2017 Christ Brings Hope Award

2013 Conference

Johnnette Benkovic

Johnnette S. Benkovic is Founder and President of Living His Life Abundantly® International, Inc., a Catholic evangelization apostolate with outreaches in television, radio, print, and internet communications. She is also Founder of Women of Grace®, a Catholic apostolate for Christian women that features a number of outreaches including conferences, curricula, study groups and more.

After years of being a non-practicing Catholic, Johnnette experienced a deep conversion back to her Catholic faith in 1981 and discerned a call to share the Gospel message through the media. She has been a consistent presence in Catholic radio since 1987 and in Catholic television since 1988.

Johnnette is Executive Producer of the Women of Grace television program, which is aired on EWTN internationally, Monday through Friday. The program discusses contemporary issues from a Catholic perspective. Johnnette is also host of Women of Grace Live, a one hour call-in radio talk show that airs five times a week. She is heard nationally on AM/FM stations and internationally via short wave, and satellite radio.


Father Michael Gaitley

Director of the Association of Marian Helpers

Father Michael Gaitley, MIC, is a member of the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. Prior to his ordination to the priesthood, he received a Masters Degree in Theology and a Licentiate Degree in Moral Theology.

After his ordination to the priesthood, Fr. Michael succeeded Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, as the director of the Association of Marian Helpers, a spiritual benefit society with more than 1,000,000 members. As director, he has launched a new pastoral initiative called Hearts Afire: Parish-based Programs for the New Evangelization (HAPP).

He is also author of the best-selling books, Consoling the Heart of Jesus and 33 Days to Morning Glory, which are published by Marian Press. He frequently appears on EWTN and preaches retreats throughout the country on topics such as Divine Mercy, Consoling spirituality, and Marian Consecration.

When he is not preaching missions and retreats, Fr. Michael lives and works on Eden Hill in Stockbridge, Mass., home of the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy.


Father Richard Simon

Father Simon was born in La Grange, Ill., a few miles west of Chicago in 1949. He received his B.A ., majoring in classical Greek with a minor in Latin. He studied theology at the University of St. Mary of the Lake, in Mundelein, Ill., and was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1975.

Fr. Simon spent the first thirty one years of his ministry in Spanish speaking parishes of the inner city of Chicago. He taught biblical Greek and ancient Latin at St. Joseph’s College, Loyola University, the college seminary of the Archdiocese of Chicago for 24 years. He is currently the pastor of St. Lambert’s in Skokie, Illinois. Father Simon is the author of the weekly column “The Rev. Know it All,” and is one of the hosts for “Go Ask Your Father” on Relevant Radio. He has been involved with the Charismatic Renewal since its beginnings in 1968. He also served as the Cardinal’s liaison to the Spanish speaking prayer groups of the Chicago area for 23 years.


Kiara Mack

Kiara Mack is the former Catholic Stewardship Appeal Co-Chair for three years with her husband, Jay. She is an active member of St. Vincent de Paul Society and coordinator of a monthly meal program prepared by St. Anthony on the Lake parish at the South Side-Milwaukee St. Vincent de Paul meal site. Kiara is also an Evangelization Commission member at St. Charles Parish in Hartland, Board Member of St. Francis de Sales Seminary, and Recipient of Vatican II Award from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in 2011.

Mother of Liz and John, the family are members of St. Charles Parish in Hartland. Mack earned a B.B.A. and a M.S. in Finance, Investments, and Banking from UW-Madison.

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