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 Converging Roads 2019:
  • "The Converging Roads conference is so important… it helped me understand things I had not understood about health care, so I encourage everyone to attend the next conference."
  • "This was a high-quality event. The individual presentation topics built off of each other very well; the diversity of particular expertise of each speaker was well-rounded; and most importantly, the unity of Catholic and professional witness of each speaker was genuine and authentic, with both a professional and personal element. This is the kind of witness that we need to inspire the world in the New Evangelization."



In-Person Ticket Options:
  • Physicians/Physician Assistants: $149
  • Nurses/Nurse Practitioners: $129
  • General Admission*: $79
  • Medical residents, clergy, or religious*: $69
  • Student Scholarship Rate**: $15
Online Ticket Options:
  • Online tickets include access to the livestream on Saturday, March 26, as well as additional access to the recordings from noon CT on Sunday, March 27 to 11:59 pm CT Wednesday, March 30.
  • Physicians/Physician Assistants: $119
  • Nurses/Nurse Practitioners: $99
  • General Admission*: $49
  • Medical residents, clergy, or religious*: $39
  • Student Scholarship Rate**: $0
  • *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 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, Chaplain certificates of completion can be requested upon registration for continuing education purposes.

Student Scholarships:
  • Undergraduate, graduate, nursing, and medical students are eligible to register for Converging Roads at our scholarship admission rate. If you are a student currently enrolled in classes and would like to attend the conference, please complete our student scholarship form prior to registering for the conference (click here). If you feel called to contribute to our scholarship fund, you can do so at the time of registration.

Refund Information:
    • If you are no longer able to attend the conference, after purchasing your ticket, you may choose to transfer your registration fees to a student in need, or request a refund.
    • All refunds must be requested 2 weeks prior to the conference. The last day to request a refund is Friday, March 11. All refund requests made on or after March 12 will not be accepted, but the funds will automatically be transferred to a student in need. Please email [email protected] to transfer your registration or request a refund.


Pope Francis on the Good Samaritan and Practice of Medicine
  • Rev. Peter Fonseca
  • Gender Identity Discordance: Supporting Patients and Families
  • Rev. Philip Bochanski
  • Accompanying the Sick and the Dying: Palliative Care and Hospice
  • Sarah E. Hetue Hill, MA, PhD


  • The Hippocratic Oath: Countering a Secularist Bioethics
  • Thomas A. Cavanaugh, PhD
  • Vocation of Medicine
  • Frank E. Schmidt, MD
  • Vaccines: Moral Obligations, Prudential Judgements, Personal Responsibility, and the Common Good
  • Michael J. Deem, PhD
  • Accompanying the Disabled in Utero and First Year of Life: Medical and Pastoral Interventions
  • Robin Pierucci, MD, MA


7:00 AM
Check-In/Registration Opens
7:30 AM
8:30 AM
Opening Remarks
8:40 - 9:40 AM
Pope Francis on the Good Samaritan and Practice of Medicine 
9:45 - 10:45 AM
Gender Identity Discordance: Supporting Patients and Families
10:45 - 11:00 AM
11:00 - 12:00 PM
Accompanying the Sick and the Dying: Palliative Care and Hospice
12:00 - 1:40 PM
Hippocratic Oath Luncheon
12:35 - 1:35 PM
The Hippocratic Oath: Countering a Secularist Bioethics
1:40 - 2:00 PM
1:45 - 2:30 PM
Sacrament of Reconciliation
2 :00 - 3:00 PM
Vocation of Medicine
3:05 - 4:05 PM
Vaccines: Moral Obligations, Prudential Judgements, Personal Judgements, Personal Responsibility, and the Common Good
4:05 - 4:20 PM
4:20 - 5:20 PM
Accompanying the Disabled in Utero and First Year of Life: Medical and Pastoral Interventions
5:20 - 5:30  PM
Closing Remarks
5:30 - 6:30 PM
Wine and Cheese Reception


Neonatologist and Medical Director

Dr. Robin Pierucci is Jewish convert to Catholicism, a wife, mother of three, and a practicing neonatologist. She also has a master’s degree in bioethics as well as completing the National Catholic Bioethics Center ethics certificate course. In addition to her full-time clinical duties within the NICU, Dr. Pierucci remains active in perinatal palliative care, as well as leading ongoing performance improvement projects for drug exposed infants and their families.  She has multiple publications in peer and non-peer reviewed journals and has spoken around the country on multiple perinatal and ethical topics.  Additionally, Dr. Pierucci has appeared on a number of programs aired on EWTN including, Women of Grace, The Journey Home, EWTN Live, and her documentary about in vitro fertilization.  She has been a member of the Catholic Medical Association for many years and has recently became an associate scholar with the Charlotte Lozier Institute and a board member of the American College of Pediatrics.

Professor of Philosophy, University of San Francisco

Thomas A. Cavanaugh, Ph.D. is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of San Francisco, San Francisco, California. He is an Executive Board Member of both the American Catholic Philosophical Association (of which he will be president in 2020) and the Philosophers in Jesuit Education. Professor Cavanaugh has his B.A. Degree from Thomas Aquinas College and his Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame. Professor Cavanaugh has published a book with Oxford University Press on the Hippocratic Oath entitled, Hippocrates’ Oath and Asclepius’ Snake: The Birth of the Medical Profession (2018). At the University of San Francisco he regularly teaches about the Hippocratic Oath and medical ethics more generally. He has done so for the past twenty-five years. His other book entitled Double-effect Reasoning and published by Oxford University Press (2006) also concerns medical ethics, as do many of his articles. In 2019, Dr. Cavanaugh received the Smith Award from University Faculty for Life for his scholarship in medical ethics.

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.

Executive Director, Courage International

Father Philip G. Bochanski, MDiv, MA is a Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and Executive Director of Courage International. He is a member of the Catholic Medical Association. Father Bochanski received the degrees of Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Theology from Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, Overbrook, in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. Father Bochanski has more than twenty-two years’ experience in pastoral care, including parish, nursing home and hospital settings, as well as 11 years as chaplain for the Courage apostolate, which provides pastoral support for people who experience same-sex attractions and desire to live a chaste life. He is the author of numerous talks, articles and book chapters on pastoral care, including the chapter “Pastoral Care of the Sick and Dying” in Catholic Witness in Health Care: Practicing Medicine in Truth and Love” (Travaline & Mitchell, eds., CUA Press, 2016).

MICHAEL J. DEEM, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Human Genetics, Core Faculty, Center for Bioethics and Health Law, Director, Consortium Ethics Program, University of Pittsburgh

Michael J. Deem, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Genetics and Core Faculty in the Center for Bioethics & Health Law at the University of Pittsburgh, and serves as the Director of the University’s Consortium Ethics Program, which provides continuing ethics education to health care professionals in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio. He is also a Resident Fellow of the Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh, subject faculty for the Children’s Mercy Hospital Pediatric Ethics Certificate Program, a member of the Hospital Ethics Committee at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and a member of the Modern Fertility Care Collaborative. Dr. Deem received his Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and completed the Pediatric Ethics and Genomic Fellowship at Children’s Mercy Hospital. He is the author of more than 20 scholarly articles and book chapters on philosophy of science, bioethics, ethical theory, and empirical health research. He is currently completing a monograph for Cambridge University Press on fundamental concepts in genomic medicine, and is co-editing the Oxford University of Handbook of Genetic Counseling and Nursing Ethics: Normative Foundations, Advanced Concepts, and Emerging Issues for Oxford University Press. Dr. Deem lives outside Pittsburgh with his wife, Katerina, and their five children. He is a candidate in the Deacon Formation Program of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh and works in shipping and quality control for Katerina’s Catholic company, Little Way Design Co.

Archdiocese of St. Louis, St. Louis University

Fr. Peter Fonseca, a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, holds a Master of Arts in Theology, a Master of Science in Bioethics, and a Master of Divinity degree, as well as a certificate in Catholic healthcare ethics from the National Catholic Bioethics Center. Having previously served as a parish priest, he is now assigned as the director of continuing formation for priests for the Archdiocese of St. Louis while pursuing a PhD in health care ethics at the Albert Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics at St. Louis University. His research focuses on the convergence of medical ethics and the pastoral needs of the faithful. In addition to his canonical assignments Fr. Fonseca serves as a bioethics consultant to various parties in the archdiocese and greater St. Louis area. He has presented at various conferences and seminars across the country and has contributed to local television and national radio programs.

Clinical Professor of Surgery in the Department of Surgery of the Louisiana State University Health

Dr. Frank E. Schmidt was born in Ocean Springs, Mississippi and graduated from Notre Dame High School in 1951.  He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1954 and from the School of Medicine of Tulane University in 1958.  Following a rotating internship at Charity Hospital he completed his residency in Surgery, a Research Fellowship in Cardiovascular Disease and Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery on the Tulane Surgical Service at The Charity Hospital of Louisiana in New Orleans.  He practiced in New Orleans beginning in 1965, served in the U. S. Navy from 1966 to 1968, including a tour of duty as Officer in Charge of Surgical Team 10 in the Republic of South Viet Nam in 1967.  He is currently Clinical Professor of Surgery in the Department of Surgery of the Louisiana State University Health Sciences in New Orleans.



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 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.

Click here for full CME/CNE details

The National Association of Catholic Chaplains has approved this program for 7.25 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]

Social Workers

This program has been approved for 7.0 General hours of continuing education contact hours by the National Association of Social Workers, Louisiana Chapter as authorized by the Louisiana State Board of Social Work Examiners, and may be applied toward the continuing education requirements for licensure renewal.


Notre Dame Seminary

2901 S Carrollton Ave, New Orleans, LA 70118

For More Information:
Conference Coordinators
[email protected]





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


    P.O. Box 5927
    Katy, TX 77491