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. To learn more about Converging Roads, click here.
  • Feedback from past attendees of Converging Roads:
  • "What I appreciated most about Converging Roads was the fact that each issue was treated with care and with nuance. It was not the same arguments I have always heard, and each issue was examined from multiple perspectives. Presenters were well informed in medicine, ethics, and Catholic teaching, providing well rounded presentations that honored both God and science."
  • "I’m so glad I attended. It was so insightful and gave me more knowledge on how to study more about human dignity, disabled persons and the correct way to explain our duty to others (as health care providers to our patients)."
  • "It is edifying to be with so many people trying to live their faith in a field that constantly challenges the truth."


Now Online

  • After careful consideration, the St. John Paul II Foundation and our presenting sponsors have decided to move  Converging Roads completely online. Please see below for updated ticket options and pricing.
  • We know that Converging Roads is a vital ministry to you as health care professionals, and we look forward to serving you through this conference. Continuing education credits for healthcare professionals will still be offered through the online conference. In light of the current circumstances, we are grateful to still offer this conference to you and pray it will be a meaningful day for your local medical community.




    • Ticket Options:
      • Ticket includes online access to the live conference on Saturday, March 6 and continued access for 72 hours following the conclusion of the conference.
    • Physician/Physician Assistant: $119
    • Nurse/Nurse Practitioner: $99
    • General Admission*: $49
    • (Other health care professionals and non-health care professionals)
    • Medical resident, clergy, or religious*: $39
    • Student Scholarship Rate**: Free of Charge
    • (Medical, and nursing, graduate, and undergraduate students)
  • *Not eligible for CME/CNE credits, however, Chaplain certificates of completion can be requested upon registration for continuing education purposes.
  • **Not eligible for CME/CNE credits.

Exhibitor and Sponsor Opportunities:
Please email [email protected] for more information about our online exhibitor/sponsor opportunities, and how your organization/company can share resources to this year's conference participants.


  • Medical Community’s Role in Countering Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia
  • William L. Toffler, MD
  • Proportionate vs Disproportionate Means and the Provision of Assisted Nutrition and Hydration
  • Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, PhD
  • End of Life Decision Making and Advance Directives
  • Sarah E. Hetue Hill, PhD
  • Clinical Aspects of End of Life Care
  • Becket Gremmels, PhD
  • Accompanying the Sick and Dying with Sacramental and Spiritual Care
  • Most Rev. Michael G. Duca and Rev. Ryan Hallford
  • Alleviating Suffering Through Palliative Care, Pain Management, and Hospice Care
  • Sarah E. Hetue Hill, PhD
  • Physician Heal Thyself: Dealing with Moral Distress in End of Life Care
  • Maricela P. Moffitt, MD, MPH, FACP


8:30 AM
  • Livestreamed Mass
  • Celebrated by Most Rev. Michael G. Duca
9:15 AM
Opening Remarks
9:25 - 10:25 AM
Proportionate vs Disproportionate Means and the Provision of Assisted Nutrition and Hydration
10:30 - 11:30 AM
End of Life Decision Making and Advance Directives
11:35 AM - 12:35 PM
Physician Heal Thy Self: Dealing with Moral Distress in End of Life Care
12:35 - 1:00 PM
Break for Lunch
1:00 - 2:00 PM
Alleviating Suffering through Palliative Care, Pain Management, and Hospice Care
2:05 - 3:05 PM
Accompanying the Sick and Dying with Sacramental and Spiritual Care
3:10 - 4:10 PM
The Medical Community's Role in Countering Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia
4:15 - 5:15 PM
Clinical Aspects of End of Life Care
5:15 PM
Closing Remarks


Professor Emeritus, Family Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University

Dr. William Toffler is Professor Emeritus of Family Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University where he practiced the full scope of family medicine and taught medical students and residents for more than 34 years. He is co-founder and National Director of Physicians for Compassionate Care Education Foundation  (PCCEF), a non-profit organization that promotes compassionate care for severely ill patients without sanctioning or assisting their suicide. PCCEF physicians affirm an ethic based on the principle that all human life is inherently of value and that the physician's roles are to heal illness, alleviate suffering, and provide comfort for the sick and dying. He is committed to defending the long-standing, medical prohibition against doing harm.  He has been a member of the Physicians Resource Council at Focus on the Family for more than 20 years.  He has frequently invited to speak about medical ethical issues at both national and international conferences and on US television and radio including the NPR, 60 Minutes, Good Morning America, as well as international media in Canada, Australia, the UK and Japan.

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.

Professor of Internal Medicine, University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix

Maricela P. Moffitt, MD, MPH, FACP graduated from the University of Texas Medical School at Houston in 1986. She is Board certified in Internal Medicine and has practice Medicine for 28 years in Arizona. She obtained a Masters degree in Public Health in 1994 at the University of Arizona. Her research interest include Tuberculosis and medical education. She is currently holds the academic rank of Professor of Medicine and serves as the Director of the Doctoring Curriculum at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix where she teaches communication and physical exam skills to medical students. She is a part-time Hospitalist at the VA Hospital in Phoenix. She has served on the 1st Way (a crisis pregnancy center) Board of Directors; The HOPE Mobile Ultrasound Unit Board; The national Catholic Medical Association Board (President 2012) and current Board member. She currently serves on the Phoenix Diocesan Medical Ethics Board, the Catholic Medical Association Phoenix Board and Livanta LLC Board (Healthcare Quality Improvement). She teaches with her husband in the RCIA program at Corpus Christi parish. She is married to Dr. Robert A. Moffitt. They have three adult children.

System Vice President of Theology and Ethics, CommonSpirit Health

Becket Gremmels, PhD is the System Vice President for Theology and Ethics at CommonSpirit Health.  CommonSpirit is a Catholic health system with over 140 hospitals in 21 states.  Dr. Gremmels received his PhD in Health Care Ethics from Saint Louis University, and his BA in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame.  He completed a Fellowship in Clinical Ethics at Saint Thomas West Hospital, in Nashville, Tennessee, and has worked as an ethicist in Catholic health care for 12 years.  His articles on bioethics have appeared in the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, Christina Bioethics, the Journal of Moral Theology, among others.  He and his wife have three children, ages 9, 6, and 3.

Bishop of the Roman Catholic Church of the Diocese of Baton Rouge, LA

Michael Gerard Duca, a native of Dallas, Texas, was ordained a priest on April 29, 1978, for the Diocese of Dallas.  On December 20, 2004, he was conferred the Title of Reverend Monsignor.  He was called to the order of bishop on April 1, 2008, for service in North Louisiana.  On May 19, 2008, he was ordained and installed as the second Bishop of the Diocese of Shreveport.  On June 26, 2018, he was appointed as Bishop-designate for the Diocese of Baton Rouge and installed as the 6th Bishop on August 24, 2018. Bishop Duca attended Holy Trinity Seminary in Dallas from 1970 to 1978 and also studied in Rome from 1994 to 1996 at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas-Angelicum University where he received his License in Canon Law. During his active ministry as priest and prior to his appointment as diocesan bishop, Bishop Duca served in many different parishes in the Dallas area, including:  All Saints Catholic Church, St. Patrick Catholic Church and St. Luke Catholic Church.  He also previously served on a diocesan level in the Diocese of Dallas as Vocations Director, member of the Personnel Board, Campus Minister at Southern Methodist University, member of the Presbyteral Council, member of Board of Consultors, and Director of Ongoing Formation of Priests.  From 1996 to 2008, he served as Rector at Holy Trinity Seminary in Dallas. Bishop Duca presently serves as a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops and Immediate Past President of the Louisiana Interchurch Conference.  He serves as a trustee to Notre Dame Seminary, New Orleans and St. Joseph Seminary, Covington, LA, as well as serving on the University of Dallas Board of Trustees.  He is a member of the St. Francis Medical Center Board of Directors, Monroe, LA, the Southeast Pastoral Institute (SEPI) Board of Directors, Miami, FL, the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, the Knights of Columbus-Fourth Degree, and the Knights of Peter Claver-Third & Fourth Degree.  In 2008, Bishop Duca received the Bishop Lynch High School Alumnus of the Year Award; in 2013 he received the University of Dallas’ Distinguished Alumni Award and in 2018 he received the Bishop Lynch High School Legacy Award.

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

Sarah Hill, PhD is the Regional Vice President of Mission Integration for CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System and the Children's Hospital of San Antonio. She is an executive committee member of the Supportive Care Coalition, a coalition of 19 Catholic health systems committed to advancing palliative care. She is also a member of the University of Pennsylvania's Palliative and Advanced Illness Research Center's External Advisory board, the Catholic Health Association's Theology and Ethics Committee, and the Florida Catholic Conferencce of Bishop's End of Life Care Committee. Dr. Hill received her B.S. degree from Marquette University, her M.A. from the University of West Florida and her PhD in Health Care Ethics from St. Louis University. Dr. Hill has delivered presentations including keynote addresses on ethics and palliative care at various national and regional events including the Catholic Health Association Annual Assembly, the Center to Advance Palliative Care annual assembly, the American Society on Aging, and the Supportive Care Congress and has written articles and a book chapter on ethics and palliative care.

Parochial Vicar, St. Aloysius Church

Rev. Ryan Hallford, MDiv is a Catholic priest at St. Aloysius Church in the Diocese of Baton Rouge and teaches Pastoral Care at Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University. Fr. Ryan received his BA in Philosophy and BA in Literature from Louisiana State University and Masters of Divinity from Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans.




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 Paull 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 Credit(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.

-Define proportionate and disproportionate means and 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).
-Discuss ethical principles related to pain management.
-Discuss case studies that apply the principles of pain management into patient care.
-Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of advance planning documents for future medical needs.
-Identify patient case examples demonstrating these issues and principles.
-Discuss the principle of free and informed consent and its relevance to advance planning documents.
-Discuss the importance of walking with a patient at the end of life.
-Identify specific measures which can assist patients to embrace peace.
-Share examples of struggle and success in accompanying patients and being a compassionate presence in the midst of suffering.
-Discuss the legal trends of physician assisted suicide in the U.S. and Louisiana.
-Identify ways in which the medical community can address physician assisted suicide in their respective areas of medicine.
-Describe the medical community’s long tradition of doing no harm to patients in the context of the push to treat suicide and euthanasia as medical treatments.
-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
-Identify the unique aspects of end of life care.
-Describe the ethical dilemmas that arise and how they can be addressed.
-Articulate the inner workings of the composite person, body, mind, and spirit.
-Describe the truth of the body, the truth of the mind, and the truth of the spirit, and religion’s role in upholding the dignity of the whole person.
-Discuss how “healing thyself” must take place within a genuine relationship between patients and physicians, and physicians with peers.

Social Workers

This program was approved for 7.0 General contact hour(s) of continuing education credit by the National Association of Social Workers – Louisiana Chapter as authorized by the Louisiana State Board of Social Work Examiners. Please 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]



The National Association of Catholic Chaplains has approved this program for 7.0 Continuing Education Hours. Please 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]


The Diocese of Baton Rouge MAT Certification Program has approved this program for 7.0 Enrichment Hours. Please 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]





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