Bishop Robert Barron is the founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries and bishop of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester in Minnesota. He is also the host of CATHOLICISM, a groundbreaking, award-winning documentary about the Catholic Faith, which aired on PBS.

Bishop Barron is a #1 Amazon bestselling author and has published numerous books, essays, and articles on theology and the spiritual life. He is a religion correspondent for NBC and has also appeared on FOX NewsCNN, and EWTN.

Bishop Barron's website, WordOnFire.org, reaches millions of people each year, and he is one of the world's most followed Catholics on social media. His regular YouTube videos have been viewed over 25 million times and he has over 1.5 million followers on Facebook.


The Protestant Reformation


Jared Zimmerer is the Senior Director of the Word on Fire Institute and Dean of Pastoral Fellows. He holds a Master’s Degree in Theology from Holy Apostles College and Seminary and a PhD in Humanities from Faulkner University. 

He and his wife Jessica live in North Texas with their six children. He is an author, speaker, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology. 

He spent four years as the Director of Adult Catechesis and Family Life at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Parish in Grapevine, Texas before joining the team at Word on Fire.

He has written two books, The Ten Commandments of Lifting Weights and Man Up! Becoming the New Catholic Renaissance Man. Jared has appeared on EWTN and has been interviewed on numerous radio shows and podcasts.


8 Principles of Word on Fire


Robert Mixa is the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Fellow of Catholic Education. He holds a Master of Theological Studies (MTS) degree from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute at CUA and a BA in Philosophy from Saint Louis University. Prior to working at the Institute, he taught theology and philosophy at Carmel Catholic High School. 

Robert has been a part of the Word on Fire community for many years. His passion is to contribute to the renewal of Catholic education and share the rich intellectual and spiritual tradition of the Church.

Dr. Christopher Kaczor


Dr. Christopher Kaczor is the St. Thomas Aquinas Fellow for the Renewal of Catholic Intellectual Life and the Dean of Academic Fellows. He is also Professor of Philosophy at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He holds a Ph.D. (1996) from the University of Notre Dame and did post- doctoral work in Germany at the Universität zu Köln.

He has authored several books, the latest of which is The Seven Big Myths about the Catholic Church (Ignatius, 2012) and Life Issues, Medical Choices (co-authored with Dr. Janet Smith, Servant, 2016).

Dr. Kaczor's research on issues of ethics, philosophy, and religion has been featured in The Wall Street JournalHuffington PostNational Review, NPR, BBC, EWTN, ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, MSNBC, and The Today Show.



Dr. Holly Ordway is the Cardinal Francis George Fellow of Faith and Culture at the Word on Fire Institute. She is also Visiting Professor of Apologetics at Houston Baptist University at Houston Baptist University; she holds a PhD in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is the author of Tolkien's Modern Reading: Middle-earth Beyond the Middle Ages, Apologetics and the Christian Imagination: An Integrated Approach to Defending the Faith (Emmaus Road, 2017) and Not God’s Type: An Atheist Academic Lays Down Her Arms (Ignatius, 2014).

Dr. Ordway is also a published poet, and a Subject Editor for the Journal of Inklings Studies. Her academic work focuses on the writings of the Inklings, especially C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.


Imaginative Apologetics


Andrew Petiprin is the the Venerable Fulton J. Sheen Fellow of Popular Culture at the Word on Fire Institute. He is an author and former Anglican cleric who came into full communion with the Catholic Church on January 1, 2019. He earned an M.Div. from Yale University and an M.Phil from Oxford University.


Joe Zambon is the St. Thérèse of Lisieux Fellow for Word on Fire Communities at the Word on Fire Institute. He studied ministry, Scripture, and ethics at Dominican University College in Ottawa, Ontario. His passion is communicating the love of Christ through music, writing soulful songs and heartfelt lyrics for worship sets and “introspective folk” performances. He toured across North America with the release of his six studio albums: “Love Is;” “Brothers;” “Sleeper, Rise;” “There and Here;” “You Are I Am;” and “Coming Home.” His inspirational speaking and singing has taken him to stages worldwide, from the Steubenville Youth Conference in the US, to World Youth Day 2008 in Australia, to the Divine Retreat Center in India. He also spent eight years as a pastoral associate and campus minister at York University in Toronto. In his role at Word on Fire, Zambon facilitates local and online communities of evangelists, helping to form them in the Word on Fire spirituality and mission.


Dr. Richard DeClue is the Cardinal Henri de Lubac Fellow in Theology at the Word on Fire Institute. In addition to his undergraduate degree in theology (Belmont Abbey College), he earned three ecclesiastical degrees in theology at the Catholic University of America. He specializes in systematic theology with a particular interest and expertise in the thought of Joseph Ratzinger / Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. His STL thesis treated Ratzinger’s Eucharistic ecclesiology in comparison to the Eastern Orthodox theologian John Zizioulas. His doctoral dissertation expounded and evaluated Ratzinger’s theology of divine revelation. Dr. DeClue has published articles in peer-reviewed journals on Ratzinger’s theology, and he taught a college course on the thought of Pope Benedict XVI. He is also interested in the ecclesiology of Henri de Lubac, the debate over nature and grace, and developing a rapprochement between Communio (ressourcement) theology and Thomism.


Dr. Matthew Petrusek is the Servais Pinckaers Fellow of Catholic Ethics at the Word on Fire Institute. He received an MA (Yale University) and PhD (University of Chicago) in religious ethics and is currently associate professor of theology at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He specializes in Christian ethics, though lectures broadly, in English and Spanish, on philosophy, theology, and the Catholic intellectual tradition.

In addition to serving as a WOFI fellow, he is host of the show Reasons to Believe at WordNet TV, co-author of Two Rules for Life: A Christian Response to Jordan Peterson (under contract with WOFI Press), co-editor of Value and Vulnerability: Contemporary Interfaith Dialogue on Human Dignity (University of Notre Dame Press), and has published in numerous academic journals. He lives with his wife and children in the Inland Empire in Southern California.


Re-enchanting the Secular



Stephen Bullivant is Professor of Theology and the Sociology of Religion, and Director of the Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society. He holds doctorates in Theology (Oxford, 2009) and Sociology (Warwick, 2019). He joined St Mary’s in 2009, having previously held posts at Heythrop College, London, and Wolfson College, Oxford. Professor Bullivant has also held Visiting fellowship at the Institute for Social Change (University of Manchester), Blackfriars Hall (University of Oxford), and the Institute for Advanced Studies (University College London).

Prof Bullivant has published ten books, including: Mass Exodus: Catholic Disaffiliation in Britain and America since Vatican II (OUP, 2019), Why Catholics Leave, What They Miss, and How They Might Return (Paulist, 2019; with C. Knowles, H. Vaughan-Spruce, and B. Durcan), The Oxford Dictionary of Atheism (OUP, 2016; with L. Lee), and The Trinity: How Not to Be a Heretic (Paulist, 2015). He is currently co-editing a two-volume Cambridge History of Atheism (CUP, forthcoming) with Michael Ruse, with whom he previously co-edited The Oxford Handbook of Atheism (OUP, 2013).


Dr. Damian Ference


Fr. Damian Ference is a priest of the Diocese of Cleveland. He graduated from Borromeo Seminary/John Carroll University in 1998. After earning his M.A. and M.Div. from Saint Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology, he was ordained for the diocese of Cleveland in 2003. In 2009 he earned his licentiate in philosophy from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.

He has served at Borromeo Seminary in Wickliffe, Ohio as Director of Human Formation and Assistant Professor of Philosophy, and is currently a doctoral student in philosophy at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas in Rome, Italy.

He is the founder and director of Tolle Lege Summer Institute and is a lifetime member of the Flannery O’Connor Society.


To the Peripheries!
Dr. Jennifer Frey


Dr. Jennifer Frey is currently an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of South Carolina.

Previously, she was a Collegiate Assistant Professor of Humanities at the University of Chicago. She earned her PhD in philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh. She is also a wife and mother of six.



Fr. Stephen Gadberry is a native of Wynne, Arkansas and a Catholic priest for the Diocese of Little Rock, ordained on May 28, 2016. When not preaching at the pulpit, you can find him exercising, spending time outdoors, coaching a CrossFit class or playing with his dogs, Murph and Shorty. He was featured on Episode 1 of season 10 of America Ninja Warrior in 2018. To relax his soul, he enjoys listening to music, as well as making music on the piano, guitar and harmonica.

In addition to his duties as pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Batesville, he serves as pastor of St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church in Newport, AR. Father Stephen is also a veteran of the United States Air Force.


The People You Will Meet


Dr. Matt Nelson holds a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Toronto, and a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Regina. He is currently pursuing a M.A. in philosophy from Holy Apostles College and Seminary.

Matt is also the author of Just Whatever: How to Help the Spiritually Indifferent Find Beliefs That Really Matter (Catholic Answers Press, 2018). He has been a regular contributor to the Catholic Answers Online Magazine, Strange Notions, and the Word on Fire blog. He has appeared on Salt and Light Television, and has been interviewed on Catholic Answers Live, EWTN Radio, Relevant Radio, Redeemer Radio, Ave Maria Radio, and Breadbox Media, and a number of podcasts.

Matt currently resides in Texas with his wife, Amanda, and their three children.


Reaching the Indifferent
Leah Libresco


Leah Libresco has worked as a statistics professor, a data journalist, and a Bayesian probability instructor. She grew up as an atheist and converted to Catholicism while studying at Yale.

Through various relationships and reading the likes of Lewis and Chesterton, Leah began to learn more and more about the Catholic faith and was received into the Catholic Church in November 2012. Her conversion unfolded through her popular blog, Unequally Yoked, and was also covered by various media outlets including CNN, NBC News, and TheBlaze.

Leah is the author of two books, Arriving at Amen (Ave Maria Press, 2015) and Building the Benedict Option (Ignatius Press, 2018). She continues to write about faith, philosophy, math, and musical theatre on her blog, and her writing has appeared in The Washington PostFirst ThingsThe Weekly StandardThe American InterestThe American ConservativeAmericaFare Forward, and many other outlets. 



Fr. David Meconi, S.J. is an Associate Professor of Patristics at St. Louis University. He received his License in Sacred Theology from the University of Innsbruck and a D.Phil (Oxon.) from Oxford University. He is a leading expert in the work and life of St. Augustine and Early Christianity.



Paul Murray, OP, an Irish Dominican friar, lives in Rome where he teaches courses at the Angelicum University on the literature of the Western mystical tradition. He is a Fellow of the Word on Fire Institute and has published many books, including St. Catherine of Siena: Mystic of Fire, Preacher of Freedom, A Journey with Jonah: The Spirituality of Bewilderment, Scars: Essays, Poems, and Meditations on Affliction; Aquinas at Prayer: The Bible, Mysticism, and Poetry; and God's Spies: Michelangelo, Shakespeare, and Other Poets of Vision.


Dr. Anthony Pagliarini


Dr. Anthony Pagliarini grew up in northeastern Pennsylvania (Wilkes-Barre). After earning his BA in theology and philosophy at Notre Dame, he taught high school in a Catholic mission parish in Belize. He then moved to Rome to study theology at the Angelicum and work as a guide in the Vatican Necropolis (the "Scavi"). He spent the following three years in Austria completing masters work at the International Theological Institute. He then returned to Rome for further study at Pontifical Biblical Institute.

Dr. Pagliarini married his wife Katie in 2010 and returned to Notre Dame to begin doctoral work in Old Testament. In 2015, after successfully completing 27th grade and writing a very long paper, they let him graduate. Anthony and Katie live in South Bend with their four children. They teach in the Department of Theology at Notre Dame, where Anthony is also the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies.



Haley Stewart is a Fellow of the Word on Fire Institute. She is a homeschooling mother of four, wife to a whiskey maker, co-host of The Fountains of Carrots Podcast, and the author of The Grace of Enough (Ave Maria, 2018). 



Tod Worner is a husband, father, Catholic convert & practicing internal medicine physician. He is also the Managing Editor for the Word on Fire Institute Journal Evangelization and Culture.

His blog, “Catholic Thinking”, is found at Aleteia.com. He also writes for Patheos (“A Catholic Thinker”) and the National Catholic Register. Follow him on Twitter @thinkercatholic.


Dr. Stacy Trasancos


Stacy A. Trasancos earned a PhD in Chemistry from Penn State University and a MA in Dogmatic Theology from Holy Apostles College and Seminary.

Before becoming Catholic, she worked as a chemist for DuPont before leaving to raise children. Now she teaches chemistry and physics for Kolbe Academy and theology and science courses for Holy Apostles and Seton Hall University. 

She has written numerous articles for Catholic publications, such as U.S. CatholicSt. Austin’s ReviewThe Integrated Catholic LifeNational Catholic RegisterCatholic Answers Magazine, and Catholic World Report.

She is the author of Science Was Born of Christianity: The Teaching of Fr. Stanley L. Jaki (Habitation of Chimam, 2014) and Particles of Faith: A Catholic Guide to Navigating Science (Ave Maria Press, 2016).


Science for Evangelists
Elizabeth Scalia


Elizabeth Scalia is a Benedictine Oblate and author of several books, including the award-winning Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life (Ave Maria Press) and Little Sins Mean a Lot (OSV). 

Formerly serving as Word on Fire's Editor-at-Large, she also served as Editor-in-Chief of the English edition of Aleteia and as Managing Editor of the Catholic section of Patheos.com. Elizabeth blogs as “The Anchoress” at http://www.theanchoress.com. She is married and living on Long Island.