2o17 Speakers…

Father Robert Michael Kinnally

Father Robert was ordained to the priesthood in 2005 by then-Bishop William E. Lori (now Archbishop of Baltimore).  Born in Yonkers, New York to Ann O’Brien Kinnally and Robert S. Kinnally, Father Kinnally attended Iona Preparatory School in New Rochelle and Manhattan College in the Bronx where he earned a B.A. degree in English with a minor in French.  He holds a master’s degree in English and American Literature with a concentration in in Modern American Poetry from New York University.  Prior to entering the seminary, Father Kinnally had a twenty-year career in university admission and financial aid, serving as a director or dean at Pace University, the State University of New York at Purchase, the University of Bridgeport, and Sarah Lawrence College.  From 1997 to 2000 he was Dean of Admission and Financial Aid at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

An accomplished musician, Father Kinnally studied piano in New York at the studio of Elise Warren.  Beginning in 1974, he was organist and choir director in Catholic churches in New York City and Westchester.  In 1986 he served as organist and choir director at St. Augustine Cathedral in Bridgeport and has been a member of the American Guild of Organists since 1983.

Father Kinnally’s seminary studies commenced at St. John Fisher Seminary in Stamford, Connecticut where is served as rector from 2011 to 2016.  He completed a Pontifical Degree in Theology at the Catholic University of America in 2005.  His first assignment in the Diocese of Bridgeport was at St. Pius X Parish in Fairfield.  In 2009 Bishop Lori named Father Kinnally director of vocations.  In 2014 Bishop Caggiano appointed him chancellor of the diocese, a position he still holds.  He has served on several diocesan boards and committees including the Presbyteral Council, the Diocesan Synod Committee, the Clergy Assignment Board, the Family Life Committee, the Vocations Advisory Board, and the Advisory Committee to the Permanent Diaconate.

Since 2008, Father Kinnally has been a trustee of Sacred Heart University where he serves on the Academic Affairs and Enrollment and Student Life Committees.  In January of 2017 he became the thirteenth pastor of Saint Aloysius Parish in New Canaan, Connecticut.


Christopher Bell

Christopher Bell studied Scripture in Rome.  He has a post-master’s degree in Family Counseling from Iona College, an M.A. in Religious Education and Counseling from St. Joseph’s Seminary, and a B.S. in Journalism-Communications and International Relations from the University of Bridgeport.

Christopher received the inspiration to create Good Counsel while working and living at Covenant House in Times Square, a ministry for homeless youth.  Joining the Covenant House Community in 1979, where members prayed three hours a day and worked full-time for $10 a week, Christopher encountered the dire need for services for homeless pregnant women. He turned to his spiritual advisor, Franciscan priest and psychologist Fr. Benedict Groeschel, asking, “Why isn’t someone doing something about this?”  Fr. Groeschel said he would help him. Together they founded Good Counsel in 1985 in a former convent in Hoboken, N.J.

Christopher and his wife Joan have seven children, six of whom are adopted.  He has spoken extensively about his ministry to the media, various business groups, and U.S. and foreign churches.


John Toman

John is a committed Catholic with 40 years business management experience. After retiring from   CPA2Biz, a subsidiary of The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, John served as a consultant to the accounting industry, authored a training course focused on selling financial training and has led sales training seminars. In semi-retirement, John has used his business experience to serve the Catholic Church. He worked as a volunteer and employee of Catholic Radio concentrating on strategic planning and fund raising. He is a member of the Development Board of Catholic Charities and is a Project Manager for the Trenton diocese’s Faith in Our Future project.

John joined the AICPA in February 2002 and served as Vice President Conferences and Sales responsible for $41 million dollars revenue. His Conference Team’s responsibilities included content development, speaker recruitment, logistics, sponsorship and exhibit sales and print and electronic marketing. He also supervised selling training programs to firm, corporate and government clients and advertising in the AICPA’s print and electronic publications.

Prior to joining the AICPA, John served as Chief Operating Officer of Fulcrum Information Services Inc., a producer of legal and financial conferences.  His responsibilities included financial management, marketing, strategic planning, HR and investor relations.

Before his involvement in the conference industry, John spent twenty five years in Educational Publishing. He began his career as a Staff Accountant and Internal Auditor with Grolier Inc. and served as Branch Financial Manager, Branch Sales Manager, National Training Director and Western Regional Vice President before being appointed President of Grolier Interstate in 1980. Reporting to the parent company president, John supervised all sales, marketing, financial and administrative functions of the subsidiary.

John joined MacMillan Publishing in 1986 as Vice President of the PF Collier Educational Services Division. In this capacity he supervised both the sales and education services teams and worked closely with Catholic and other religious schools to implement innovative learning programs. During this period, he wrote monthly columns for several magazines and spoke regularly at educational conferences

.John and his spouse, Gabrielle, have 2 children and 5 grandchildren. They are currently members of St John the Baptist parish in Allentown, NJ, where they are Eucharistic Ministers and coordinate the Scripture study and adult education programs. John is a member of the Knights of Columbus serves on the Parish Finance Committee and is a Lector. Gabrielle coordinates Eucharistic Adoration.  They moved to NJ from NY where they were active in parish life. They introduced a marriage program entitled Teams of Our Lady and spoke regularly on the Marriage Sacrament. John served 4 years as President of the St. Patrick’s (Yorktown, NY) Parish Council and led a campaign that raised the funds to build a new church. He has spoken to men’s groups on topics ranging from scripture to religious freedom and male spirituality. He and Gabrielle coauthored a program entitled “Vision and Values in Today’s Family”.

John majored in Economics at Columbia University, studied accounting at the City University of NY and earned an MBA with distinction from Pace University. He is a graduate of “Preaching and Teaching for the Laity” and has attended a number of Scripture Study courses .


John Buonviaggio

John was born and raised on Staten Island where he continues to reside with his wife of 50 years, Ginny.  They are parishioners of Our Lady Help of Christians.  John and Ginny have three daughters and four grandchildren.  John worked for the NYC Department of Sanitation in lower Manhattan for nearly 20 years where he witnessed the plight of the homeless and destitute.  After retiring, John worked for several years at Arthur Kill prison.

John made a Cursillo forty years ago.  This was a transformative experience for John.  Since then, John has been called to minister to the homeless in the Bowery and to New York’s prison population.  He ministers prisoners through a program called Residents Encounter Christ (REC).  REC teams visit prisons to bring Christ’s message of love and forgiveness to the incarcerated.  John has visited every prison in New York State.  John has also ministered through Teenagers Encounter Christ (TEC) and Handicapped Encounter Christ (HEC).

John and Ginny spoke at the 2017 Lenten Mission at Our Lady Star of the Sea, Staten Island.  In addition, John gave a powerful account of his faith journey at the 2016 Catholic Men’s Conference at St. James the Apostle in Carmel, NY.


Deacon Paul Brisson

Deacon Paul Brisson attended Power Memorial Academy in Manhattan and received a bachelor’s degree from Iona College. He obtained his master’s in technology management from Polytechnic Institute of New York University. He has worked for several Fortune 500 companies during his career in technology management. In 1999, he and his wife, Joan, became parishioners of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Pelham Manor, now Our Lady of Perpetual Help and St. Catharine, Pelham Manor. Married for 27 years, the couple has two children, Timothy and Abigail.

Msgr. Dermot Brennan

Born in New York City in 1930, Msgr. Dermot Brennan attended Corpus Christi Parochial School, Cathedral College and St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie and was ordained in 1956. His ministry has included teaching for 12 years in archdiocesan high schools, 12 years as an assistant pastor and 25 years as a pastor, 5 at Our Lady of Victory Parish in Mt. Vernon, NY and 20 at St. Patrick’s Parish in Yorktown Heights, NY. He holds a Master’s Degree in Music Education from Teachers College, Columbia U, conducted the music for the papal Mass at Yankee Stadium in 1979, and has authored a book on using visuals in children’s homilies and performs Magic as a hobby. He is currently retired from parish administration but is still very active in priestly ministry.


Fr. John Michael Lee

A native of Toronto, Canada, He has preached across Canada, the USA, and Jamaica West Indies.Fr. John holds a BA, from the Passionist Monastic Seminary,; a B.Ed. from the University of Toronto; an M.A. from St. John’s University, a Master of Divinity from the University of St. Michael’s College and a Certificate of Theological Studies from The Institute for Spirituality and Worship at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. His ministry included youth outreach in parishes and schools, parish and retreat leadership, social justice advocacy, and adult education.Fr. John has been the Retreat Director at Bishop Molloy Retreat House since October 1, 2008.