Synod Leadership

Bishop and Presider of the Diocesan Synod

Bishop Robert W. McElroy is the sixth Bishop of San Diego and a fifth generation San Franciscan. Upon graduating from Saint Joseph High School, Bishop McElroy was still committed to seeking a life in the priesthood but concluded that it would be best to pursue his vocation in a college outside the seminary system. He graduated from Harvard and Stanford with degrees in American History. He entered St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, CA in 1976 and was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of San Francisco on April 12, 1980.

In 1982 Bishop McElroy became the secretary to San Francisco Archbishop John Quinn, who himself was the first auxiliary bishop of San Diego. Archbishop Quinn asked Father McElroy to undertake graduate studies in the field of Catholic Social Teaching, and thus he obtained a licentiate in theology from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, a doctorate in moral theology from the Gregorian University in Rome and a doctorate in political science from Stanford.

Father McElroy returned to parish work, which was always his first love. In 1995 Archbishop Quinn appointed Father McElroy vicar general of the Archdiocese, a post he continued to hold under Cardinal William Levada, who succeeded Archbishop Quinn.

In 1996 Father McElroy was made a prelate of honor by Saint John Paul II and appointed pastor of Saint Gregory Parish in San Mateo by Cardinal Levada. Monsignor McElroy had the immense happiness of serving in this same parish for more than 15 years.

Monsignor McElroy was appointed auxiliary bishop of San Francisco by Pope Benedict XVI on July 6, 2010 and was ordained by Archbishop George Niederauer at Saint Mary’s Cathedral on Sept. 7, 2010. He became the Archdiocesan Vicar for Parish Life and Development and served in that role until his appointment to be the next Bishop of San Diego.

When he was informed that Pope Francis had appointed him to be the sixth bishop of San Diego, Bishop McElroy said:

“When I was growing up, my family would come to San Diego for our summer vacation, and I was captivated by the beauty and vitality of this graced region. During my years as a priest and bishop, I have continually been struck by this same beauty and vitality in the life of the local Church — proclaiming the Gospel, embracing the poor and the marginalized, strengthening family life, forging unity in faith and solidarity amidst great cultural diversity. Now I have the privilege of becoming a member and a leader in this magnificent Catholic community and the society which surrounds it. There are no words to describe the tremendous joy and gratitude to God which I feel at this moment.”

Diocesan Chancellor
Rodrigo Valdivia was born in Chile, arrived in the U.S. in 1970 and in Escondido in 1974. His studies include a B.A in Philosophy from USD, an MA and STB from the Catholic University of Louvain, and a JCL from Catholic University of America. Mr. Valdivia has served in diocesan administration since 1991, including the offices of Cultural Diversity, Stewardship and Development, Missions, Permanent Diaconate and the diocesan Tribunal. He has served as Chancellor in the diocese since 2002. He, his wife and two daughters are members of Ascension Parish.

Diocesan Synod Coordinator
Father John Hurley, CSP, DM was ordained a priest in 1977. He graduated from the Catholic University of America, the Washington Theological Union and received his Doctorate of Ministry degree from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley. He is the former Executive Director of the Secretariat for Evangelization at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Pastoral Life Center and the Department of Evangelization in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. In 2014, he launched a new Paulist initiative, New Evangelization Strategies, working with Catholic parishes, dioceses and organizations in making the transformation from maintenance to mission. He serves on the faculty of the Academy of Church Leadership at Santa Clara University.

Diocesan Synod Administrative Assistant
Maria Valencia has worked in the Diocesan Office for Social Ministry since 2010. She is currently a student in the Master Theological Studies at Franciscan School of Theology. She teaches in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) at Our Lady of Guadalupe parish in Chula Vista. She is married for 30 years and the mother of four.

Logistics Team

Aurelia Vargas, Office of the Bishop

Linda Marrujo, Office for Civil Affairs

Terry Campa and Stephanie Fullerton, Office of Central Services

Flavio Arreola, Flavio Arreola, Sr., and Jose Luis Sevilla, Office of Central Services

Aida Bustos and Kevin Eckery, Office of Communications

Joseph Horejs and Leticia Trent, Office of Evangelization & Catechetical Ministry

Matt Dolan, Office of Information Technology

Noreen McInnes and Brian Avey, Office of Liturgy

Marisa Gallardo, Office of Marriage and Family Life

José Ernesto González, Office of Permanent Diaconate

María Mitre, Office of Youth Ministry

Theologians for the Challenge Working Groups

I. Challenge to Witness to Both the Beauty and Realism of the Catholic Vision of Marriage and Family Life

Bernadeane Carr, STL is the Director of the San Diego Diocesan Institute. She has served the Diocese of San Diego since 1991 and as director of the Diocesan Institute since 2004. She earned her theology degree from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland.

II. Challenge to Form a Culture of Invitation and Hospitality to Unmarried Couples

Dr. Emily Reimer-Barry, PhD and Sr. Tobie Tondi, SHCJ, STD. Reimer-Barry is Chair and a faculty member of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, where Sr. Tobie also serves in the faculty. In all of her courses Dr. Reimer-Barry exposes her students to the rich, complicated traditions of Christian theology and ethics. She received her doctorate from Loyola University Chicago focusing on a Renewed Catholic Theology of Marriage. Sr. Tobie holds an MA in theology and spirituality from Fordham University and an MA in theology from Notre Dame University. She also holds an STL in dogmatic theology and an STD in theology from the Gregorian University in Rome.

III. The Challenge to Welcome, Nurture and Form Children
Dr. Maureen Day is Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology at the Franciscan School of Theology. She received her PhD at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. Maureen, her husband and young children engage in a variety of shared ministries together. She has taught a number of courses on marriage and family in both Catholic and secular institutions.

IV. The Challenge to Provide Pastoral Support for Those Who Are Divorced
Msgr. Daniel Dillabough, JCL, STD is the Vice President of the University of San Diego for Mission and Ministry since 1998. As a priest of the Diocese of San Diego, he served in various diocesan leadership roles, including Chancellor, Vicar and Director of Clergy Personnel. He has served on numerous committees for the diocese and nationally. He holds degrees from the University of San Diego, canon law and sacred theology degrees from the Gregorian University in Rome, the Propaganda Fide, and his STL and STD from the Alphonsianum in Rome. His doctoral dissertation was on the Charter of Rights of the Family, the only family charter the Vatican has ever published.

V. The Challenge to Bring Spiritual Depth to Family Life
Fr. Michael Murphy, STL was ordained a priest of the Diocese of San Diego in 1983 and he currently serves as the pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Coronado. He is also Director of the Office for Priests for the Diocese of San Diego. Previously, he served as Director of the Office for the Permanent Diaconate, and Vice-Rector/Academic Dean at St. Francis Seminary in San Diego. He received his degree in theology from the Institute for Spirituality at the Gregorian University in Rome. He also ministers as a spiritual director and retreat director.

Theologian for General Assembly
Monsignor John Strynkowski was ordained in Rome for the Diocese of Brooklyn on Dec. 18, 1963. He returned to Rome in 1969, after serving as parochial vicar in Brooklyn, to complete his STD at the Gregorian University. He began service to the Holy See first in the Secretariat of State (1971-1973) and then in the Congregation for Bishops (1973-1979). He also served as Assistant Spiritual Director at the North American College from 1976-1979.

He was professor of Theology at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Huntington, New York, from 1979-1995, and also Rector from 1985-1995. He served as a pastor from 1995-2000 and then went to serve at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, first as Assistant Secretary for Catholic Higher Education (2000-2001) and then as Executive Director of the Secretariat for Doctrine and Pastoral Practice (2001-2005). After leaving the USCCB, he served as Rector of St. James Cathedral, Brooklyn, and Vicar for Higher Education from 2005 until his retirement in 2015. Though he is recently retired, Msgr. Strynkowski served as peritus to Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago at the XIV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops which led to Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of Love.

Facilitator for the General Assembly – Fr. John Hurley, CSP

Facilitators for Challenge Working Groups

I. The Challenge to Witness to Both the Beauty and Realism of the Catholic Vision of Marriage
Deacon Ralph and Peggy Skiano have been married for 44 years, and Deacon Ralph was ordained in 2004. Their four sons range in age from 37 to 26. They also have four grandchildren. Ministry to engaged and married couples has been one of their shared passions for more than 35 years. In 2008 they were asked to direct the Office for Marriage and Family Life and have enjoyed working together to help couples ever since. They are looking forward to their retirement from the Diocesan Pastoral Center in December 2016 and having more time for parish work and spending time with family and friends.

II. The Challenge to Form a Culture of Invitation and Hospitality to Unmarried Couples
Bobbie Espinoza is the Diocesan Director of Human Resources since 2010. She brought with her a wealth of experience from The San Diego Union-Tribune and the Cigna Corp., where she worked a combined 16 years. She is a native of Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she graduated from the University of New Mexico. She is a member of St. James Parish.

Patrick Rivera is the Diocesan Director of the Office for Young Adult Ministry and has served within the church on the parish, university, and national level. He is a California native, raised in Tennessee, and studied Philosophy/Theology at Seton Hall University, NJ. He and wife Margot have four daughters ages six and under.

III. The Challenge to Welcome, Nurture and Form Children
Maria Olivia “Marioly” Galván is the Director for the Office for Evangelization & Catechetical Ministry. Marioly obtained her Master’s degree in Pastoral Theology with an emphasis on Pastoral Leadership from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. She is the Region XI Representative for the Los Angeles Province for the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership.

Erika Mayoral is Program Coordinator/Assistant Director at Diocesan Office for Marriage and Family Life. Her task is leadership for the Spanish-speaking, in marriage preparation, natural family planning and family life. Originally from Guadalajara Mexico, she is married and has three living children (ages 12, 9, 21 months). She came to work for the Diocese of San Diego in 2012 initially in the Office for Evangelization and Catechesis. She has an education in Psychology with a background in Social Work and a catechetical certification.

IV. The Challenge to Provide Pastoral Support for Those Who are Divorced
Kent Peters has directed the San Diego Diocesan Office for Social Ministry since 1997. In this office he directs ministries involving issues such as abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, immigration, poverty, addiction, labor injustice, fair trade, domestic violence, mental health, among many others. He received a BA from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1976 and a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the University of Fribourg in Fribourg, Switzerland in 1981. He is married to Frances Peters. Together they have five children and three grandchildren.

Deacon Jim Walsh serves as deacon in the Church of the Nativity Parish and serves the wider Diocese of San Diego as Restorative Justice Program Director in the Office for Social Ministry and he is President of the non-profit Restorative Justice Mediation Program in San Diego. In addition, he supervises support for crime victim and friends and families of the incarcerated, coordinates victim/offender reconciliation, and over 400 Catholic Detention Ministry Volunteers who serve in 27 detention facilities, housing over 25,000 inmates.

V. The Challenge to Bring Spiritual Depth to Family Life
Linda Arreola is the Assistant Director, Office for Social Ministry. In this office she handles the issues of respect life, immigration, human trafficking and outreach to the Spanish speaking community. She is a Master Catechist and RCIA Coordinator at St. Anthony of Padua, National City. She serves as the Coordinator of the Evangelization Committee and Co-Coordinator of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Small Faith Community of the Programa Misionero de San Diego. She has a BA and MA in French Language and Literature from San Diego State University.

Gerardo Rojas is the Director of the Office for Youth Ministry in the Diocese of San Diego. He has a Master’s degree in Theology from the University of Notre Dame. He served as a Parish Director of Faith Formation and Hispanic Ministry. He is married and has three daughters.

Recorders for Challenge Working Groups

I. The Challenge to Witness to Both the Beauty and Realism of the Catholic Vision of Marriage
Connie Noel, Diocesan Tribunal

II. The Challenge to Form a Culture of Invitation and Hospitality to Unmarried Couples
Kristie Krische, Diocesan Office of Human Resources

III. The Challenge to Welcome, Nurture. and Form Children
Leticia Mendoza, Diocesan Tribunal

IV. The Challenge to Provide Pastoral Support for Those Who are Divorced
Kate McKenzie, Diocesan Office of Permanent Diaconate

V. The Challenge to Bring Spiritual Depth to Family Life
Alejandra Diaz, Diocesan Office of Cultural Diversity

Contacts

Ricardo J. Marquez, Ph.D
Associate Director
Phone: (858) 490-8295
rmarquezEmail at symbolsdcatholic.org
Janelle Peregoy, M.Div.
Associate Director, Separated & Divorced Ministry
Phone: (858) 490-8292
JPeregoyEmail at symbolsdcatholic.org
Dcn. Bill Adsit
Volunteer Mental Health Ministry Coordinator
Phone: (858) 490-8299
wadsitEmail at symbolsdcatholic.org
Nora Mendez
Administrative Assistant
Phone: (858) 490-8299
nmendezEmail at symbolsdcatholic.org
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