Chris Wright Jim Gontis 

    Class Year: 1997   
    Major: MA Theology
   Area of Expertise: Catechesis
   Job Title and Organization: Diocesan Director of Evangelization and Catechesis, Diocese of Harrisburg, PA


James F. Gontis’ primary vocation is as husband and father. He and his wife, Eva, are blessed to be the parents of eight children – six boys and two girls. Mr. Gontis is in his 18th year as Director of the Department of Religious Education for the Diocese of Harrisburg. In this position, he serves the Diocesan Bishop in helping to oversee catechesis in the Diocese of Harrisburg’s 89 parishes and 35 Catholic schools. He served two terms (2007-2013) as the Chairman of the Pennsylvania Conference of Catechetical Leadership (PCCL) and in those same six years represented the Pennsylvania Province on the National Conference of Catechetical Leadership’s (NCCL) Representative Council. Mr. Gontis has given approximately 1,000 presentations on approximately 150 theological and catechetical topics. He is adjunct faculty at Messiah College, has taught catechetics in the Diocese of Harrisburg’s diaconal program, as well the catechetics seminar at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmittsburg, Maryland. Besides teaching parish and diocesan workshops for the Diocese of Harrisburg’s Diocesan Institute, he has given presentations at the following national conferences: the 2014 NCEA Conference, the 2013 St. John Bosco Conference, and the 2011 NCCL Conference. He has had articles and pamphlets published in several diocesan and national catechetical and theological publications, including the Catholic Witness, Our Sunday Visitor, and Catechetical Leader.Prior to working for the Diocese of Harrisburg, Mr. Gontis was a high school theology teacher and department chairman, as well as having coached several sports. His undergraduate degree is in History and Government from Adams State College in Alamosa, Colorado. He received his Masters Degree from Franciscan University, where he met his wife, Eva. Mr. Gontis and his family are members of Holy Name of Jesus Parish, Harrisburg. He serves on the Holy Name school board, the Diocesan Board of Education, as one of the parish RCIA instructors, and as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. He is a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus and for eight years served as Vice-President of the Harrisburg Chapter of the Serra Club, which which is dedicated to praying for vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life.