Organization Leadership

Our Team

The In Word and Witness staff is located throughout the United States with our headquarters being in Washington, DC.

Our team embraces the core value of stewardship by utilizing modern technologies and innovative methods to collaborate, plan, and serve our membership community. 

Margaret
Matijasevic

Executive Director

Margaret has served the In Word and Witness community as Executive Director since 2015 and has over 20 years in professional church ministry. She lives in MD with her two children, two cats, two frogs, and one guinea pig. Margaret is passionate about accompanying the People of God in faith, leadership governance, and the potential of technology to expand the sharing of the Gospel. Maximizer. Individualization. Arranger. Connectedness. Self-Assurance.

Victoria
Radleigh Smith

Director of Mission Integration

Victoria has served the In Word and Witness community since May of 2019 and has more than 15 years experience in professional church ministry. She lives in Burbank, CA with her husband, Andrew. Victoria believes in the importance of formation, accompaniment, and mentorship. She is energized by guiding organizations in actualizing their mission, vision, and values. Achiever. Woo. Communication. Individualization. Learner.

Board of Directors Commissioning

In Word and Witness is excited to commission our new Board of Directors. These 14 individuals have diverse ministerial and professional backgrounds with extensive experience in catechesis, education, non-profit leadership, and organizational management.

Watch The Commissioning

Board of Directors

The In Word and Witness Board of Directors is a governing board that assures the enhancement of core values through comprehensive long-term visioning. Nominations for positions to the Board of Directors is provided through the larger membership community to uplift diversity and assure comprehensive charisms through the extensive reach of our broader community. Focused on a synodal approach of listening and planning for the future, the Board of Directors prioritizes the impact our organization makes for the Church-at-large and the comprehensive mission to transform the world by reflecting Christ.

Denise Utter

Chair

Denise Utter has worked in education or professional ministry for over 30 years in local, diocesan, and national environments. She spends much of her time encouraging, empowering, and equipping ministry leaders to reimagine innovative faith formation, but her passion in recent years has been focused on the exploration of “calling” spirituality, through a project (Creating Cultures of Calling) with Vibrant Faith, an ecumenical nonprofit faith-based organization. Denise has been married to her husband Rob for over 30 years, and they have three adult children.

Dr. Jodi Hunt

Chair-Elect

Dr. Jodi G. Hunt, PhD currently teaches at the University of Dallas (UD) in the Theology department as an affiliate assistant professor of ministry. Prior to teaching at UD, Dr. Hunt completed a doctorate in religious education at Fordham University (NYC), a MA in theology at Oblate School of Theology (San Antonio), and a BA in anthropology at Texas A&M University (College Station). She also taught theology and religious studies at Antonian College Preparatory (San Antonio, TX) and Fordham Preparatory (Bronx, NY), and was the director of admissions at the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education at Fordham University. Dr. Hunt has also worked with various dioceses and parishes across the US,  training lay ecclesial ministers and Catholic educators. Her research interests include digital theology, practical theology, religious education, and youth ministry, with a specific focus on American Catholicism.

A video message from Dr. Jodi Hunt.

Jackie Hopper

Vice Chair

Jackie Hopper serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors and is currently employed by the Diocese of Boise. She has worked in a professional ministry setting for the past 40 years, serving at the local, diocesan, regional, and national levels. Her passion in ministry is to serve as a mentor and companion to others so as to build up the body of Christ. In her spare time she loves camping, hiking, spending time with her husband, Rob, her children, dogs, cat, and yes, even the camp cats!

John Gaffney

Treasurer

John Gaffney is the Treasurer of the Board of the Directors and works for the Diocese of Des Moines as the Director of Evangelization & Catechesis. He has been in ministry for 23 years working in parishes, Catholic schools, and the diocese. He has been the department director since 2010. A hallmark of John’s leadership style is always striving to see what he and his ministry outreach can do more effectively for those he serves. He always ends any work he had done with the question, “What can I do to be a better resource for you and your ministry?” John is married to his wife Jane. They have three daughters, four grandchildren, and a five-month-old Labrador named Pepper.

Jenn Fiduccia

Leadership Development Mentor

Jenn Fiduccia has been an active member of the Church since her teen years as a youth cantor and peer minister. In her over twenty years in lay ecclesial ministry, she has worked in music ministry, youth and young adult ministry, adult formation, and with the RCIA. Since 2011, she has served as Director of Formation at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Community in Raleigh, NC, leading a large team of professionals and volunteers in womb-to-tomb catechetical formation and sacramental preparation. Having earned her undergraduate degree in vocal performance from New York University, Jenn added two graduate degrees in Theological Studies and Catechetical Ministry from the University of Dallas, as well as a Certificate in Church Management from Villanova University. Aside from her responsibilities at St. Francis, Jenn also sits on the Admissions and Scrutinies Committee for the Office of the Diaconate in the Diocese of Raleigh and has published liturgical and catechetical music with WLP music, a division of GIA. She also recently authored a chapter in a book on women in Church leadership. Residing in Raleigh with her husband Pat and four children, in her free time Jenn enjoys camping with the family and their pups, reading, writing music, and baking.

A video message from Jenn.

Joe Perdreauville

Secretary

Joe Perdreauville has been active in Catholic ministry for twenty four years, serving as parish youth minister, parish director of religious education, and twelve years at the diocesan level as associate director of Pastoral Services which included a lot of diverse ministry and administration.  He received his Masters of Arts in Pastoral Administration from St. Mary’s University Minnesota.  Joe has served as a board member for other national Catholic organizations, local Catholic entities, and as a consultant locally and nationally.  Joe has been married for twenty two years and has  two amazing teenage children. One in college and one finishing high school.   He and his wife are active with Sponsor Couple Ministry at their parish in Tucson, Arizona.

A video message from Joe.

Deacon Kevin McCarthy

Spiritual Advisor

As a permanent deacon of the Springfield, MA Diocese, Kevin McCarthy serves at Blessed Sacrament/All Souls Parish in the city of Springfield. As a mission educator/promoter, he is in full-time ministry with the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers working regionally specifically in the northeast of the U.S. as well as nationally and internationally. He leads outreach to Catholic teachers and catechists, which includes workshops and the publication four times of year of educational resource known as Discover Your Neighbor.
He is one of the authors of Maryknoll’s weekly scripture reflection guides, Families in Mission. Additionally, Kevin does outreach to Hispanic Catholics as part of the Discípulos Misioneros team. Kevin worked in high school education for 28 years first as a history and theology teacher and then as a school counselor. He has been to Mexico more than 25 times leading student groups on service trips and working with a sister parish he helped build the connection with in Chiapas, Mexico. After college he was a Jesuit Volunteer Corps member in Philadelphia and then worked as a volunteer for six months in India. Additionally, he has led and accompanied groups to El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Haiti, Venezuela, and Nepal. He has also been involved with Just Faith Ministries for several years both as a participant and as a group facilitator. He has a M.Ed. in Counseling from the University of Massachusetts and is a nationally certified counselor.
A video message from Deacon Kevin.
Douglas Leal

Core Value Assessor

Douglas Leal is currently Chief Mission Integration Officer with Providence, a multi-state Catholic health system. Previously, he was Director of the Division of Adult Faith Formation with the Office of Religious Education of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He also has experience as a management consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers and as a professional actor and director. Douglas is a frequent speaker on spirituality, faith formation, liturgy, and other topics, and he delivers retreats and seminars nationwide, He’s the author of the skill-building book for lectors, Stop Reading and Start Proclaiming!, and its forthcoming second edition, Beyond Reading: Advanced Training for Proclaimers of the Word (Liturgy Training Publications). He co-authored the 2017 and 2018 editions of LTP’s Workbook for Lectors. Douglas holds an MA from the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.

A video message from Douglas.

Heidi Witte

Innovators in Catechesis and Evangelization

Heidi Witte is an alumnus of the University of Notre Dame and also holds an M.Ed. in Elementary Education from Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education program. She is a former Catholic school teacher, cantor, and volunteer Children’s Liturgy catechist. Since March of 2020, Heidi and her husband Mark have been producing free, 30 minute Children’s Liturgy of the Word episodes, which air 4 times a week on The Catholic TV Network and on the free Kids’ Liturgy YouTube Channel. Heidi also partners with Bayard, Inc., for Children and Family Faith Formation. Heidi, Mark, and their 2 young children live in South Bend, Indiana.

A video message from Heidi.

Mary Jane Silvia

Policy Monitor

Mary Jane Silvia currently serves as the Director for Adult Faith Formation for the Diocese of Manchester, NH. She has been in full-time catechetical ministry for 45 years including serving as a theology teacher in junior high and high school, a high school campus minister, coordinator of youth and young adult ministry for parishes, and a director of campus ministry at the university level. Her ministry has also included developing and implementing retreat experiences for youth and adults. She has an MA in Pastoral Ministry from LaSalle University, Philadelphia, PA. For fun, Mary Jane enjoys playing the guitar, reading Stephen King novels, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.

A video message from Mary Jane.

Sr. Teresa Maya

Philanthropic Animator

Sister Teresa Maya is a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio since 1994. Her ministry has been in education. She has served as teacher, history professor, and administrator. She has passion for the formation of ministers for Hispanics/Latinas/os in the United States. She has a commitment to life-long learning and a strong conviction in the future of consecrated life. Sister Teresa got her B.A. at Yale University, her M.A. at the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley and the Ph.D. in El Colegio de Mexico in Mexico City. She served on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) presidency from 2016-19. She is currently Congregational Leader for her religious institute.

A video message from Sr. Teresa.

Jonathan Sitko

Parliamentarian

Jonathan Sitko serves as a board member for In Word and Witness and is the Director of Programs for the Catholic Apostolate Center in Washington, DC. He works with organizations, dioceses, and parishes in evangelization, missionary discipleship, and faith formation in this capacity. In recent years, he has taken an interest in the work of church management with a particular interest in how organizations can respond and adapt to the needs of the 21st century.

A video message from Jonathan.

Dr. Jem Sullivan

Innovators in Catechesis and Evangelization

Dr. Jem Sullivan serves as professor of Catechetics in the School of Theology and Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America. With over twenty years of experience as an educator of graduate, undergraduate and seminary students, Dr. Sullivan has contributed to catechetical ministry at the international, national, diocesan and parish levels. Dr. Sullivan is the author of four books on catechetical themes and academic and pastoral articles and is a frequent guest speaker at catechetical conferences. Jem looks forward to serving the membership of In Word and Witness in collaboration with its Board.

A video message from Dr. Jem Sullivan.

David Palmieri

Innovators in Catechesis and Evangelization

David Palmieri is chair of the Theology Department at Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood, MA where he has worked as a teacher and coach for over 20 years. His passion is accompanying adolescents on their journey to grow in learning, faith, and service. He holds degrees in Religious Studies and Theology from Colby College, Harvard Divinity School, and Boston College, and is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry program at The Catholic University of America. David has been married since 2001 and has two teenage children.

A video message from David.

Marilyn Santos

USCCB Liaison

Marilyn serves as the Associate Director of the USCCB Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis. Prior to joining the USCCB, Marilyn served the Church in various leadership positions at the National Office of the Pontifical Mission Societies, the U.S. Archdiocese of Atlanta, Diocese of Brooklyn, and the Diocese of Metuchen in the areas of evangelization, catechesis, cultural diversity, youth and young adult ministries. She served as the President of La RED – the National Catholic Network de Pastoral Juvenil and with VIDES-Salesian Sisters Missionary in Ecuador.

By-Laws

These bylaws, approved by the membership community, govern the work of our organization and give us the framework to vision for the future.

See the Full Bylaws
What is the purpose of the organization?

The purposes of In Word and Witness are to promote the ministries of evangelization and catechesis within the Church’s teaching mission; to assess the landscape of these fields of ministry through synodal processes; and to enhance the ministerial effectiveness of its members in their service to the Catholic Church through the interchange of ideas and mutual support.

Membership is inclusive of supporters to the organization’s mission and core values.
Members are granted opportunities to provide nominations for leadership and to participate in the Organization’s Synod, as a means of contributing to the shared mission of the community. Members at the appropriate tier of membership, determined by the Board of the Directors, shall be entitled to one vote on each matter voted on by the members.

Through Networks, Federations, and a Synod. Networks are constituency-based groups whose participants share a common role or interest within the evangelization and catechesis community. Networks provide mutual support, sharing, learning, and common effort within the Organization. Federate groups are focus-specific groups of the Organization’s members, national in scope, existing to enhance and strengthen the Organization’s mission. The Synod process provides the Organization with a means of strategic listening, consultation, analysis, discernment, and advisement.

In addition to various responsibilities identified in the bylaws, the Board of Directors:

  • Serves as trustees of the Organization and constitutes its chief governing body;
  • Sets and monitors the mission and strategic direction of the Organization;
  • Approves the annual budget and secures the financial well-being of the Organization;
  • Articulates and approves all official public position statements on behalf of the Organization;
  • Assesses board effectiveness and adjusts at-large board member roles to achieve mission;
  • Develops, approves, and applys all organization policies; and employs and evaluates the Executive Director.

There shall be an Annual Meeting to conduct Organization business, held at such a place and time as determined by the Board of Directors. At any meeting directed to the voting members, a simple majority of the members registered and present for the meeting shall constitute a quorum. The Board of Directors shall approve beforehand all proposals to be offered to the voting members and to determine the procedures and acceptable forms of balloting for such purposes. A simple majority of the voting members shall constitute a valid vote and, except for the election of board members and amendment of bylaws, shall govern.