Pre-Conference Institute Bios

Indianapolis skyline

Meet our Pre-Conference Institute Presenters:

Harry Dudley, D.Min.
Associate Director for Certification of Ecclesial Ministry for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Harry has ministered on the parish, diocesan, and national levels since 1966 primarily in the area of catechesis. Of his ministry, he writes:

“The privilege of accompanying so many in discerning and living out their call as lay ecclesial ministers is what I have found to be the greatest honor of my life. I have been truly blessed, both personally and professionally, to interview, train and support many catechetical, youth ministry and other pastoral leaders over my years in diocesan offices. For walking on that sacred ground I am most grateful.”


Zeni Fox, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita
Immaculate Conception Seminary
Seton Hall University

Zeni has been one of the leading academics in the area of lay ecclesial ministry, and was a major consultant in the development of Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord. She writes of the value NALM has been to her:

I began attending NALM conferences in the late 1980’s, after assuming the role of Director of Lay Ministry at the Seminary. NALM gave me a community of discourse, people committed to goals similar to mine, seeking models of lay formation at a time when much of this work was new. The professional support I received was invaluable. At the present time I serve on the Advocacy Committee of NALM.”


Marti R. Jewell, D.Min.
Associate Professor and Director of Graduate and Undergraduate Programs
Neuhoff School of Ministry
University of Dallas

Marti began working with the standards as part of the team that drafted the first set of NALM’s competency standards. She served as the Director of the Emerging Models of Pastoral Leader-ship Project, a national research initiative conducted by NALM and five other national associations, studying excellence in parish leadership. Drawing upon her study and experiences, she writes:

“The major finding of the Emerging Models Project is the intense rate of change in parishes as the church in this country is re-imagining what ministry is and who does it. I have witnessed just how dedicated lay ministers are as they work in our parishes day after day. I believe this calls us to develop strong standards to support those in lay ecclesial ministry.”


Fr. Joe Merkt, S.T.D.
a priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville retired but still serving in ministry.

Having spent most of his life as an educator, Fr. Joe has been dedicated to teaching and directing graduate and undergraduate programs in lay ministry for the past fifteen years. An active member of NALM since the early 1990’s, Fr. Joe was recognized by NALM in 1999 for the work that he and Sr. Margaret Cooper did to formulate common ministry standards and competencies that were the first to be adopted jointly by NALM, NCCL, and NFCYM. Of his involvement in the growth and development of lay ministry, Fr. Joe writes:

“Conducting retreat days and weekends for lay ministers to reflect on the graces and blessings of their ministry using the common standards/competencies as sources for personal self-reflection, meditation and prayer has been such a joy for me.”


Jean Marie Weber, PhD
University Liaison to the Catholic Community
Cardinal Stritch University
Milwaukee, WI.

A co-founder of the Saint Clare Center for Catholic Life, she has taught pastoral ministry courses in the Religious Studies department and teaches in the Institute for Lay Ministry. She is the former Director of Certification for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Commission on Certification and Accreditation (USCCB/CCA) and has served as president of the NCCL and president of the Association of Graduate Programs in Ministry (AGPIM). Of her belief in the value of NALM, she writes:

“NALM is an important part of ministry life! It is a forum for sharing ideas, discussion on issues pertinent to pastoral ministries. This collegial atmosphere strengthens and supports pastoral ministers and in turn helps enhance ministry programs as well as experiencing affir-mation and a deepening of one’s vocation.”