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. To learn more about Converging Roads, click here.
A special White Mass, which is offered for health care professionals and others involved in the medical field, is an opportunity to reflect on the role of Catholics in health care, as well as an opportunity for community-building and support.To learn more about the White Mass, click here.
  • Feedback from Converging Roads 2018:
  • "The conference provided an opportunity for all of us who 'converge along this road' ministering to patients at the end of life to listen and learn from one another. Rarely have I seen physicians, nurses, clergy, chaplains and others come together to learn from experts in the field, and more importantly, share their experiences, struggles and aspirations. The conference left me inspired and hope-filled!"
  • - Deacon Mark King, AVP Clinical Research Administration Atrium Health





Ticket Options:
  • 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.


When Does Life Begin: The Science
Maureen Condic, Ph.D.

The Present and Future Prospect of Treating Disabilities with Stem Cells
David A. Prentice, Ph.D.

Foundations for Freedom and Conscience and Threats to the Right to Serve
Ashley K. Fernandes, M.D., Ph.D.

Prenatal Diagnosis and Disability
DiAnn C. Ecret, PhD, MSN, RN

Understanding the Cross of Infertility: Medicine, Ethics, Hope, and Joy
Roland Millare, S.T.D.; and more

In Vitro Fertilization
Faculty TBD

Ectopic & Other Difficult Pregnancies: Morals & Medicine
Christopher Kaczor, Ph.D.


7:00 AM
Registration Begins
8:00 AM
White Mass
9:15 AM
Prayer & Opening Remarks
9:25 - 10:25 AM
When Does Life Begin: The Science
10:30 - 11:30 AM
Prenatal Diagnosis & Disability
11:30 - 11:40 AM
11:40 AM - 12:40 PM
Ectopic & Other Difficult Pregnancies: Morals & Medicine
12:40 - 2:10 PM
Hippocratic Oath Luncheon: Foundations for Freedom and Conscience and Threats to the Right to Serve
2:10 - 2:25 PM
2:25 - 3:25 PM
In Vitro Fertilization
3:25 - 4:25 PM
The Present and Future Prospect of Treating Disabilities with Stem Cells
4:25 - 4:40 PM
4:40 - 5:40 PM
Understanding the Cross of Infertility: Medicine, Ethics, Hope, and Joy
5:10 - 6:15 PM
Closing Remarks and Wine & Cheese Reception


Professor of Pediatrics, The Ohio State University

Ashley K. Fernandes, MD, PhD, is the Associate Director of the Center for Bioethics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, and a Professor of Pediatrics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Dr. Fernandes received an MD from The Ohio State University, a PhD in Philosophy from Georgetown University, and an MA in Philosophy from Johns Hopkins University, with a focus on bioethics. He directs ethics education for pediatric residents at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. His scholarly interests include Catholic Christian bioethics, Medicine and the Holocaust studies, pediatric ethics, and philosophical anthropology as it relates to medical practice. He has presented his work at international forums, and is the author of scores of peer-reviewed publications and three book chapters. After a decade as a hospitalist, he is now an academic primary care pediatrician and has been an expert witness in court cases defending the rights of Christian healthcare professionals and prolife organizations. Dr. Fernandes is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Pediatricians, an elected member of the AAP’s national Executive Committee on Bioethics, a member of the AOA Medical Honor Society, and a member of the Gold Humanism Honor Society, receiving the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine award twice—in 2020 and in 2010. He has been awarded OSU’s highest honors for teaching, including the Award in Mentorship, Professor of the Year Award, and Master Teacher Award. He is an active member of the Catholic Medical Association and is part of their national speaker board, and a member of Ohio Right to Life’s Board of Trustees. Outside of medicine, his interests include hiking in the National Parks, history, travel, and tennis. He lives with his wife and two boys in Dublin, Ohio.

Professor of Philosophy, Loyola Marymount Univeristy

Dr. Christopher Kaczor (rhymes with razor) is Professor of Philosophy at Loyola Marymount University. He received appointments as a member of the James Madison Society of Princeton University, the Pontifical Academy for Life of Vatican City, and a Consultor to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He graduated from the Honors Program of Boston College and earned a Ph.D. four years later from the University of Notre Dame. He has written more than 100 scholarly articles. A Fulbright Scholar and an award winning author, his fifteen books include Disputes in Bioethics, Abortion Rights: For and Against, 365 Days to Deeper Faith,  The Gospel of Happiness, The Seven Big Myths about Marriage,  A Defense of Dignity, The Seven Big Myths about the Catholic Church, The Ethics of Abortion, O Rare Ralph McInerny: Stories and Reflections on a Legendary Notre Dame Professor, Thomas Aquinas on the Cardinal Virtues; Life Issues-Medical Choices; Thomas Aquinas on Faith, Hope, and Love; The Edge of Life, and Proportionalism and the Natural Law Tradition. Dr. Kaczor’s views have been in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, National Review, NPR, BBC, EWTN, ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, MSNBC, TEDx, and The Today Show.

Vice President of Curriculum and Director of Clergy Initiatives, St. John Paul II Foundation

Dr. Roland Millare, a native Houstonian, serves as the Vice President of Curriculum and the 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 enjoys the gift of life and love with his beautiful wife Veronica and their three children.

Vice President and Research Director, Charlotte Lozier Institute

Dr. David A. Prentice is Vice President and Research Director for the Charlotte Lozier Institute, Adjunct Professor of Molecular Genetics at the John Paul II Institute, The Catholic University of America, and Advisory Board Chair for the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center, a unique comprehensive stem cell center in Kansas that he was instrumental in creating.  Previously he served at Family Research Council, and prior to that spent almost 20 years as Professor of Life Sciences at Indiana State University, and Adjunct Professor of Medical and Molecular Genetics, Indiana University School of Medicine. Dr. Prentice received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Kansas, and was at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of Texas Medical School-Houston before joining Indiana State University where in addition to his research and teaching, he served as Acting Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences and Assistant Chair of Life Sciences. He has been recognized with various awards, established Stem Cell Research Facts, an educational website providing scientific facts about adult stem cells, and is a founding member of Do No Harm: The Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics, and an advisory board member for the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity. 

Staff Ethicist, Nurse Planner, and Assistant Professor of Nursing

DiAnn Ecret joined the National Catholic Bioethics center during the summer of 2016. DiAnn is a staff ethicist, nurse planner and a a full time Assistant Professor of Nursing at Ave Maria University. DiAnn graduated from Our Lady of Lourdes School of Nursing in 1987, completed her BSN & MSN from Wilmington University, an MA certification in theology/ethics from Villanova University. She completed her PhD in Health Care Ethics at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2017. DiAnn has 35 years of combined nursing experience in adult, pediatric, and neonatal critical care nursing, nursing management and nursing education. DiAnn teaches undergraduate nursing at Ave Maria University, is on the Health Care Task Force at Life Perspectives, serves as a member of the President’s Bioethics Committee at the University of Mary of Minnesota, and volunteers as an ethics consultant for Be Not Afraid.   DiAnn is married to her husband Mike for 34 years, with 4 children, and 2 grandchildren.

Associate Professor, Neurobiology and Anatomy, University of Utah, School of Medicine

Maureen Condic Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Utah, School of Medicine, with an adjunct appointment in the Department of Pediatrics. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago, her doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley, and postdoctoral training at the University of Minnesota. Since her appointment at the University of Utah in 1997, Dr. Condic's primary research focus has been the development and regeneration of the nervous system. In 1999, she was awarded the Basil O'Connor Young Investigator Award for her studies of peripheral nervous system development. In 2002, she was named a McKnight Neuroscience of Brain Disorders Investigator, in recognition of her research in the field of spinal cord repair and regeneration. In addition to her scientific research, Dr. Condic teaches both graduate and medical students. Her teaching focuses primarily on embryonic development, and she is Director for Human embryology in the University of Utah, School of Medicine’s curriculum. Dr. Condic has a strong commitment to public education and science literacy.

Obstetrician-Gynecologist, Novant Health Triad OB/GYN

Alexis Simon, MD, of Novant Health Triad Obstetrics and Gynecology, attended undergraduate and medical school at the University of Missouri – Columbia before completing residency training at Mercy Hospital – St. Louis.  She then completed the Saint John Paul the Great Fellowship in Natural Procreative Technology at the Pope Paul VI Institute in Omaha, Nebraska.  She practices full spectrum obstetric and gynecologic medicine with a special interest in endometriosis and infertility following the teachings of the Catholic Church, in Winston Salem North Carolina.  When not busy working, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Don, and children Chase, Adalynn, Bryce, and Eden.



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

The AMA Designation Statement
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.


  • Provide empirical data as to when life begins. Review data that supports the claim that life begins at fertilization. Identify and rebut common arguments against the belief that life begins at conception.

  • Review the types of stem cells and stem cell treatment options that are currently available for clinical care. Consider the ethical implications of using stem cells for this patient population. Describe the current status of bench research and medical application of treatment of disabilities with stem cells.

  • Discuss the true meaning of freedom according to the classical ethical tradition. Describe a well-formed conscience and the basic human right to discharge one’s conscience. Identify threats to conscience faced by medical providers today. Identify protections and legal rights of medical providers in the face of threats to the right to serve.

  • Describe ways in which the medical team can help parents prepare following poor prenatal diagnosis. Consider the ethics, legal, and medical criteria involved with prenatal diagnosis. Identify new technologies and safe options for prenatal diagnosis.

  • Describe the medical options for a family struggling with infertility. Provide insight into the emotional and psychological suffering associated with infertility. Identify best practices for medical treatment, psycho-social support, and intervention on behalf of patients. 

  • Describe IVF and the foundational rationale for why IVF is a “life” issue. Identify the rules and side effects of IVF. Discuss infertility and IVF within the context of the principles of maximizing the good and doing no harm. Identify medically successful alternatives to IVF.

  • Describe the physiological causation of ectopic pregnancy. Discuss the moral challenges of ectopic pregnancy. Identify morally and medically appropriate interventions available to the provider and the patient.  


The National Association of Catholic Chaplains has approved this program for 7 Continuing Education Hours. Please be sure to select the General Admission or Clergy/Religious (if applicable) ticket option and request a certificate of completion on your registration form. For questions, please email [email protected]

Social Workers

The St. John Paul II Foundation can provide a certificate of completion for up to 7 hours of continuing education for social workers. Please be sure to select the General Admission or Clergy/Religious (if applicable) ticket option and request a certificate of completion on your registration form. For questions, please email [email protected]


Cathedral of St. Patrick

1621 Dilworth Rd E
Charlotte, NC 28203

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





    1177 W Loop South, Ste. 940
    Houston, TX 77027


    P.O. Box 5927
    Katy, TX 77491