Category Archives: past events

Most Reverend Nelson J. Perez, Bishop, Diocese of Cleveland – November 29th, 2018

Nelson J. Perez was born in Miami, Florida, on June 16, 1961 to David and Emma Perez and is the brother of the late Dr. David Perez and Louis Martin Perez. He was raised in West New York, NJ. Bishop Perez earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Montclair State University in 1983. He taught at Colegio la Piedad, a Catholic elementary school in Puerto Rico, prior to entering Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, where he earned Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Theology degrees in 1988 and 1989, respectively.

Bishop Perez’s first assignment after ordination to the priesthood was as parochial vicar of Saint Ambrose Parish, Philadelphia (1989-1993). He also served as assistant director of the Office for Hispanic Catholics (1990-1993), founding director of the Catholic Institute for Evangelization (1993-2002), Pastor of Saint William Parish, Philadelphia (2002-2009), and Pastor of Saint Agnes Parish, West Chester, PA (2009-2012).

His work in education included teaching courses in psychology and religious studies at LaSalle University, Philadelphia (1994-2008). Bishop Perez also taught Developmental Psychology at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary (Fall, 2011), in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.  In 1998, he was named Chaplain to His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, with the title of Monsignor. In 2009, he was named a Prelate of Honor by Pope Benedict XVI.

Pope Benedict XVI appointed Reverend Monsignor Nelson J. Perez Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre in New York on June 8, 2012.  He was ordained a bishop on July 25, 2012 in Saint Agnes Cathedral, Rockville Centre, NY by Bishop William F. Murphy.

A kind, joyous, and hard-working person, Bishop Perez enriches those ministries and people entrusted to his care.   Rooted in Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, “The Joy of the Gospel”, Bishop Perez’s pastoral vision can be summarized as: “Church on Mission: Proactive, Involved, Supportive, Fruitful, and Joyful”

Thursday, November 29, 2018


Please note the change of location for this event

The Westin Cleveland Downtown
777 St. Clair Ave., NE
Cleveland, OH 44114
Valet service available at the Westin on St. Clair or self park at Marriott underground garage)


11:15 a.m. Register & Visit
12:00 p.m. Lunch & Speaker



Corporate/Benefactor Sponsorship
$500 table of 10 includes program recognition and a portion for charitable deduction
Please contact the First Friday Club Administrator by email – or phone 216-589-9852 for a corporate/benefactor table.


Fr. Tom Gaunt, S.J., Executive Director, Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), November 1, 2018

“American Catholic Trends:  1958-2018”

Father Thomas Gaunt, S.J. currently serves as the Executive Director of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, a position he has held since January 2011. He is a co-author of Catholic Parishes in the 21st Century (Oxford University Press 2017), the forthcoming Pathways to Religious Life (Oxford University Press 2018), Catholic Bishops in the United States: Church Leadership in the Third Millennium (Oxford University Press 2018), and Word, Liturgy, Charity: The Diaconate in the U.S. Catholic Church, 1968-2018 (Lexington Books 2018).

Prior to coming to CARA, Father Gaunt has served in Jesuit governance as the Socius/Executive Secretary of the Jesuit Conference-USA for nine years and the Formation and Studies Director of the Maryland and New York Jesuit Provinces for seven years. After ordination, he spent ten years as a pastor and as Director of Planning and Research in the Diocese of Charlotte.

Father Gaunt entered the Society of Jesus in 1971, after which he earned a BA in Philosophy from St. Louis University in Missouri. In 1981, the year of Father Gaunt’s ordination, he received an STB from the Bellarmine School of Theology in Chicago and a Masters of Divinity from Loyola University in Chicago. Father Gaunt later went on to complete a Masters in Public Administration and a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning, both from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

Father Gaunt has been actively involved with the L’Arche Communities in Washington, DC for the past 17 years.

Thursday, November 1, 2018


The City Club of Cleveland
850 Euclid Ave, 2nd Floor
Cleveland, OH 44114



7:30 a.m. – Register & Breakfast buffet open
8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Program



Maureen Dee, MSSA, MBA, LISW-S, LICDC-CS, Catholic Charities Corporation – Thursday, October 4

“The Epidemic:  Opioids”

Please join us for our October luncheon as we welcome a panel who will discuss the opioid epidemic affecting our community. Our panel will feature Maureen Dee, Executive Director of Treatment, Prevention and Recovery Programs at Catholic Charities Corporation.

Ms. Dee was born and raised in Uruguay, South America and has worked extensively as a bilingual social worker. She has a Master’s in Social Service Administration (MSSA) from Case Western Reserve University, and a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from Cleveland State University.

Ms. Dee has worked in the field of chemical dependency since 1978, first as a bilingual chemical dependency counselor, then as a supervisor and program developer. Since 1997, she had the responsibility over the entire alcohol and drug service system of Catholic Charities Services Corporation in Cuyahoga County (greater Cleveland area), and subsequently as of January, 2010, is Executive Director over all behavioral health.  These services operate out of nine service sites and employ 160 staff.  They include residential, intensive outpatient, and outpatient for substance use disorders, mental health, foster care and adoption, and employment readiness. Panel features Maureen E. Dee, Executive Director of Treatment, Prevention & Recovery Services, Catholic Charities.

Ms. Dee will be joined by an FBI Agent from the Drug Task Force who will discuss efforts to combat the distribution of drugs in our community. We will also hear from a graduate of the Catholic Charities’ treatment program who will share his brave journey of recovery and hope.

Thursday, October 4, 2018


The City Club of Cleveland
850 Euclid Ave, 2nd Floor
Cleveland, OH 44114


11:15 a.m. – Register & lunch buffet open
Program begins at noon.


Cancellation Policy: If you reserve and are unable to attend, please call the office (216-589-9852) to cancel by noon the Monday prior to the luncheon to avoid being charged for the event. No refund will be given if reservations are canceled after 12:00 p.m. the Monday prior to the luncheon.

Leo Hyland, President, Cleveland Central Catholic High School – Thursday, September 6, 2018

“The POWER of Catholic Education”

As a native Clevelander and life-long resident, I am privileged to be leading Cleveland Central Catholic High School. I am in my ninth year as president at Central Catholic on Broadway Avenue in Cleveland’s Slavic Village neighborhood – and loving it!  CCC recently successfully completed its Beacon of Hope Campaign by raising nearly $6 million in support of five campaign priorities.  Our school also recently concluded a new strategic plan, a comprehensive marketing plan and campus master plan.

Born fourth of a dozen children, I learned early the value of Catholic education and how it shapes our lives and impacts our communities. My immediate family (2 parents and 12 children) have an accumulated 188 years of Catholic formal education.  In addition, my wife and two sons have a combined 44 years – that’s 232 years total.  Needless to say, we believe in the power of Catholic education!

I grew up in South Euclid and graduated from St. Gregory the Great (1973) and Cathedral Latin School (1977). The strong faith formation of my family was reinforced through the academic rigor and engaging co-curricular activities that prepared me to become a life-long learner. Both the Sisters of Notre Dame and the Marianists had a profound impact on my youthful spiritual development.

I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Communication from Ohio University, and earned a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Organizations from Case Western Reserve University.  I have been working in private education for over 20 years and am now in my 16th year of Catholic education.   My career in non-profit leadership and management has evolved with experience at the following institutions:  Hiram College, YMCA of Greater Cleveland, Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, Notre Dame – Cathedral Latin School, and presently as president of Cleveland Central Catholic High School.

I am a proud and active graduate of the Leadership Cleveland Class of 2013, and followed that with a year of service as an LC2 Fellow. Our LC2 group was charged with studying Cleveland’s Lakefront Development challenges and initiatives.  Through this enlightening process, our group made findings and recommendations that ultimately helped foster the “water taxi” service that now operates on the Cuyahoga River.  We also weighed in on the proposed pedestrian bridge that would connect Mall A to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Plaza area.  It was a thrill to study and debate choices about how we live, work and play in relation to Lake Erie (and by extension the local river systems).

Through these many experiences, I hope to bring strong leadership and insight into the revitalization of Cleveland’s Slavic Village Neighborhood. Working together with committed neighborhood partners like Third Federal, The Boys and Girls Club, University Settlement, MetroHealth, Slavic Village Development, local churches and our city leaders, I feel strongly that there are great days ahead for our community.

My wife (Beth) is a social worker at the Cleveland Clinic and we live in University Heights. We have been “Heights” residents since our marriage in 1985.  We are members of Gesu parish since 1996 and have two adult sons who graduated from Gesu and NDCL.  We enjoy traveling together.



 Reservation Policy – All attendees must register in advance. If you reserve and are unable to attend, please call the office (216-589-9852) to cancel by noon 09/3/18 to avoid a charge for the event.

AJ Hyland, Jerry Schroer & George Wasmer – Thursday, August 2, 2018

Three Businesses – One Faith

AJ Hyland, Jerry Schroer, and George Wasmer are all respected business people inside and outside their boardrooms with decades of success they attribute to ethical business leadership and the employment of countless individuals rooted in Catholic values. Together they will share their Catholic faith journeys and how it has impacted their lives, the community, their families, and family businesses.

Moderated by Mary Ann Corrigan-Davis, President, Saint Joseph Academy.


Tickets:  $25.00/per person
$250/table of 10


 Reservation Policy – All attendees must register in advance. If you reserve and are unable to attend, please call the office (216-589-9852) to cancel by noon 07/30/18 to avoid a charge for the event.

Frs. Michael, David & Thomas Woost – Thursday, June 28

“Kitchen Table Faith:  Family, Vocation, and Pope Francis’ Holiness Challenge”

Frs. Michael, David, and Thomas Woost are three of seven brothers, born to Carl and Norine Woost. Fr. Mike, ordained in 1984, has served as the parochial vicar of Immaculate Conception Parish in Madison, as the Co-Director of the Diocesan Vocation Office, and since January of 2000, as a faculty member of Saint Mary Seminary where he teaches courses on sacramental and liturgical theology.  Fr. Dave, ordained in 1991, has served as the parochial vicar of Saint John Neumann Parish in Strongsville and Saint Peter Parish in Lorain, as the chaplain of Lake Catholic High School, as the presbyteral moderator of Saint Philip Neri Parish in Cleveland, and, since August of 2004, as the pastor of Divine Word Parish in Kirtland.  Fr. Tom, ordained in 1997, has served as the parochial vicar of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Cuyahoga Falls, Saint Anthony of Padua Parish in Parma, and Saint Leo the Great Parish in Cleveland, and, since January of 2008, as the pastor of Saint Brendan Parish in North Olmsted.

On Thursday, June 28, they will speak to the First Friday Club of Cleveland on their experience of growing up in a Catholic household, their faith development within the Woost family, and their baptismal and priestly vocations. Based on the Holy Father’s recent apostolic exhortation, “Rejoice and Be Glad: On the Call to Holiness in Today’s World,” their talk is entitled, “Kitchen Table Faith: Family, Vocation, and Pope Francis’ Holiness Challenge.”


Tickets:  $25.00/per person
$250/table of 10


 Reservation Policy – All attendees must register in advance. If you reserve and are unable to attend, please call the office (216-589-9852) to cancel by noon 06/25/18 to avoid a charge for the event.

Mr. Kenneth Woodward – Thursday, May 31, 2018

“Religion in the White House”

Kenneth Woodward served as Religion Editor of Newsweek for 38 years, during which he reported on a variety of subjects from seven continents. He is the author of more than 750 articles for Newsweek, including nearly 100 cover stories. His numerous other articles, essays and book reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall street Journal, The Washington Post, Commonweal, First Things, America, The Nation and The Weekly Standard, among other publications. He has been a news commentator on NBC, ABC and CBS.

Mr. Woodward is the author of four books, including his just published Getting Religion: Faith, Culture and Politics from the Age of Eisenhower to the Ascent of Trump. He has lectured at some 60 colleges and universities in the U.S. and Europe. He has been a Fellow of the National Humanities Center and a Regents Lecturer in Religion at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Our speaker grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, graduated from St. Ignatius High School and the University of Notre Dame–places he writes about in his new book. Thereafter, he studied at the University of Michigan Law School and the University of Iowa Graduate School. He and his wife Elizabeth have three children and seven grandchildren.

Join us on Thursday, May 31st  as Mr. Woodward reflects on 5 decades of interviewing our Nation’s leaders on matters of politics and religion.  With sage insight into the past, Mr. Woodward develops a vision forward for the “Religion in the White House”.

Reserve your seats today!

Tickets:  $25.00/per person
$250/table of 10


Reservation Policy – All attendees must register in advance. If you reserve and are unable to attend, please call the office to cancel by noon 05/28/18 to avoid a charge for the event.


Fr. Raymond Guiao, S.J. – Thursday, May 3, 2018

“Enflamed by the Love of God:  A Jesuit Saint and our Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus”

Fr. Raymond Guiao, SJ, currently serves as president of Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio. Born and raised in the western suburbs of Cleveland, Fr. Guiao was graduated from St. Ignatius High School in 1982 and pursued a B.A. in English at Western Reserve College of Case Western Reserve University.  He then entered the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), was ordained to the priesthood in June 1999, and pronounced final vows in the Society of Jesus in 2009.  He served as instructor of theology, English, and music at Saint Ignatius, both as a Jesuit seminarian (1992-1995) and as a newly ordained Jesuit priest (2000-2007).  In addition to growing the Choral and Liturgical Music programs at Saint Ignatius High School, Fr. Guiao also served for two years as the interim Vice President for Ignatian Mission at Saint Ignatius.  In 2008, Fr. Guiao was missioned to serve as Provincial Assistant for Jesuit Formation for the Chicago-Detroit Province, and was based in the Midwest Jesuit headquarters in Chicago.  In December 2014, Fr. Guiao was named the 26th president of Saint Ignatius High School, beginning his duties officially in July 2015.  He currently serves on the boards of trustees St. Martin de Porres High School (Cleveland, Ohio) Ohio City Incorporated, and Boys Hope Girls Hope of Cleveland.  Fr. Guiao also regularly assists with weekend Masses at St. Angela Merici Church in Fairview Park where his parents, Dr. and Mrs. Ramon T. Guiao, are parishioners, and the Poor Clare Monastery on Rocky River Drive.  He is regularly called upon as a spiritual/religious presenter and retreat leader.

Fr. Guiao holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Case Western Reserve University (1986); a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Mundelein College in Chicago (1988); a Master of Music in Voice Performance from the University of Michigan School of Music (1992); a Master of Divinity from Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts (1998); and a Master of Arts in Liturgical Theology from The Catholic Theological Union in Chicago (2000).

Thursday, May 3, 2018
The City Club of Cleveland
850 Euclid Ave, 2nd Floor
Registration table opens at 11:15 and program begins promptly at noon.

$25.00/per ticket
$250.00/table of 10

Register Now


Sr. Maximilian Marie Garretson, O.P. – April 5, 2018

“Easter Treasure: Shroud of Turin”

Talk Information

Our God is not dead – He is ALIVE! On Easter Thursday, we will ponder the hope of the empty tomb and the relics of the Resurrection. Experience the power, moment and meaning of Christ’s Resurrection through an encounter with the Shroud of Turin, the Veil of Manoppello, and Sacred Scripture.

Sr. Maximilian Marie Garretson, O.P., is a member of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a native of Oregon.  After earning her Bachelor of Arts degree and Apostolic Catechetical Diploma from Magdalen College, she served as Youth Coordinator at St. Mary Catholic Church in Corvallis, Oregon.  In 2001, she answered God’s amazing invitation of love to become His bride as a consecrated religious.  Since entering the community, she has earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Eastern Michigan University, and a Master’s in Educational Leadership from the University of Southern Mississippi. Sr. Maximilian Marie spent five years in California as principal of a pre-K through 8th-grade school, and recently returned to the States after four years in Rome, where she served as the librarian for the Pontifical North American College. She currently serves as Relationship Manager at the Sisters’ Mission Advancement Office in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist was founded in 1997 to spread the witness of religious life across the country in response to St. John Paul II’s vision for a New Evangelization. Their apostolate follows upon preaching and teaching the Truth in order to gain souls for the Kingdom of Christ. Media appearances: Oprah, The American Bible Challenge, NPR. Good Morning America, Today Show, BBC and EWTN & others. To learn more, visit

Thursday, April 5, 2018
The City Club of Cleveland
850 Euclid Ave, 2nd Floor
Registration table opens at 11:15 and program begins promptly at noon.

$25.00/per ticket
$250.00/table of 10

Deacon David Kushner “Honoring Our Deacons”

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Deacon Kushner was ordained a Permanent Deacon in 2007. He is the Director of the Diaconate Formation Program for the Diocese of Cleveland and is also assigned to St. Mary of the Assumption in the Collinwood neighborhood of Cleveland. He is a member of the National Association of Diaconate Directors and is a member of NADD’s finance Council. He earned a BA in Economics and Sociology from Washington and Jefferson College, a MA in Theology from St. Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology, and is currently a DMin candidate.

David’s MA symposium was entitled “Toward a Theology of the Diaconate” and his DMin project is “The Development of a Field Education Program for the Diocese of Cleveland”.

Several of his ministries at his parish are: he acts as the Parish Catechetical Leader, teaches PSR, and assists with sacramental preparation. He started and is active in running the parish’s Hot Meal Program.

David resides in Mentor with his wife Marie. They have two sons, Matthew and Sammy.

Thursday, March 1, 2018
The City Club of Cleveland
850 Euclid Ave, 2nd Floor
Registration table opens at 11:15 and program begins promptly at noon.

$25.00/per ticket
$250.00/table of 10