Meet the Team
CRC: Director of the Regnum Christi Spirituality Center
Lucy Honner came on board as the director of the Regnum Christi Spirituality Center in January 2013. She is originally from Adelaide, South Australia where she worked professionally as an architect. In 1997 she felt drawn to dedicate a year of service to the Catholic Church through missionary work with Regnum Christi in the United States. The following year Lucy experienced God’s call to dedicate her life to serving Christ and others as a consecrated member of Regnum Christi. She received her degree in education and religious sciences, and since 1998 has exercised her apostolate as a speaker, spiritual director and retreat director for Regnum Christi throughout North America, including Washington DC, Minneapolis, MN, Atlanta, GA, Denver, CO and San Jose, CA. She currently resides in Washington D.C.
Fr. John Bartunek, LC
S.Th.D.: Author and Creative Director of Product Development and Delivery
Fr. John Bartunek, LC, S.Th.D, received his BA in History from Stanford University in 1990. He comes from an evangelical Christian background and became a member of the Catholic Church in 1991. After college he worked as a high school history teacher, drama director, and baseball coach. He then spent a year as a professional actor in Chicago before entering the religious Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ in 1993. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 2003 and earned his doctorate in moral theology in 2010. He provided spiritual support on the set of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ while researching the 2005 Catholic best seller, Inside the Passion, the only authorized, behind-the-scene explanation of the film. Fr. John has contributed news commentary regarding religious issues on NBC, CNN, Fox, and the BBC. He also served as the English-language press liaison for the Vatican’s 2005 Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist. His most widely known book is called The Better Part: A Christ-Centered Resource for Personal Prayer. His most recent books are Seeking First the Kingdom: 30 Meditations on How to Love God with All Your Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength, and Answers: Catholic Advice for Your Spiritual Questions. Fr. John currently splits his time between Michigan (where he continues his writing apostolate and serves as a confessor and spiritual director at the Queen of the Family Retreat Center) and Rome, where he teaches theology at Regina Apostolorum. His online, do-it-yourself retreats are available at RCSpirituality.org, and he answers questions about the spiritual life at SpiritualDirection.com.
Fr. John Pietropaoli, LC STL
Fr. John Pietropaoli , LC was born in Malone, New York. He entered the Novitiate of the Legionaries of Christ in Cheshire, Connecticut, in September of 2000. He subsequently studied Classical Humanities in Cheshire, and completed his studies in Philosophy and Theology in Rome, Italy. He was ordained a priest on December 15, 2012, and completed a Licientiate Degree in Spiritual Theology in Rome in 2014. He is currently serving as the chaplain at Divine Mercy University in Arlington, Virginia. Along with writing Retreat Guides, RC Essays, he also an author of Homily Packs at ePriest.com.
RC: Executive Assistant of Product Development and Promotion
Debbie grew up in Sacramento, CA, attended Catholic schools, and studied business. She is a cradle Catholic whose faith received a jumpstart on a pilgrimage to Rome soon after the Jubilee of the Year 2000. In 2006 Debbie became a member of Ecclesial Movement, Regnum Christi. Since then, she has assisted in various apostolates, mostly in behind-the-scenes roles. She has been the website manager for Sacerdos Institute (English) since 2007, and was the ePriest.com website manager for over six years. She also volunteered in various capacities with the University of Sacramento project between 2007 and 2011. At the parish level she serves as a Eucharistic Minister to the sick and homebound. Debbie lives in Turlock, CA, and has been married for more than 38 years and has two adult sons. She enjoys spending time with her growing family, traveling, volunteering, watching and attending sporting events, and reading.
Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC
“Ask a Priest” Editor and Contributor
Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC, teaches theology and Scripture at Mater Ecclesiae College in Greenville, RI, and serves as chaplain at Overbrook Academy in Warwick, RI. He holds degrees from Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Connecticut, the Regina Apostolorum Athenaeum in Rome, and Northwestern University in Illinois. He is a past assistant publisher of the National Catholic Register and Faith & Family magazine, and a past editor of the English edition of the Zenit news agency. He has written for the rcspiritualdirection.com and ePriest.com. He has worked in spiritual retreats in the Northeast, New England, the Midwest and the South, and done mission work in Mexico. Born in Philadelphia, he worked in journalism and was active in the pro-life movement before entering the novitiate of the Legion of Christ in 1992. He was ordained to the priesthood in 2001.
Fr. Nikola Derpich, L.C., S.Th.D.
Fr. Nikola Derpich, L.C., S.Th.D., was born in California to a Croatian-American family and received a BA with a double major in Computer and Information Sciences and Literature with an Emphasis on Creative Writing from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1989. He worked in the computer industry for seven and half years as a technical support engineer and a technical writer. He entered the Legionaries of Christ in 1997 and received B.A.’s in Philosophy and Theology from the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in 2001 and 2006, respectively. He was ordained a Catholic priest on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception in 2006, and continued his studies, receiving an S.T.L. in Theology in 2008 and a S.Th.D. in dogmatic theology in 2015. Since ordination he has worked in Regina Apostolorum as U.S. Enrollment Coordinator of the School of Bioethics, as theology instructor in Our Lady of Thornwood (Thornwood, N.Y.), Mater Ecclesiae College (Greenville, R.I.) during which he was also chaplain for Overbrook Academy, and Regina Apostolorum. As Legionary he was a contributor to Sacerdos magazine from 2000-2006, writing the column Priests of the Twentieth Century, and in May 2015 started the blogs A Roman Catholic Experience and Today’s Liturgy. He currently lives in Rome, Italy, where he continues to teach theology as a professor at Regina Apostolorum.
Fr. James Swanson, LC
Fr. James Swanson, LC is a spiritual director and retreat master in Atlanta. He has a degree in philosophy from the Gregorian University and one in theology from the Maria Regina Apostolorum Athenaeum in Rome. He has served as a professor at the Legion’s French-speaking novitiate and minor seminary in Cornwall, Ontario where he taught Spirituality, Christology, Comparative Religions and Greek among other courses. He has also worked as a spiritual director and retreat master at the Our Lady of Bethesda Retreat Center in Bethesda, Maryland and at the same time did counseling in the Alpha-Omega Family Centers in Bethesda and Annapolis. He has served as chaplain on a dozen Helping Hands Medical Missions to various countries in the Caribbean and Central America. Other responsibilities he has had include being vocations director for French-speaking vocations in Canada and the head of the Creative Division of the Legion’s Fundraising Office. A Montana native, he studied biology at Cal Poly State University in California before joining the Legion of Christ. He was ordained a priest in 1994.