About the Staff
Patrick E. Kelly
Patrick E. Kelly is the Executive Director of the Saint John Paul II National Shrine and the Deputy Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus. As Executive Director, Mr. Kelly oversees the daily operations of the Shrine which has become a national place of pilgrimage dedicated to the spirituality, legacy and apostolic work of St. John Paul II.
A member of the Knights of Columbus for more than three decades, Mr. Kelly became the Order's Vice President for Public Policy in 2006 and has been Executive Director of the Shrine since its establishment in 2011.
Mr. Kelly has had a distinguished twenty-five year career in public service. He served as the Senior Advisor to the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom at the U.S. Department of State where his responsibilities included providing policy guidance on religious freedom questions in Iraq, Iran and Israel. He also acted as the State Department’s principal interlocutor with the Holy See on religious freedom issues worldwide.
Before his work at the State Department, Mr. Kelly served as the Legislative Counsel to the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in the U.S. House of Representatives. Previously, he served as an attorney in the Office of Intelligence, National Security Division at the U.S. Department of Justice.
In 2016, Mr. Kelly retired with the rank of Captain from the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps Reserves after 24 years of distinguished active and reserve service. He specialized in international and operational law and served as the Commanding Officer of the International Law unit at the U.S. Naval War College.
Familiar with the life and legacy of St. John Paul II, Mr. Kelly holds a Master of Theological Studies from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. The John Paul II Institute is a graduate school of theology dedicated to the study of the person and the call to holiness within marriage and family life.
Additionally, Mr. Kelly holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and a Juris Doctor from Marquette University. A member of the Wisconsin bar, he has been admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Mr. Kelly is Chairman of the Board of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund and is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Knights of Columbus, the National Catholic Bioethics Center, and the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast.
He and his wife reside in Connecticut. They are the parents of three children.
Maxime Nogier oversees the Shrine’s development in cooperation with the Executive Director and coordinates the relations between the Shrine and the New Haven headquarters of the Knights of Columbus. He supervises the ministries of the Shrine’s chaplain in residence, the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, and the Evangelization and Catechesis team.
In addition to his leadership at the Shrine, Mr. Nogier is Special Assistant to the Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson for French Affairs. He plays a key role in the development of the Knights of Columbus in France. Among other projects, he coordinates the Warriors to Lourdes pilgrimage in France, sponsored by the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA and the Knights of Columbus.
From 2009 to 2014, he was the Executive Assistant of His Excellency Jean Laffitte, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family at the Vatican. During these years, Mr. Nogier supervised the French-speaking affairs of the dicastery, planned the quinquennial visits ad limina apostolorum of diocesan bishops from all around the world, and assisted with the fundraising program launched by the secretary of the council. He also managed the day-to-day operation of the plenary assembly of the dicastery and organized the planning of two international World Meetings of Families presided over by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012 and Pope Francis in 2015.
Previously, Mr. Nogier assisted the Vice President of the Pontifical Academy of Life (2007 – 2008) with the French translation of the proceedings of the academy.
Mr. Nogier graduated with a Doctorate of Bioethics from the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome, Italy. He is fluent in French and Italian.
Rev. Tomasz Kraj
Theologian in Residence
Father Tomasz Kraj has served as the Theologian in Residence at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine since June 2016. As Theologian in Residence, Father Kraj is the principal advisor to the Executive Director and staff of the Shrine on matters of theology, liturgy, and Church teaching. In addition to these responsibilities, Father Kraj supports the Shrine by regularly celebrating the sacraments, ministering to individual pilgrims, and working with large pilgrimage groups.
Father Kraj attended the major seminary of Kraków and was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Kraków in 1987 by Cardinal Franciszek Macharski. In 1999, he received his Doctor of Sacred Theology from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Rome. He has served as a Professor of Theology at the Pontifical John Paul II University in Kraków since 1999.
As a priest of the Archdiocese of Kraków, Father Kraj has a close personal connection to St. John Paul II which began as young man when he received the Sacrament of Confirmation from then-Cardinal Karol Wojtyła.
A member of the Knights of Columbus since its foundation in Poland in 2006, Father Kraj is a member of the John Paul II Council #14000 in Kraków and has served as the Associate State Chaplain of Poland since 2011.
Sister Donata Farbaniec and Sister Gaudia Skass
Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy
In partnership with the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, the Saint John Paul II National Shrine is pleased to have Sister Donata Farbaniec and Sister Gaudia Skass as members of its staff.
Sister Donata hails from Poland and joined the Congregation in 1995, making her perpetual profession in 2003. Prior to her time at the Shrine, Sister Donata ministered to the English-speaking pilgrims at the Divine Mercy Shrine in Kraków and was a member of a formation team accompanying the Congregation’s candidates on the first stage of their religious life. From 2010-2013, Sister Donata was assigned to her congregation’s community in Boston, Massachusetts.
Sister Gaudia is also from Poland and studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw before entering the Congregation in 2005 and making her perpetual profession of vows in 2014. For six years, Sister Gaudia ministered to English- and Spanish-speaking pilgrims at the Divine Mercy Shrine in Kraków where she also worked in the “Faustinum” Association of the Apostles of Divine Mercy. In 2015, Sister Gaudia completed postgraduate studies in journalism. In addition to her media work on behalf of the Congregation, she enjoys youth ministry and served for two years on a team coordinating events for WYD Kraków 2016.
At the John Paul II National Shrine, both Sister Donata and Sister Gaudia are involved in spreading the message of Mercy revealed to their sister, St. Faustina Kowalska. They also lead the Shrine’s daily prayer at the Hour of Mercy and organize meetings for young adults called “Evenings with the Merciful Jesus” on the 22nd of each month.
The Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy was founded in Poland on November 1, 1862 and has been in existence for over 150 years. St. Faustina Kowalska, who was a member of the Congregation from 1926 until her death in 1938, is closely associated with St. John Paul II. In 1965, then-Archbishop Karol Wojtyła initiated the diocesan process of investigating St. Faustina’s possible canonization. Later, as Pope John Paul II, he would beatify her in 1993 and canonize her in 2000.