Executive Team

Dan Burke: Chairman / President

Dan Burke is the President of the Avila Foundation, Executive Director of EWTN’s National Catholic Register, an international speaker, an award winning author/editor of more than ten books on Catholic spirituality. He is also the host of Divine Intimacy Radio, a frequent radio and television guest, retreat master, and founder of the award-winning site dedicated to Catholic spirituality, SpiritualDirection.com. Dan lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with his wife and children.

Anthony LillesAnthony Lilles, S.T.D.: Chief Academic Officer

Dr. Anthony Lilles, a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, completed his graduate and post-graduate studies in Rome at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas. Living in Oxnard, California with his wife Agnes, they are blessed to be parents of three   young adults. Dr. Lilles also serves as Academic Dean of Saint John’s Seminary in Camarillo, California and Academic Advisor of Juan Diego House of Priestly Formation for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Having taught graduate level theology for over 20 years, Dr. Lilles is specialized in Spiritual Theology, Spiritual Direction, and various classics of Catholic Spirituality. His expertise is in the spiritual doctrine of Blessed Elisabeth of the Trinity and the Carmelite Doctors of the Church: St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and St. Therese of Lisieux. In 2012, Discerning Hearts published his book Hidden Mountain, Secret Garden: A Theological Contemplation on Prayer, a compilation of discussions with seminarians, students and contemplatives about the spiritual life.  More recently, Emmaus House has published a book co-written with Avila Institute Founder, Dan Burke, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila.  

Avila Institute of Spiritual Formation Graduate Program

Dr. Joel I. BarstadJoel I. Barstad, Ph.D.: Adjunct Professor

Dr. Joel Barstad is a Byzantine Catholic layman and father of seven. He and his wife, Leslie, live in Castle Rock, Colorado. Since 2002, he has been a professor at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver, Colorado, where he regularly teaches courses in Patristics, Christology, Theological Anthropology, and Sacred Art. He has an M.A. in Early Christian Studies from the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., and an M.M.S. and a Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame’s Medieval Institute, Notre Dame, Indiana.

Deacon Colin Coleman: Adjunct Professor

Deacon Colin Coleman was baptized a Catholic but not raised in the faith, first encountering our Lord in a real way at age twenty-one, just before he met his wife. After their marriage, Deacon Colin helped found the St Vinnies Youth Movement in New Zealand and then was asked by the bishop to join the diocesan youth team as director, a position he held for two years. Desiring a deeper and more radical relationship with Jesus, Deacon Colin and his wife joined the Community of the Beatitudes in 1993, joining in a Beatitude house in France that was only a few miles from Lourdes. They were then asked to help found the Beatitude house in Christchurch, New Zealand, where they stayed for nine years. During this time, Deacon Colin was asked take over as superior of the house. They were then led to the United States to assist in the mission in Denver, Colorado, where he works for the parish of St. Catherine of Siena as Director of Religious Education. On behalf of the Archdiocese, Deacon Colin teaches and provides formation for engaged couple preparing for marriage. As part of his responsibilities with the Beatitude community, he is in charge of the lay branch and assists in the formation of new members and the ongoing formation existing members. Deacon Colin was ordained in 2013 and has been married to Maria for the past twenty six years and they have been blessed with seven children (four daughters, two sons and one son waiting for them in heaven).

Peter HowardPeter J. Howard, S.T.D.: Adjunct Professor

Dr. Peter Howard presently lives in Aspen, Colorado, with his wife, Chantal, and four children. Dr. Howard is a Catholic videographer and national Catholic speaker who has spoken at the 2012 Midwest Catholic Family Conference in Wichita, Kansas, the United States Air Force Academy, parish retreats, and on Catholic radio programs. Dr. Howard served on the advisory board for the Archbishop Fulton Sheen Foundation. He is the founder and President of The Fulton Sheen Society and Director of The Catholic Hour grassroots movement. In addition to hosting a Catholic television program The Catholic Hour in Aspen, Colorado, Peter has served the Church in various capacities from working for a Metropolitan Tribunal to serving as the director of communications, theological consultant, and executive assistant to Bishop Michael Sheridan in Colorado Springs. Since 2006, Peter has worked as Director of Evangelization and Adult Faith formation at St. Mary Catholic Church in Aspen, Colorado, during which time he completed his Doctorate in Sacred Theology (S.T.D.) from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas [Angelicum] in Rome, Italy. Dr. Howard’s theological expertise lies in Mariology ~ especially that of Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, which was the subject of his doctoral dissertation. Like his spiritual mentor, Fulton Sheen, Dr. Howard is passionate about communicating the truth and beauty of the Catholic faith as the answer to the challenges and errors of the world.

Ben Nguyen (1)Benedict Nguyen, B.A., M.T.S., J.D./J.C.L., D.Min (ABD): Adjunct Professor

Dr. Benedict Nguyen was born in Saigon, Vietnam and grew up in Wichita, Kansas. He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liturgical Musicology from the University of Kansas; a Master of Theological Studies from the University of Dallas-Institute for Religious and Pastoral Studies; and a Pontifical Licentiate degree in Canon Law from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He began his legal studies at the Columbus School of Law in Washington, D.C. and completed his law degree at the Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he was a three-time recipient of the CALI Award for academic excellence in corporate law, non-profit law and critical studies in law and region. He is currently completing a Doctorate in Ministry in Biblical Exposition at the Nashotah House Theological Seminary in Delafield, Wisconsin. For eight years he served as the Chancellor for the Diocese of La Crosse where he was a canon lawyer for the Diocese, the Diocesan Director of Communications & Media Relations, the Diocesan Director of Catholic Cemeteries, a Defender of the Bond in the Matrimonial Tribunal, and was a five-term Chairman of the Board for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of La Crosse. In academics, he served as Upper School Dean at Providence Classical Academy in La Crosse, Wisconsin, where he was also as an instructor in religion, music, Latin, Greek, classical Aristotelian logic, and rhetoric. He has also taught as a Visiting Lecturer and instructor for the Liturgical Institute at Mundelein Seminary in Chicago. Currently, he is the Director of Communications and Director of the Office of Sacred Worship for the Diocese of Venice in Florida. In addition, he serves as an Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the Institute for Pastoral Theology of Ave Maria University where he teaches courses in canon law, liturgy, morality, ecclesiology, social ethics, and pastoral theology. He is also an Adjunct Professor for the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation. As a licensed attorney with the Wisconsin Bar Association and an active canon lawyer, he continues to serve as a legal and canonical consultant to various dioceses, religious institutions, apostolates, non-profit organizations, schools and individuals across the country. He and his wife Beth have five children.

Avila Institute School of Spiritual Formation

Julie Enzler

Julie Enzler, S.T.L.: Adjunct Lecturer

Julie Enzler holds a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas, a B.A. in Theology and Philosophy from Franciscan University of Steubenville, and formation certificates for all levels of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. She has worked as a teacher, catechist, translator for L’Osservatore Romano, and founded New England Classical Academy, a K-12 classical curriculum academy in the Catholic tradition.

John Johnson: Adjunct Lecturer

John Johnson is a graduate of the philosophy program at St. Mary’s College. There, he developed a love for the Catholic intellectual tradition and went on to earn a master’s degree in theology from the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology where his Thesis focused on Beatific epistemology and passion according to St. Thomas Aquinas. He presently serves as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Folsom, California as well as the principal of Petros LLC, a small Catholic media company dedicated to the new evangelization. In 2009 he helped found Veritas Young Adults. He has given talks at Catholic retreats and events across the country. His publications include “The First Principles of Catholic Social Teaching and the Mark of the Beast.” Magister: A Journal to Discuss Magisterial Documents Vol. I (2013): 10-16. He and his wife, Alexandria, have two baby daughters – Mary and Agnes.

Profile 2 AvilaCamila Malta: Adjunct Lecturer

Camila Malta is a graduate student at Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College pursuing a Masters of Arts degree in Theological Studies with a concentration in Systematic Theology. She attended the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota for her Bachelor’s Degree, where she double majored in Business Administration and Catholic Studies.  After spending many years in the corporate world, she discerned it was time to become a stay at home mom and was thus freed to study more deeply her much beloved Catholic Faith.  Camila has a deep desire that all may come to know and love Our Lord and may come to become a member of His saving work. She was born and raised in Brazil where she attended a Catholic international school called Chapel School in Sao Paulo.  After living in Chile for five years, she moved to Texas where she lives with her Chilean husband, Mauricio and five children – Bruno, Lucas, Tomas, Paula and Mauro.

GamaMichael_597Michael Gama, M. Divn., D.Min.: Adjunct Lecturer

Dr. Michael Gama was born and baptized Roman Catholic, though at five years of age, his family left the Catholic Church. They spent many years in Evangelicalism and he attended and graduated from an Evangelical college and seminary. Post-seminary he had a sense that even with, and maybe because of, his educational experience, he was missing something vitally important. He then began reading extensively in the patristics, particularly in the monastics and eastern fathers. About 20 years ago he, his wife and three children began attending an Orthodox church where they remained for five years. Fifteen years ago they moved permanently to the Maronite Catholic Church. Gama’s priest is a hermit monk and Abouna of a newly formed monastery. They are grateful to be in this parish. Their priest gave Michael a blessing to go through a doctoral program at a local seminary where he did work primarily in the area of soteriology — theosis — the eastern Christian understanding of union with God, by grace, through Jesus Christ. He is grateful for the opportunity to participate with Avila Institute students in exploring the call to grow in virtue and in Him. He and his wife have been married 35 years and live east of Portland, Oregon in the Columbia River Gorge.

joe-in-the-studioJoseph Hollcraft, Ph.D.: Adjunct Lecturer

Over the past thirteen years, Dr. Joseph Hollcraft has taught at the Middle School, High School, and University level. Founder of Seeds of Truth Ministries, Joseph is an Adjunct Professor to the Avila Institute and host to the Seeds of Truth Radio program. Seeds of Truth airs daily to the north state of California and can be found as an iTunes Podcast where it reaches thousands of listeners in over 40 countries. Dr. Hollcraft will publish his first book with Emmaus Road in early September 2015. In this work, Joseph reflects into the principles of spiritual and pastoral theology, and its impact upon the new evangelization. Joseph has also been published with the likes of The Catechetical Review and the Homiletic and Pastoral ReviewJoseph earned his B.A. and M.A. from Franciscan University of Steubenville, and received his Ph.D. from Graduate Theological Foundation with studies being completed at Oxford University. Most importantly, Joseph is a devoted husband and father. He lives in Chico, California with his beautiful wife Jackie, and their four children: Kolbe, Avila, Isaac, and Siena.

Paul McCusker: Adjunct Lecturer

Paul McCusker is an author and dramatist. His books include The Screwtape Letters Annotated Edition and C.S. Lewis & Mere Christianity: The Crisis That Created A Classic, plus over 20 novels and non-fiction works. His scriptwriting includes the multiple award-winning audio dramatizations of The Chronicles of Narnia, The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis At War and the Peabody Award-winning Bonhoeffer: The Cost of Freedom.  He is also a writer and director for the popular children’s program Adventures In Odyssey. Paul lives in Colorado Springs with his wife, son and daughter.