2009 Conference

    Johnnette S. Benkovic is Founder and President of Living His Life Abundantly® International, Inc., a Catholic evangelization apostolate with outreaches in television, radio, print, and internet communications. She is also Founder of Women of Grace®, a Catholic apostolate for Christian women that features a number of outreaches including conferences, curricula, study groups and more.

     After years of being a non-practicing Catholic, Johnnette experienced a deep conversion back to her Catholic faith in 1981and discerned a call to share the Gospel message through the media. She has been a consistent presence in Catholic radio since 1987 and in Catholic television since 1988.

     Johnnette is Executive Producer of The Abundant Life (seen internationally on EWTN), a television program that discusses contemporary issues from a Catholic perspective. She is also host of Women of Grace Live, a one hour call-in radio talk show that airs live five times a week. She is heard nationally on AM/FM stations and internationally via short wave, and satellite radio.

In addition, Johnnette is a popular conference speaker, retreat conductor, and seminar presenter, and has been published in major Catholic magazines.  She is the author of several books including Full of Grace:  Women and the Abundant Life (St. Anthony Messenger Press), Grace-Filled Moments (Our Sunday Visitor), Living Life Abundantly:  Stories of People Who Have  Encountered God (St. Anthony Messenger Press), Experience Grace in Abundance:  Strategies For Your Spiritual Life (Simon Peter Press) and The New Age Counterfeit (Queenship). 

     Johnnette was married to her husband, Anthony, for nearly 34 years and became widowed in 2007. She is the mother of three adult children, two living.

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy Award winning journalist with extensive experience in both secular and religious journalism. Her writing covers a variety of topics, with her particular interest being matters of the Church, faith, culture, politics and the media.

Sheila began her journalist career working for Dayton Journal Herald newspaper in Ohio, and then for the Dayton CBS affiliate. In Chicago, she reported for Time magazine for more than twenty years, having reported on a number of Time cover stories. As well, she contributed to the Chicago Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business.

    At Chicago’s NBC owned station (WMAQ-TV) she served as co-host of the Emmy Award winning program YOU, and guest-hosted a morning talk show.

    Sheila has been active in the religious media, with contributions to National Catholic Register, Crisis Magazine, Adoremus Bulletin, and Voices, the magazine published by Women for Faith in Family.

Entering radio broadcasting as a regular contributor, Sheila then hosted the popular radio shows The Right Questions and Issues and Answers on Relevant Radio, heard throughout the United States. She has also appeared as guest host on Relevant Radio, as well as on Ave Maria Radio. She currently broadcasts as host of ‘America’s Lifeline’ on the WGUL/Salem Network, and serves as Relevant Radio Network Correspondent and contributor to The Heart of the Matter on Catholic Radio International.

Besides covering news and analysis on InForum blog, Sheila contributes to MercatorNet.

She is married with two sons, one in major seminary who serves as editor of its magazine, and the other one studying English and History at a university, and writing for a community newspaper.

    Father Shane Tharp was born in Edmond , OK . After exploring many religious traditions during high school, he entered the Catholic Church at the age of 18. Before entering the seminary for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, he attended the University of Oklahoma for two years. He completed his undergraduate work at Conception Seminary College, Conception, MO, in 1995, graduating with a degree in Philosophy. From Conception, Fr. Tharp went on to study at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood , PA , just outside of Philadelphia. In 2000, he was awarded a Master of Arts, a Master of Divinity, and a Bachelor of Sacred Theology in the field of Systematic Theology. In the same year he was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese.

 Fr. Tharp currently serves as pastor of St. Wenceslaus in Prague and St. Michael in Meeker, and is the rector of the National Shrine of the Infant Jesus of Prague. He assists with various pro-life apostolates, including Rachel's Vineyard. 

Fr. Tharp also wrote the blogs Catholic Ragemonkey with co-authors Frs. Stephen Hamilton and J.C. Garrett, and Apologize and Don’t Be Sorry, an apologetics forum.  Emmaus Road Publishing will be publishing the first volume of his multi-part adult formation series this winter.