Scroll to the bottom of this page to see Breakout presenters.

Rev Richard Leonard SJ


'God's great love meets our frailty.'

'Singing our Theology'

NOTE: As the border between NZ and Australia remains closed, Richard will be presenting his keynote addresses via  video link.

Richard Leonard is a Jesuit priest. He has degrees in arts and education, as well as a Master’s degree in theology. Fr Richard did graduate studies at the London Film School and has a PhD from the University of Melbourne. He directs the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting, is an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Catholic University; has been a visiting scholar within the School of Theatre, Film & Television at UCLA and a Visiting Professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He has served on juries at the Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Warsaw, Hong Kong, Montreal, Brisbane and Melbourne International Film Festivals and he has lectured on faith and culture all over the world. He has been published in America Magazine, Eureka Street, US Catholics, is regular columnist with The London Tablet and is a regular guest on ABC Radio. He is the author of ten books, among the titles are:

Where the Hell is God?

What does it all mean? A guide to being more faithful, hopeful and loving.

His most recent book: Hatch, Match & Dispatch: A Catholic Guide to Sacraments has just been released.

Dr Rocio Figueroa


'A Eucharistic People - Living Eucharistic Lives'

Lecturer in Theology - Good Shepherd College

Dr Rocio Figueroa Alvear is a Peruvian Theologian, Lecturer in Systematic Theology at Good Shepherd College in Auckland and an External Researcher at the Centre for Theology and Public Issues at Otago University, New Zealand. She has a bachelor’s degree and license in theology from the Pontifical Faculty of Theology in Lima and her doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. She has previously lectured and worked in Peru, Italy, and Mexico. She worked in the Holy See as head of the Women’s section in the Pontifical Council for the Laity.  Figueroa’s present research focus is theological and pastoral responses for survivors of Church sexual abuse.

Some of her publications include:

Figueroa Alvear, R., & Tombs. D. ‘Recognizing Jesus as a victim of sexual abuse. Responses from Sodalicio survivors in Peru’(‘When Did We See You Naked?’ No. 3). (D. Tombs, Ed.). Centre for Theology and Public Issues, University of Otago. Retrieved from

Figueroa Alvear, R., & Tombs. D. ‘Listening to male survivors of church sexual abuse: Voices from Sodalicio abuses in Peru. (Canonist, 8[1], [2017]);

Figueroa Alvear, R., & Tombs. D ‘Lived Religion and the Traumatic Impact of Sexual Abuse: The Sodalicio case in Peru’ in: Trauma and Lived Religion. Transcending the Ordinary, ed. R. Ruard Ganzevoort-Srdjan Sremac, Amsterdam: Palgrave 2018).

Figueroa Alvear, R., Covenant of Love – Sources (México City 2015). 

Figueroa Alvear, R., Man and woman, equal or different? (Puebla 2013).

Figueroa Alvear, R.,  Towards my own true self (Mexico City, 2011).

Dr Elizabeth Snedden RSCJ


'Going Deeper - Spirituality for Ministry'

Lecturer in Pastoral Theology & Systematic Theology 

Good Shepherd College, Auckland

Elizabeth taught Theological German, Eschatology and Soteriology at Yarra Theological Union within the Melbourne College of Divinity. In Auckland she has taught courses each year for the Catholic Institute of Theology. She really enjoys working with adults keen to learn. She spent two years on the Gender Issues Advisory Committee of the NZ Bishops’ Conference with Fr Stuart Sellar.

Extra-curricular interests include adult formation for mission with school staff and Board members, and developing and implementing processes for formative evaluation based initially on shared praxis and more recently on Appreciative Inquiry. 

Rev John O'Connor


'Weaving Together Liturgy and Life'

Director, National Liturgy Office

Creator & Author of Food for Faith

Fr John is a priest of the diocese of Christchurch, ordained in 1985, and now serving as Spiritual director at Holy Cross Seminary. He has an MA in Spirituality and continues to offer spiritual direction, retreats and spiritual formation seminars around the globe. Currently he is completing a MA in Liturgy. Fr John is the creator and author of the website and online ministry.

Fr John says, “I am convinced that if we get the liturgy right, all other aspects of the life of the church will fall into place easily.”