Institute Fellows

Our Institute Fellows are distinguished experts in their fields and integral to the ICT’s support of local theology and catechetics students.

Fr. Robert Bolding, MDiv, M.Ed

Fr. Robert Bolding is a priest in the Diocese of Phoenix. He is the President-Rector of St. Mary’s High School, where he has taught and ministered since 2009. Fr. Bolding attended the Pontifical College Josephinum and holds a Master’s degree in education from the University of Notre Dame.

Nicole Delaney, JCL

Nicole Delaney, JCL, is a native of Minnesota and attended the University of St. Thomas, receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and Catholic Studies, with a minor in Theology. She spent two years working in the corporate sector before returning to school to study Theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome. After completing her studies, she began her education in Canon Law at the Catholic University of America, in Washington, D.C. Upon graduation with her Licentiate, Nicole moved to Arizona to begin working for the Tribunal of the Diocese of Phoenix. Nicole is the Director of the Tribunal, managing the daily operations of the Tribunal and supervising all procedures and staff. She also is a canonical advisor to the Bishop, diocesan staff, and parishes. Nicole deals with any matter of Canon Law, most especially Sacramental Law, Religious Law, Eastern Canon Law, Special Law, and General Norms. She also assists in the training of clergy and parish ministers. Nicole lives in Phoenix with her husband and children.

Ryan Hanning, M.Ed, PhD

Ryan Hanning is the Asst. VP and Director of Cultural Advancement at the University of Mary Tempe where he also teaches Church History and Catholic Studies. He writes and speaks internationally on modern objections to religious faith and obstacles to conversion. His undergraduate degree is in Religious studies and his post graduate work was in education and historical theology. He received his PhD on the development of doctrine and catechesis in the Eastern Catholic Church at Maryvale Institute, England, and currently resides in Mesa, AZ with his beautiful wife Rebecca, and their 8 well socialized homeschooled children.

Dr. Michael Lueken

Dr. Michael Lueken completed his doctoral coursework at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies in Marriage and Family. His dissertation topic was: “Dorothy Day and Catholic Social Teaching: The Witness of a Life and the Mission of the Church in the World.” He has been teaching theology in a variety of settings in Phoenix, primarily at Xavier College Preparatory, but also at the University of Mary and the St. Thomas the Apostle Institute of Catholic Theology. Dr. Lueken completed his B.A. and M.A. in philosophy at San Diego State University, where the study of both classical and modern philosophies laid the groundwork for his theological work. He has been blessed with a wonderful wife and three lovely daughters. He loves reading theology, but also poetry, and great fiction. He is also a devoted fan of BBC detective drama.

Dr. Ramon Luzarraga

Ramon Luzarraga is an assistant professor of theology and the chair of undergraduate studies at Benedictine University in Mesa, Arizona. He holds a B.A. from Fordham University, where he double-majored in political science and theology, an M.A.R. from Yale Divinity School, and a Ph.D. with a focus on systematic theology and ethics from Marquette University. His research interests deal with political theology in all its varieties and the ethical questions which arise from that, inculturation of the faith, as well as Hispanic and Caribbean theology. He holds a mandatum from the Diocese of Phoenix. He appears regularly on Immaculate Heart Radio, and has given talks at parish and diocesan gatherings.

Fr. Lawrence Merta

Fr. Larry Merta was born in Pozzuoli, Italy on April 17th of 1968, the city St. Paul landed at in Acts 28:13. He grew up in Brownsville, Texas and is the eldest of five children. Fr. Larry sensed a vocation to the priesthood after his freshman year in high-school in the summer of 1984. In 1986 he served his country as a Chapel’s Activity Specialist with the First Cavalry Division, U.S. Army. In 1989 he entered the novitiate of the Legion of Christ and was ordained to the priesthood in Rome on December 24th, 2002. Fr. Larry has served the Church in several cities of the Midwest including Cleveland, Toledo, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Lexington and Louisville and Indianapolis as well as abroad in such countries as Hungary, Austria, Italy, and Mexico. He was incardinated into the Phoenix Diocese in August of 2014.

Fr. John Muir STL

Fr. John Muir is the pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Avondale, AZ. He attended Regis University in Denver, CO and graduated in 2000 with degrees in Communication Arts, and Spanish. During college he spent a semester abroad in Limerick, Ireland. Fr. Muir heard the call to apply to seminary and enter priestly formation while on a Jubilee Year pilgrimage in 2000. He studied Philosophy at St John Vianney seminary in Denver, from 2000-2003, followed by Theology at Mundelein Seminary in Chicago, from 2003-2007. He was ordained a deacon by Francis Cardinal George on October 28, 2006, and ordained a priest by Bishop Thomas Olmsted, Bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix, on June 2, 2007. Following ordination he completed a 2 year Licentiate degree in Theology at the Liturgical Institute in Chicago. Fr. Muir’s assignments include: Parochial Vicar St. Joan of Arc Parish, Phoenix, 2008-2010; Assistant Director, ASU Newman Center, 2010-2013; Administrator/Pastor St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, Anthem, AZ, 2013-2015; Assistant Director Office of Worship, Diocese of Phoenix, 2008-present; and Pastor St. Thomas Aquinas, Avondale, July 1, 2015 – present.

Simone Rizkallah, MA

Simone Rizkallah is currently the Senior Theology Teacher and Department Chair at St. Mary’s Catholic High School in Phoenix, AZ. Her graduate degree is in Theological Studies with an emphasis in Systematic Theology from Christendom College. Her undergraduate studies and professional background include marketing communications, media, radio, and theatre before discovering her passion for the Faith and call to teach and evangelize. As the daughter of immigrants from the Armenian Diaspora in Cairo, Egypt, she has a particular interest in matters of religious freedom and culture. Simone is a Witherspoon Fellow (2004), an Acton Institute Fellow (2009), and has studied at the St. Albert the Great Center for Scholastic Studies in Norcia, Italy (2011) and at the Phoenix Institute at the International Theological Institute in Trumau, Austria (2013). She helps lead the local chapters of the ecclesial movement of Communion and Liberation and the Washington, D.C. based non-profit In Defense of Christians. She is thrilled to be involved with the Institute of Catholic Theology.