Did you know that an average person spends 19 hours a day on major media? Or, that there are 229 million active users monthly on Facebook just in North America alone? Not to mention that 1.8 trillion text messages were sent among Americans last year.
We are with you: it’s alarming how digital communications has almost entirely taken place of personal communications. While we can lament this, and even boycott it, that doesn’t solve the problem that the present generation functions and interacts almost solely online.
If we are going to reach them, we have got to start there.
CAST is a Catholic media organization that seeks to evangelize through learning, beauty and witness on digital platforms. It’s simple. It’s contagious. It’s transformative. It’s Truth.
Click a team member to read their bios!
- Fr. George ElliottDirector & Co-FounderFr. George ElliottDirector & Co-Founder
Fr. George Elliott is a priest who had a vision, a vision which became a reality, a reality which became Catholic Bytes and today is now CAST. As such, he is our Founding Father, quite literally. His favorite topics of conversation are: the early Church, evangelization and which cartoon character captures your personality the best.
Though from North East Texas, and a priest for the Diocese of Tyler, Fr. Elliott has traveled the globe, obtaining a few degrees and mastering many languages on the way. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy with a minor in Classical Languages from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, an STB from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, a License in Patristic Theology and Sciences from the Patristic Institute Augustinianum, and is now completing his Doctorate at the Pontifical Lateran University.
So, basically, he does all the things, not to mention making sure the CAST team is growing professionally and spiritually every single day.
- Leslie KnopfBusiness DirectorLeslie KnopfBusiness Director
Leslie loves creating schedules, organizational charts (the more post-its the better), and convincing people that CAST has the best mission in the world. As a result, Leslie is our Business Director.
She studied Spanish and International Relations during her undergraduate studies at the University of Kentucky and combine this with her graduate degree in Communications from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross and experience in business, she is perfectly poised to take over the world one day.
Although she currently has no real ambitions of world domination she has had the opportunity to expand her international connections through her correspondent work in Rome and collaboration with the Holy See for a video on St. Peter's Basilica for the Year of Mercy.
- Mark LeathermanResident FilmmakerMark LeathermanResident Filmmaker
Mark is our resident filmmaker, well, our only filmmaker. He loves the Blessed Mother, late-night skateboarding sessions, and Vietnamese food. (He’s still searching for ways to combine those passions).
He also swears that “Everything is Awesome” was his theme song long before the LEGO Movie ever came out. Mark studied Electrical Engineering at UT Austin. He later spent three years in the seminary of the Schoenstatt Fathers learning Spanish, Philosophy and Theology.
A lifelong fan of art that explores the human experience, Mark fell in love with photography and filmmaking while recovering from a near-debilitating accident in South America. In 2013, he began working as an apprentice under longtime friend and director Sean Schiavolin (creator of The Humanum Series).
Since then Mark has held many roles working on television shows, feature films, YouTube hits, and international documentaries.
- Cecilia O'ReillyContent DirectorCecilia O'ReillyContent Director
Cecilia leads CAST in puns, presently with negative points. She was hired as the Content Director due to her unfailing ability to write emails that make you feel like you are skipping through fields and make food on a plate look ‘just that good.’
Affectionately known by her team as ‘Scrappy Doo,’ she is hard to catch for a chat, but once you do she won’t stop talking about apples and philosophy, studying the latter prior to graduate work in Church Communications.
Though a Rome correspondent, translator, and contributing writer to various outlets, one of her favorite professional pastimes was working as International Media Coordinator for World Youth Day and World Meeting of Families as it combines her two passions: traveling and sharing the faith, both inherited from her parents.
Click a personnel member to read their bios!
- Lindsey WilburEditorLindsey WilburEditor
Lindsey is a woman of few words and that’s why she enjoys making videos for the CAST crew. Upon finishing her college years, she developed a desire to evangelize, leading her to Rome, and from there to CAST.
She works behind the scenes – or behind the camera – for The Roman Minute and the Catholic Bytes podcast. In 2014, Lindsey began grad studies at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome – post obtaining her Bachelors in Communications at the University of Utah.
Among the sea of black clerics she now finds herself every day, Lindsey is really more of a white sheep, but she enjoys the theological study in preparation to effectively spread the faith.
- Canva MaAnimatorCanva MaAnimator
Canva Ma is our animator born very far, in the south of America, in fact, literally in South America, Ecuador. Between the wild jungle, volcanoes and city traffic, he started animation inspired by God´s beautiful creation.
Canva has studied animation, scriptwriting and cinema production in Ecuador, and various universities throughout Spain, such as the Universidad de Navarra.
Due to his love for the Church, some of his favorite projects are: Meet Pope Francis in 4 minutes (about the life of Pope Francis), The Pope Francis Minute (an animated web series based on the Pope´s teachings), and the lives of Sts. Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Canva one day hopes to be able to watch all his cartoons with his family, his wife, Lorena, his daughter Luna, and at least 19 more offspring.
For Canva’s portfolio, see here.
Click a member to read their bios!
- Bernie NealAdvisorBernie NealAdvisor
After a professional career in corporate marketing and advertising, Berni Neal now dedicates her time to Catholic evangelization and philanthropy. Neal currently serves on the boards of Catholic Leadership Institute, EWTN, Magnificat Foundation and Thomas Aquinas College.
She serves on the Advisory Board of Obria Medical clinics. Together with her husband, Rob, she is a member of the Papal Foundation and the Legatus Orange Coast Chapter.
They reside in Capistrano Beach, California and have two adult children, Kira and Collin.
- Jim CoffeyAdvisorJim CoffeyAdvisor
Jim Coffey is the Vice President of The Papal Foundation, located in Bala Cynwyd, PA (near Philadelphia). Jim holds a Master of Arts in Moral Theology from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Overbrook, Religious Studies Division.
He is a Trustee of the National Catholic Community Foundation, Northeast Catholic College, Heroic Media and the Pueri Cantores student choral organization of the Catholic Church.
Jim and his wife Felicia are active members of St. Denis Parish in Havertown, PA, where they have raised 5 children.
- Ashley NoronhaAdvisorAshley NoronhaAdvisor
Ashley is a Professor of Crisis Communications & Leadership. She teaches Media Training to secular and Catholic lay organizations, as well as “Media Training for Priests” for various orders, seminaries and communities all over the world. In Rome, she is an Instructor at the Pontifical University of Santa Croce and guest lecturer at the Pontifical North American College (NAC).
Ashley is the Rome Correspondent for the Relevant Radio Network and has appeared as a Vatican insider on FOX News, CBS, EWTN, CBN, RAI, and more. She was formerly the English Language Official at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications at the Vatican and the Director of Communications of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross Foundation. Ashley received a B.S. in Marketing and International Business from the University of Dayton. She has worked in medical, lifestyle and event marketing for various clients including Universal Pictures, Jaguar, JCPenney, 3Com, Sony, M&M Mars and Kraft Foods.
With a Master’s degree in Theology from Holy Apostles Seminary, she went on to earn a Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL) in Communications from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, where she is currently pursuing her Doctorate.
- Fr. Jeff KirbyAdvisorFr. Jeff KirbyAdvisor
Father Jeff Kirby is a priest of the Diocese of Charleston, SC. He holds a doctorate in moral theology from the Holy Cross University in Rome, and is the author of several books including Lord, Teach Us to Pray (Charlotte: St. Benedict Press).
Father Kirby was distinguished for his strategic use of social media, web design, and videography in order to promote vocations to the priesthood and Religious life while the Vicar of Vocations of his diocese from 2010-2015. These efforts were internationally recognized by a news segment of the British Broadcasting Company, and led to Father Kirby receiving the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest civilian honor.
Working with St. Benedict Press and Catholic Scripture Study International in other areas, Father Kirby was the Host of the national Christian formation program Doors of Mercy and was one of the co-instructors of Luke: The Gospel of Mercy. Both programs presented the Gospel message through a creative use of videography, lay-out design, and live-streaming.
More information on Father Kirby can be found at frkirby.com, and he can be followed on Twitter @fatherkirby.
- John NoronhaAdvisorJohn NoronhaAdvisor
John is a Professor of Theology, Apologetics, and Art & Architecture. He has a diverse cultural and academic background, through which he enjoys integrating science, culture, art and faith.
John holds a Bachelors’ Degree in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering, and a Master’s in Computer Engineering and Information Systems. He worked for many years in the telecommunications industry with the Technology and Initiatives Group at Verizon Global Telecommunications, before doing another Master’s in Philosophy and Systematic Theology. He is a Wilbur Fellow and is pursuing a PhD in BioMedical Ethics at the Regina Apostolorum in Rome.
A former professional tap and ballroom dancer, in his free time John loves to cut a rug with his wife, Ashley. John and Ashley are also experienced walking tour guides of Rome (www.johnandashley.org), who love to bring the rich art, culture, theology and history of the Eternal City to life for visitors. They hosted EWTN’s Vatican Report series Art & Faith in Rome.
- John GormanDevelopment ConsultantJohn GormanDevelopment Consultant
John manages his own Fundraising Consulting firm working with such organizations such as Boys Town, Legionnaires of Christ, Helping Hands Medical Mission and the Scalabrini International Migration Network.
Prior to his consulting work John led the development efforts as Director of Philanthropy for Catholic Medical Mission Board, an international healthcare provider.
- Deacon Keith FournierGeneral CouncilDeacon Keith FournierGeneral Council
Dcn. Keith Fournier is the Editor in Chief of Catholic Online and the Founder and Chairman of the Common Good Foundation and the Common Good Alliance. He is a member of the Catholic clergy, a Deacon of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, and has been ordained for twenty years.
He and his wife Laurine have been married for forty years and have five grown children and seven grandchildren. Fournier is a constitutional lawyer who served as the first and founding Executive Director of the American Center for Law and Justice in the 1990’S.
He appeared as co-counsel in several cases before the United States Supreme Court on Pro-Life, Religious Freedom and Pro-Family issues. He currently serves as Chief Counsel to the Common Good Legal Defense Fund and is a public policy advocate and activist and engages in a selective law practice through Common Good Law, PLC, representing clients and causes which he believes in.
- Msgr. Anthony J. FigueiredoAdvisorMsgr. Anthony J. FigueiredoAdvisorMsgr. Anthony J. Figueiredo is a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark, U.S.A. After studies in French, German, Politics and Economics at the University of Loughborough (U.K.), he embarked upon a career in international banking in the City of London. Three years later, he gave up his prestigious position to do missionary work in places as diverse as New York, Los Angeles and Ethiopia. It was this experience that convinced him to answer the Lord's call to the priesthood. From 2000 to 2005, Msgr. Figueiredo was Professor of Theology and a member of the Formation team at Immaculate Seminary School of Theology, Seton Hall University. In 2005, he was appointed Executive Director of Mission and Ministry, overseeing the Catholic identity at the University. In 2006, he was called back to Rome to serve as an official at the Pontifical Council Cor Unum. In Fall 2011, Monsignor was appointed to the Pontifical North American College in Rome, where he served first as Director of the Institute for the Continuing Theological Education of priests from the English speaking world and then as Spiritual Director to seminarians. He also coordinated the visits of US Bishops to Rome for meetings with the Holy Father and Vatican offices. In recent years, Msgr. Figueiredo has served as a Vatican consultant to a host of media outlets, including CBS and EWTN. He has also been visiting Mainland China on a yearly basis since 2008 to assist the Holy See's efforts at reconciliation. As of January 1, 2017, Monsignor Figueiredo serves as Regional Coordinator for the newly established Vatican Dicastery for Integral Human Development in the Migrants & Refugees Section, which incorporates Victims of Human Trafficking, under the direct jurisdiction of Pope Francis.