When: Saturday November 10, 2018

Come join us for an afternoon Catholic conference on Saturday November 10, 2018 at the Gateway High School, Monroeville, Pa. which is located about 1 mile from the Monroeville exit on the Parkway East. and PA TurnPike.   “FIRE for the New Millennium” conference promises to be a day filled with powerful talks from renowned speakers.  Come and listen to Fr. Mike Ackerman, katie Harfiel, Kris Frank, Fr. Joe Mele and Holly Joy Mcllwain as they speak on the power of Faith, Intercession, Repentance, and Evangelization (FIRE).


Come for renewed Faith, Fellowship, Worship and great music to help us renew and strengthen our Catholic faith on our Journey with Jesus Christ. The conference is open to all.

The conference starts at 1pm and will run until 4:30 at which time there will be a Mass.


Location: Gateway High School

Monroeville has 11 brand-name hotels, with more than 1,300 total rooms...all within a three-mile radius of the High School.  To see Hotel information in the area, click HERE.



For driving directions to Gateway High School,  click HERE.

After earning a bachelor’s and master's from Duquesne University, Father Mike Ackerman taught as a school teacher, thinking it would be a positive experience to work with young people. “I enjoyed the idea of imparting history, values and morals on a younger generation with an opportunity to shape the future,” he said. Ackerman joined the seminary in 2008, earning a master's in philosophy in 2010, and graduating from Catholic University of America with a master's of divinity and sacred theology. He was ordained in 2014. During his time at St. Pio, Ackerman worked with Father Tony Gargotta. “It gives us a lot of hope to see a young guy stepping into the ministry, especially someone of his character,” Gargotta said. “He will bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm wherever he goes. He's excellent, just excellent.”  Today, Father Mike is the Diocese of Pittsburgh.  Father Mike will kick off the FIRE Conference on the Power of Faith

Katie Hartfiel is a national Catholic speaker who is also the author of Woman In Love, which coaches young women as they pray for their future spouse. Katie received her Theology degree from Franciscan University of Steubenville. She served as a youth minister for seven years in Houston, where she now resides with her husband, Mark, and three daughters. For more on Katie, her books, and her DIY purity retreat, visit womaninlove.org.  Katie will speak on the Power of Intercession at the FIRE Conference.

Kris Frank attended Franciscan University and graduated in 2008 with a degree in catechetics and theology with a youth ministry concentration. He has been a part of youth programs in Pennsylvania, Florida, and Texas. He now lives and serves as a missionary for Dirty Vagabond Ministries in Steubenville. Kris also has been privileged to travel around the country, sharing the Gospel with teens and young adults at various retreats, camps, and conferences. Kris spends his free time with his wife, Grace, and their four children. Kris will speak at the FIRE Conference on the Power of Repentance.


Father Joe Mele currently serves as Episcopal Vicar for the Secretariat for Leadership Development and Evangelization in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Father Mele, a native of Pittsburgh, studied at Saint Francis College and Seminary in Loretto, Pennsylvania, where he graduated with a Master of Divinity degree. In 1973 he was ordained at Saint Paul Cathedral. He earned a master’s in formative spirituality in 1980, a master’s in communication and rhetoric in 1999, and a doctorate in communications and rhetoric in 2008, all from Duquesne University. From 2009 to 2011 he served as Vicar General for the Diocese of Pittsburgh and Vice Rector of Saint Paul Seminary. From 2008 to 2011 he served as Director of Spiritual Formation and Director of the Department for Post-Ordination Formation at the seminary. In 2011, he was named Rector at Saint Paul Seminary. Father Joe will be our FIRE Conference’s Celebrant and Homilist speaking on the Power of Evangelization.


Minister and educator for 15 plus years, Ben Walther is invested in the mission of the New Evangelization.  After producing two albums as an independent Christian musician, Ben joined the Oregon Catholic Press family and released his album Make Your Home in Me in 2013.  It debuted at #12 on the iTunes Christian charts.  In June 2016, he released Ablaze, again partnering with Catholic music publisher OCP.  A graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ben is honored to now serve the Walsh University community as the director of Campus Ministry.  He and his family live in North Canton, Ohio.  Ben will be our worship leader at our fifth FIRE Conference.


Emcee Holly Joy McIlwain is a popular Catholic speaker and radio personality for The Catholic Guy Show on SiriusXM. With over 15 years serving Catholic Youth and Families in youth ministry programs, Holly speaks at numerous conferences and parishes especially on Catholic Morality and Sexuality. Previously with the Diocese’s Secretariat for Leadership Development & Evangelization, Holly is director for leadership development practice with Talerico Group.  She holds an advanced degree in Organizational Leadership.  Holly’s most important jobs of wife to Kevin and mother to James and John keep her busier than ever.



“I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!”


Luke 12:49


  • 12:00 PM - 01:00 PM  - Open Door
  • 01:00 PM - 01:30 PM  - Opening & Music Ministry with Ben Walther
  • 01:30 PM - 02:15 PM  - FAITH (Fr. Michael Ackerman)
  • 02:15 PM - 02:30 PM  - Music Ministry with Ben Walther
  • 02:30 PM - 03:15 PM  - INTERCESSION (Katie Hartfiel)
    • Break out - teen Forum - Intercession (Kris Frank)
  • 03:15 PM - 03:30 PM  - Music ministry with Ben Walther
  • 03:30 PM - 04:15 PM  - REPENTANCE (Kris Frank)
  • 04:15 PM - 04:30 PM  - Music Ministry with Ben Walther
  • 04:30 PM - 05:30 PM  - EVANGELIZATION - Mass & Homily (Fr. Joseph Mele)


2017-2020 - USCCB STRATEGIC PLAN:  Encountering the Mercy of Christ and Accompanying His People with Joy


The plan is centered on five strategic priorities approved by the full body of bishops, and are aimed at encountering those in need, bringing them hope, and nurturing them spiritually and physically. These priorities are:

  • Evangelization: Open wide the doors to Christ through missionary discipleship and personal encounter.
  • Family and marriage: Encourage and heal families; inspire Catholics to embrace the sacrament of matrimony.
  • Human life and dignity: Uphold the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death with special concern for the poor and vulnerable.
  • Vocations and ongoing formation: Encourage vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life, and provide meaningful ongoing formation to clergy, religious and lay ministers.
  • Religious freedom: Promote and defend the freedom to serve, witness and worship, in the U.S. and abroad.