Join us at Sacred Heart’s Fifth Annual SHSST Preaching Conference


“AΩ The Beginning and the End:
Constructing Effective Introductions and Conclusions to Homilies”


January 3-5, 2023

When: Tuesday Evening, January 3 through Wednesday Evening, January 4, 2023. However, if you are traveling, you are welcoming to join us for Mass and breakfast on Thursday before your departure.

Where: Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, 7335 S Lovers Lane Rd, Franklin, WI 53132

Schedule of the Conference:

Tuesday, January 3, 2023:

  • 2:00pm-5pm Registration (Lobby)
  • 5:15pm Evening Prayer (SH Chapel)
  • 5:45pm Dinner (Dining Room)
  • 7:00pm First Presentation with Fr. Carl Gregorich (Lobby) 

Wednesday, January 4, 2023:

  • 7:45am Morning Prayer (SH Chapel)
  • 8:15am Breakfast (Main Dining Room)
  • 9:00am Second Presentation with Fr. Dan Dorau (Lobby)
  • 10:15am Break
  • 10:30am Third Presentation with Dcn. Rick Valencia (Lobby)
  • Noon Angelus/Lunch (Main Dining Room)
  • 1:00pm Fourth Presentation with Dcn. Steve Kramer (Lobby)
  • 2:15pm Break
  • 2:30pm Fifth Presentation with Fr. Mark Mastin (Lobby)
  • 4:00pm Mass (SH Chapel)
  • 5:00pm Reception (Lobby)
  • 5:30pm Dinner (Dining Room)

Thursday, January 5, 2023: Optional

  • 7:45am Mass
  • 8:15am Breakfast

Cost: $125 per person (includes all presentations , Tuesday evening dinner, all meals and reception on Wednesday, Thursday breakfast. Housing not included.)

Housing: Sacred Heart has a block of rooms reserved at the Hampton Inn and Suites Milwaukee/Franklin until December 5, 2023 for $99 per night.

  • Hotel Website for booking:
  • The hotel group code is: PRE
  • Hotel Address: 6901 S 76th St, Franklin, WI 53132
  • Hotel Phone: (414) 448-3103

Questions? Contact Deacon Steve Kramer, D. Min., Director of Homiletics:, 414-858-4767

Note to Clergy: Please ask your chancery office to email an electronic file (JPG or PDF) of your letter of suitability, with the letter addressed to the Most Rev. Jerome E. Listecki, Archdiocese of Milwaukee, 3501 South Lake Drive, PO Box 070912, Milwaukee, WI 53207-0912. It can be emailed to:

Speaker Biographies

Dcn. Steve Kramer, D.Min., was ordained in 1994 for the diocese of Rockville Centre, New York and is now incardinated for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.  He holds an M.A in Theology from Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, New York and a Doctorate (D.Min.) in Preaching and Communication from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts.  He is the Director of Homiletics and Associate Professor of Pastoral Studies at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wisconsin.  In addition, Deacon Kramer teaches homiletics to the candidates for the Permanent Diaconate Formation program of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.  Deacon Steve is a nationally known retreat master and speaker on preaching/communication topics, as well as contributing articles and a quarterly column for The Deacon magazine.    He and his wife Geri have been married for forty-four years.  They have four grown children and one grandchild all who now live in Southeastern Wisconsin.

Title and description of talk: “Major Characteristics of Effective Introductions and Conclusions”
This presentation will address how effective introductions and conclusions are essential in allowing listeners to connect with the main message of a homily.  People in our culture today value relationships with their preachers.  However, even if the homilist is well known to a congregation, they must continually  open the minds of the people to absorb and listen to the message God has placed on our hearts.  By sharing specific examples of beginnings and endings of homilies, the participants will come away with a deeper understanding of how to engage and keep one’s listeners involved.


Fr. Mark Mastin, SCJ, is a member of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.  The community is headquartered in Franklin, Wisconsin on the grounds of Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology.  Fr. Mark has been a religious priest for 22 years and has served the SCJ community in numerous offices and ministries.  He has been a Vocation Director, Peace and Justice Director, and missionary pastor.  Additionally, Fr. Mark spent many years as an active duty military chaplain for the United States Army.  Currently he serves as Associate Formation Director at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, which is an apostolate of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.

Title and description of talk: “Taking Off and Landing: Using Imagery to Help Effectively Fly Our Homilies”
As the title indicates, many of us, who have been preaching for years, occasionally forget who is sitting in our pews.  Because of this,  we tend at times to lapse into the doldrum of sloppy unimaginative homilies that seem to hover in the air without any intentions of landing in the minds and hearts of the people.  Since men and women’s minds are so cluttered with the thoughts of the culture, we need a new approach to speaking to them.  Since attention spans are shorter today for many of our congregants, employing imagery is a useful tool to help us take off and land our homilies successfully form start to finish.


Dcn. Rick Valencia, was ordained to the Permanent Diaconate for the Diocese of Tucson June 16, 2012. In September 2015, he was asked to become the Director for Deacons for the Diocese of Tucson by then Bishop Gerald Kicanas. Currently, he is now in his seventh year of assignment as Director. Additionally, he serves as a member of the Common Formation Program (Diaconate & Lay Ecclesial Ministry) for his diocese as well as serving in various leadership roles within his parish, Our Lady of Lourdes in Benson, AZ. He is a retired police officer/ detective having served for 40 years with two state agencies, the Arizona Department of Public Safety (30 years) and the Office of the State Attorney General, Criminal Division, Office of Special Investigations (10 years). 

Title and description of talk: “Bring to Life the Words of the Gospel”
The presentation will center on bringing about a common understanding of what Jesus is telling us in the Gospel reading. To bring about a deeper meaning of, “how does the Gospel reading relate to me in my everyday life.”  In the context of,  how can I form and bring to life the words of the Gospel into an everyday reality of life that we all experience.


Fr. Carl Gregorich, is a second vocation individual having worked just shy of 40 years in the railroad industry in Marketing/Sales. He was ordained a Permanent Deacon in the Diocese of Joliet and served the Church for a number of years as deacon.  However, at the time of his retirement from the transportation industry, he felt a call to further study for the priesthood and entered Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology in 2015. He graduated in May of 2018 and was ordained in June of 2018 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Memphis, TN.

Title and description of talk: “The Significance of Good Introductions and Conclusions in a Homily”
The content of the presentation will be to encourage the homilist to be enthusiastic but also to employ ways of engaging the listeners through ingenuity.  Ultimately, we need to grab something new, something exciting, something out of the ordinary to set up our homily and establish a presence and get the attention of those we seek to offer the word of God.  Additionally, the goal of the presentation will be to close with something simple but thought provoking enough for the listeners to take with them.


Fr. Dan Dorau, is a priest in the Diocese of Davenport, Iowa serving as pastor of four rural parishes. A graduate of SHSST,  he was ordained in 2017. Prior to seminary, Fr. Dan worked as a systems analyst and corporate trainer and has taught at the university and college level. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication and a Master of Science in Information and Communication Science.

Title and description of talk: “How to engage your congregation by starting your homily talking about yourself”
People love to know their priest/deacon. Beginning homilies with personal stories will “hook” the listener, bringing their attention to the main message. After making a case for this type of homily, this talk explores the do’s and don’ts of self revelation: what is appropriate, how to tie it into the homily, referring back to it during and/or at the end of the homily. The presenter will include examples from his own homilies along with an interactive exercise.