San Antonio, TX

about Converging Roads

Where Health Care Ethics and Medicine Converge
Converging Roads is a regional conference series offering continuing education for health care professionals that equips them to practice the highest ethical and medical standards of their profession. Converging Roads provides health care professionals, chaplains, students, and administrators with the most up-to-date training in health care ethics enabling them to more effectively care for their patients. An initiative of the St. John Paul II Foundation, Converging Roads is deeply rooted in the Catholic moral tradition and is presented in multiple local or regional conferences. Health care professionals receive continuing medical education credits, insight from national level speakers, and the opportunity for networking with local health care professionals.
Converging Roads™ is an initiative of the St. John Paul II Foundation and presented in collaboration with the Archdiocese of San Antonio, CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System, and the University of the Incarnate Word. To learn more about Converging Roads, click here.

Human Dignity at the End of Life

October 20, 2018 | 8:30AM - 7:30PM

  • Annual White Mass & Reception celebrated by Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, M.Sp.S. will conclude the conference


  • Physician/Physician Assistant: $149
  • Nurse/Nurse Practitioner: $129
  • General Admission*: $79
  • (Other health care professionals and non-health care professionals)
  • Medical resident, clergy, or religious*: $69
  • Student Scholarship Rate**: $15
  • (Medical, and nursing, graduate, and undergraduate students)
  • *Not eligible for CME/CNE credits, however, Social Worker/Chaplain certificates of completion can be requested upon registration for continuing education purposes.
  • **Not eligible for CME/CNE credits.

Exhibitor Opportunities:
Includes 1 exhibitor booth and admission for 1 organizational representative
  • Ministry/Non-Profit (including CME/CNE credits): $170
  • Ministry/Non-Profit (not including CME/CNE credits)*: $100
  • Vendor/For-Profit (including CME/CNE credits): $220
  • Vendor/For-Profit (not including CME/CNE credits)*: $150
  • *Not eligible for CME/CNE credits, however, Social Worker/Chaplain certificates of completion can be requested upon registration for continuing education purposes.

For sponsorship opportunities or more information:



7:45 AM
Registration/Breakfast Begins
8:30 AM
Opening Remarks
8:45 - 9:45 AM
  • Imago Dei: Human Dignity and the Stewardship of Life
  • Kristina Leyden, Ph.D., M.S.N., F.N.P.
9:50 - 11:20 AM
  • End of Life Decision Making: Ethical Decision Making in Sickness and Compromised States
  • *Lecture & case study presentation with small group facilitation
  • Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D.
11:20 - 11:50 AM
11:50 AM - 12:50 PM
  • Sacramental and Spiritual Care in a Diverse Medical Context
  • *Panel - Dennis P. Gonzales, Ph.D.; Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D.; and Dcn. José A. Santos, M.D.
12:50 - 1:05 PM
1:05 - 2:05 PM
  • Hope and Compassion at the Feet of Those Who Suffer
  • Roland Millare, S.T.D.
2:10 - 3:40 PM
  • Medical, Comfort, and Pastoral Care of Comatose and PVS Patients and Their Families
  • *Lecture & case study presentation with small group facilitation
  • Greg Burke, M.D., F.A.C.P.
3:40 - 3:50 PM
3:50 - 4:50 PM
  • Alleviating Suffering Through Palliative Care and Pain Management
  • Natalie Rodden, M.D.
5:00 PM
Conference Concludes
5:30 PM
  • White Mass
  • Celebrant: Most Rev. Gustavo García-Siller, M.Sp.S.
6:30 - 7:30 PM
White Mass Reception


Vice President of Curriculum and Director of Clergy Initiatives

Dr. Roland Millare, a native Houstonian, serves as Vice President of Curriculum and Director of Clergy Initiatives for the St. John Paul II Foundation (Houston, TX). Dr. Millare served as a member of the Theology Department at St. John XXIII College Preparatory (Katy, TX) for over 15 years. He received a BA in Theology from Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. He has a MA in Theological Studies (with a concentration in Moral Theology) from the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College (Alexandria, VA) and a Licentiate (STL) and Doctorate in Sacred Theology (STD) in Dogmatic Theology (with a specialization in Sacramental Theology) from the University of St. Mary of the Lake (Mundelein, IL). Dr. Millare also serves as an adjunct professor of theology for permanent deacon candidates, seminarians, undergraduate and graduate students at the University of St. Thomas, St. Mary’s Seminary, the Diocese of Fort Worth and the University of Dallas. He has published various theological articles for Logos, Antiphon, New Blackfriars, Nova et Vetera, and the Heythrop Journal. He has published the book, A Living Sacrifice: Liturgy and Eschatology in Joseph Ratzinger (Emmaus Academic, 2022). Dr. Millare has also contributed an article to a forthcoming lexicon on the theology of Joseph Ratzinger (Ignatius Press). Dr. Millare is a member of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, Academy of Catholic Theology, and the Society for Catholic Liturgy. Dr. Millare lives with his beautiful wife Veronica and their three children.

Palliative Medicine Physician, Intermountain Healthcare

Dr. Natalie King is a palliative medicine physician who specializes in caring for patients with serious illness and nearing the end of life. She is originally from Indiana and attended the University of Notre Dame. While in medical school at Tulane University, she founded the Catholic Medical Association Student Section. She completed internal medicine residency at the University of Utah and palliative medicine fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. After fellowship she worked as a palliative medicine physician in Denver, Colorado, helping lead her hospital’s ethics committee and teach trainees. She completed a master’s degree in bioethics from The Ohio State University, partnering with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to improve education around palliative care for Catholic laity. She has organized a forum for the Catholic Medical Association on end-of-life issues. She is passionate about education and advocacy about palliative medicine and ethical issues relating to serious illness and the end-of-life and is set to have a book released by Ave Maria Press in fall of 2024. She lives with her husband and daughter in Salt Lake City, Utah, and works at Intermountain Healthcare.

Assistant Professor in the Carol and Odis Peavy School of Nursing, University of St. Thomas, Houston, Texas

Kristina Leyden, PhD, APRN, FNP-BC is an assistant professor in the Peavy School of Nursing at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. She is a Texas board-certified family nurse practitioner, a board member of the Psi Iota Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society, and a board member of Crossroads Cultural Center-Houston. Dr. Leyden received her BSN from Washington State University, her Master from the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston and her Doctorate from University of Texas, Houston. Dr. Leyden has been a nurse for almost 20 years! She has practiced in a variety of areas. Her practice extends to helping take care of the retired Dominicans of her parish, going on medical mission trips, and working per diem in local clinics and urgent care centers. Dr. Leyden has been a professor at the University of St. Thomas since the school of nursing’s opening in 2012. In addition to teaching the Adult/Older Adult and Pediatric courses in the school of nursing, she practices holistic care with her students. Dr. Leyden is an international speaker on biorhythms, creativity in nursing, and laboratory simulation. Her innovative approach to education, passion for care, and love for humanity are three characteristics about her she would like to share. She loves art and everything that has to do with beauty. She is a self-proclaimed apothecary-ist, retrieving herbs from her own garden. She and her husband, of 17 years, have 5 beautiful children together.

Director of Education, The National Catholic Bioethics Center

Fr. Tad currently serves as the Director of Education at The National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia and directs the Center's National Catholic Certification Program in Health Care Ethics. He is a priest of the diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts. He writes and speaks widely on bioethics and medical ethics. Since 2001, he has given several hundred presentations and invited lectures, and participated in debates and roundtables on contemporary bioethics throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe. He has taught bioethics classes for seminarians at St. John's Seminary in Boston, Pope St. John XXIII Seminary in Weston, Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Connecticut. As an undergraduate Fr. Tad earned degrees in philosophy, biochemistry, molecular cell biology, and chemistry, and did laboratory research on hormonal regulation of the immune response. He later earned a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Yale University, where he focused on cloning genes for neurotransmitter transporters which are expressed in the brain. He worked for several years as a molecular biologist at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Father Tad studied for 5 years in Rome at both the Gregorian University and the Lateran University, where he did advanced work in dogmatic theology and in bioethics, examining the question of delayed ensoulment of the human embryo. He has testified before members of the Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Virginia and Oregon State Legislatures during deliberations over stem cell research and cloning. He writes a monthly newspaper column on bioethics that is nationally syndicated to more than 40 diocesan newspapers in the U.S., and which has also been carried by newspapers in England, Poland and Australia. He has done commentaries for numerous media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, CNN International, ABC World News Tonight, National Public Radio, the Wall Street Journal, the Dallas Morning News, and the New York Times.

Chief Patient Experience Officer, Geisinger Health System

Dr. Burke was appointed Chief Patient Experience Office for the Geisinger Health System in early 2014 and focuses his efforts on the delivery of compassionate and quality medical care throughout the entire system. He has practiced internal medicine at Geisinger Medical Center since 1992. He continues his role as medical director at both Geisinger HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospitals. He has a special interest in the promotion of professionalism in medical practice with an emphasis on applying a holistic philosophy of medicine.   He actively lectures and publishes articles in the fields of medical ethics and physician spirituality. He serves as the current editor-in-chief of “G” – the Geisinger Magazine. His awards include the Clinical Excellence Award for HealthSouth (2009), Best Doctors in American (2007-08, 2011-12), Victor Marks Service Excellence Award (2007, 2013) and the Papal Medal “Benemerenti” award in 2007. He is a graduate of Jefferson Medical College and completed an internal medicine residency and chief residency at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

Archbishop of San Antonio

Gustavo García-Siller was named Archbishop of San Antonio by Pope Benedict XVI on October 14, 2010. Installed as Archbishop on November 23, 2010, he succeeded Archbishop José H. Gomez as the sixth Archbishop of San Antonio. He was appointed an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago on January 24, 2003 by Pope John Paul II, and ordained on March 19, 2003 by Archbishop of Chicago, Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I. Born December 21, 1956 in San Luis Potosi, S.L.P., Mexico, Archbishop Gustavo was the eldest of 15 children. In 1975, Archbishop Gustavo professed as a member of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit. His more than 42 years of priestly service has taken many forms, including ministering to communities with varied cultural backgrounds. On a national level, Archbishop Gustavo has served on a number of committees for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)and is currently the Committee Chairman for the USCCB Cultural Diversity in the Church.

Medical Director, Warm Springs Rehabilitation Hospital

Deacon José A. Santos, M.D., practices medicine full time and is medical director at Warm Springs Rehabilitation Hospital at Westover Hills in San Antonio TX. He was ordained to the permanent diaconate for the Archdiocese of San Antonio in 2017. He is a member of Catholic Medical Association and serves as Region VII director for CMA. He earned his BA from The University of Texas in Austin TX, his MD at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston TX, and completed his residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at University of California Davis Medical Center in Sacramento CA. He holds Board certification in PM&R. He serves as adjunct faculty to the Department of Rehabilitation at UT Health Science Center in San Antonio. He is a contributing author on Rehabilitation Medicine in "Catholic Witness in Health Care: Practicing Medicine in Truth and Love" published by Catholic University of America Press in 2017. In addition to his parochial assignment as a deacon he serves at Catholic Charities of San Antonio catechizing and being a witness to the faith to the unaccompanied minors from Central America housed at St Peter St Joseph Home.

Regional Vice President of Mission Integration, CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System and The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Dr. Gonzales is the Regional Vice President for Mission Integration at the Christus Santa Rosa Health System and The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio. He is a member of the Christus Health Institutional Review Board, the Mission Committee of the Catholic Health Association, Board Member at the Sister Ettling Center for Civic Leadership at the University of the Incarnate Word, and Board Member of the Health Collaborative of San Antonio. Dr. Gonzales received his B.A. Degree from Loyola University of New Orleans, M.A. Degree from San Diego State University, and his Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico. Dr. Gonzales is a former De La Salle Christian Brother, as well as a former high school and college professor and Associate Dean for Academics. During his 10 years with Christus Health, prior to his current role as Regional Vice President for Mission Integration with Christus Santa Rosa and The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, he has served as a Quality & Performance Improvement Facilitator, Director of Organizational Development, and Vice President for Mission and Spirituality at Christus St. Vincent Health System in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Dr. Gonzales oversees Spiritual Care, Ethics, Community Health, Clinical Pastoral Education and Volunteer Services. He is a member of the Executive Leadership Team and serves as a coach, mentor and leadership development champion for Christus leaders at all levels of the organization.



Accreditation Statement

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and Policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA) and St. John Paul II Foundation. Christian Medical & Dental Associations is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Physician Credit

The Christian Medical & Dental Associations designates this educational activity for a maximum of 7 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits(s)™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Physician Assistant

AAPA accepts certificates of participation for educational activities certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. by an organization accredited by the ACCME or a recognized state medical society. Physician assistants may receive up to 7 credits for completing this activity.

Nurse Practitioner

The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP) accepts AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ from organizations accredited by the ACCME. Individuals are responsible for checking with the AANPCP for further guidelines. Nurse practitioners may receive up to 7 credits for completing this activity.


This educational activity has been approved by the Ohio Nurses Association (ONA), an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation (OBN-001-91). 7 contact hours approved.


  • -List established Church teaching including the Ethical and Religious Directives on providing food and water to patients. Define and propose medical care commensurate with the condition of the patient. Discuss the role of communication and spiritual care offered to families that is commensurate with the condition of the patient. Summarize two case studies and analyze ethical course of action in light of the principles articulated and medical condition of the patient.

  • -Discuss how to offer spiritual care to patients who are of other faiths than the medical and spiritual care team. Describe how to offer a sufficiently robust spiritual care to patients who are Catholic. Identify ways to navigate scenarios when the medical team or hospital faces patients with positions and wishes that are contrary to the medical or ethical position of the practitioner or hospital.

  • -Discuss how medicine is tasked with the awesome responsibility to serve the patient in all dimensions. Describe how medical professionals assist patients and families as they fulfill their responsibility to be stewards of the life/lives entrusted to them. 

  • -Discuss the meaning and purpose of suffering and how to help patients mature through suffering. Define compassion in the care of patients and their families. Describe the role of hope and how to foster hope appropriately within the patients and their families.

  • -Define proportionate and disproportionate means. Identify the weaknesses of the language of futility in decision making. Describe the criteria used to determine whether a treatment is morally obligatory (proportionate) or morally optional (disproportionate). Summarize two case studies based on clinical encounters and analyze ethical course of action in light of the principles of proportionate and disproportionate means.

  • -Discuss the types of pain and suffering that affect patients and how to robustly address pain and suffering in a clinical context. Define palliative care and ethical use of medical interventions that address suffering but hasten death. Describe pain management regimens which help relieve suffering most effectively at the end of life.

Social Workers

The Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners has approved the St. John Paul II Foundation to provide continuing education activities for social workers. This activity is approved for 7 hours. Please be sure to select the General Admission ticket option and request a certificate of completion on your registration form. For questions, please email [email protected]


The National Association of Catholic Chaplains has approved this program for 7.0 Continuing Education Hours. Please be sure to select the General Admission ticket option and request a certificate of completion on your registration form. For questions, please email [email protected]


Our Lady of the Lake University

411 SW 24th St
San Antonio, TX 78207

For More Information:
Susie Lopez, Conference Coordinator
[email protected]





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