to serve the poor” (“Vienes de los pobres, para server a los pobres.”) His hero, St. Teresa of Calcutta, inspires him to serve the homeless and poor. Currently he helps parish priests with sacramental ministry in Mexico, where he lives in retirement. He enjoys playing basketball, running and traveling.

I grew up in a materially poor family yet it was rich in faith. My mom used to tell us that to be poor was not a sin. God has given us a brain and hands to use. I want to be the voice and the heart of my mom as I preach the message of Jesus on behalf of Unbound. Our people do not want to remain in poverty yet they need our help just like I was helped to come out of poverty. — Msgr. Valdivia

Rev. Edward Wieczorek

Speaks: English

Father Ed Wieczorek, a priest of the Diocese of Youngstown, served as pastor in Canton and Uniontown, Ohio, and taught dogmatic theology at St Mary’s Seminary in Cincinnati. Father Wieczorek was involved with the charismatic renewal in Ohio and with summer conferences for priests and deacons at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. He seeks to be a voice for those in poverty by inviting people to come into a life-giving relationship with brothers and sisters in developing countries. Currently, he is helping out with sacramental ministry in neighboring parishes and nursing homes.

Preaching for Unbound is for me a special opportunity to reach out and make a difference into the lives of some of the poor and marginalized of our world. It’s a gift to help broaden the horizon of fellow Americans. — Father Wieczorek