Meet our spiritual directors
Nick Bufano is the pastor at Newtonville United Methodist Church in Latham, NY. Nick has a Master of Divinity from Lancaster Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from Lancaster Theological Seminary with a concentration in clergy care and renewal. Nick trained in a contemplative model of Spiritual Direction at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in Washington DC.
Maureen received her master’s degree in theology from St. Bernard’s Graduate School of Theology and Ministry, and her training as a director here at the Center. Maureen also has a doctoral degree in theology from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, OH. She recently retired from the NYS Department of Corrections as the Catholic Chaplain at Five Points Correctional Facility. In retirement she is a substitute teacher in several schools in the Auburn area.
Ann Derr received her training in spiritual direction here at the Center. Her education also includes Loyola University's Institute for Ministry Program in Pastoral Studies with a focus in Christian Spirituality. Ann is active in parish leadership and ministry at her home parish, Church of the Nativity at Immaculate Conception in Pompey.
Fr. Jason Downer, SJ
Fr. Jason Downer, SJ is a campus minister at LeMoyne College, works with the local Jesuit Volunteer Corps and is an experienced spiritual director. He has a Master of Science in College Student Personnel Administration, a Master of Arts in Social Philosophy from Loyola Chicago, and a Master of Divinity from Boston College. Additionally, Fr. Jason received his training in spiritual direction at Loyola Chicago and ministered in the Northern Mariana Islands after ordination to the priesthood.
Jim Krisher is the founder and a staff spiritual director at the Spiritual Renewal Center. Jim received his undergraduate degree in Religion from Syracuse University, and his master's degree in Theology from Boston College. Jim has also pursued further graduate studies in Christian spirituality and spiritual direction at Creighton University. He has written numerous published articles in his area of expertise, and is the author of Spiritual Surrender: Yielding Yourself to a Loving God, and The Ongoing Work of Jesus: His Mission in our Life, both published by Twenty-Third Publications. He is also an adjunct faculty member in the Religious Studies department at LeMoyne College, where he teaches courses in New Testament and Christian spirituality. He is married and the father of four children.
Maureen Lasda received her training in spiritual direction here at the Spiritual Renewal Center. She is retired from teaching religion and campus ministry at Christian Brothers Academy as well as parish work in catechetics. She holds a bachelor’s degree from LeMoyne College in religious studies and a master’s degree from Fordham University in religious education.
Mark Lawson is a retired pastor ordained in the United Church of Christ, and an adjunct faculty member at LeMoyne College, where he teaches courses in religion and theology. Mark is also on the faculty of the New York School of Ministry, an alternative ministry preparation program of the United Church of Christ. He trained as a director here at the Center.
Gerard McKeon, SJ
Gerry McKeon, SJ is a Jesuit priest with extensive experience in spiritual direction and in offering the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius to men and women from all backgrounds. He has served as a chaplain at Ithaca College and Cornell University, and on the staff of Eastern Point retreat house in Gloucester, MA.
Peter J. Murray, SJ
Fr. Peter Murray, SJ has been interested in the Ignatian Spiritual exercises from a very young age. Peter, ordained as Jesuit priest in May 1972, has had since a number of apostolic missions, including offering the Exercises in two parishes, and he recently completed a nine-months stint as Staff director at Faulkner in Maryland. He has done much Ignatian spiritual direction over the years--and is also interested in the interface between Poetry and
spirituality. He resides at Le Moyne Jesuit community here in Syracuse.
Kathleen Owens received her training in spiritual direction at the Syracuse diocese and at St. Louis University. She retired after 24 years of work as pastoral associate at Sr. Francis Xavier Church in Marcellus, and she has served as a spiritual director here at the Spiritual Renewal Center for over 25 years.
Ginny Smith is a retired Presbyterian clergyperson. She has an M.Div. from Princeton Seminary; a D.Min. from McCormick Seminary, Chicago; and a Professional Certificate in Spiritual Gerontology from the Johnson Institute, St. Louis, MO. She trained as a director here at the Spiritual Renewal Center.
Gary Smith is a United Church of Christ (UCC) clergyperson who has served congregations in Binghamton and Homer. He serves as the Racial Justice Coordinator for the UCC’s NY Conference. Prior to that, Gary served for ten years as a pastoral associate in two Catholic parishes. He graduated from St. Bernard’s in Rochester, and was trained as a director here at the Center.