The 2019 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering, organized by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and 16 collaborating organizations, will draw more than 500 participants from around the country and seeks to equip current and emerging leaders in Catholic social ministry and advocacy to cultivate God’s justice in their communities and around the world, the USCCB said on January 11, 2019. This year’s theme is “Let Justice Flow (cf. Am. 5:24): A Call to Restore and Reconcile.” Participants will focus on pressing domestic and international concerns such as racism, restorative justice, migration, and poverty. The final day of the gathering will be advocacy visits with representatives from the U.S. Congress.
The event will be February 2-5, 2019, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert Street, NW, Washington DC, 20008.
Program and Speaker highlights include:
• Sister Norma Pimentel, M.J., the Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, who oversees the charitable arm of the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas, and was instrumental in quickly organizing community resources to respond to the surge of Central Americans seeking asylum in the United States and setting up the Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, TX. As part of the Gathering, Sister Norma will receive the 2019 Sister Margaret Cafferty Development of Peoples Award, sponsored by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.
• Bishop Shelton J Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana, Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism. Bishop Fabre will facilitate a panel discussion with diverse leaders onOpen Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love, A Pastoral Letter Against Racism, and its implications for Church and society.
• Elizabeth Hinton, Ph.D., author of award-winning book, From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America and currently the John L. Loeb. Associate Professor of the Social Sciences in the Department History and the Department of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. Hinton’s research focuses on the persistence of poverty and racial inequality in the 20th century United States.
• Fr. Maurice Henry Sands, the Executive Director for the Black and Indian Mission Office in Washington, DC. Fr. Sands is a full-blooded Native American and member of the Ojibway, Ottawa and Potawatomi tribes, who are known together as Anishnaabe. Fr. Sands is passionate about addressing the issue of racism including as a Consultant to the USCCB Subcommittee on Native American Affairs and the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism.
• Justice Janine P. Geske, previously a Distinguished Professor of Law at Marquette University Law School and Director of the Law School’s Restorative Justice Initiative. A graduate of Marquette University Law School, she has been active in numerous civic and community activities. She frequently teaches at judicial, legal and community conferences on mediation, restorative justice, sentencing, evidence, the courts, and spirituality and work.
• Elena Segura, Pastoral Migratoria founder, and Senior Coordinator for Immigration in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Elena will participate in the racism panel discussion to share how the Hispanic/Latino is affected by the evil of racism and how the Pastoral Migratoria program is an example of the Church’s witness on welcoming migrants as it seeks to build bridges among communities including the participation of clergy.
• Daniel Philpott, professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame, who specializes in religion and global politics, with emphases on reconciliation, religious freedom, and theories of religious actors’ political behavior. He has also participated in faith-inspired reconciliation efforts in some of the world’s worst conflict zones, including Kashmir and the Great Lakes region of Africa.
• A plenary session, “Immigrants and Refugees Building Communities of Hope with the Catholic Campaign for Human Development,” featuring representatives from several CCHD-funded community organizations engaged in the work of empowering immigrants and refugees, including a worker center in Saint Cloud, MN, a worker cooperative in Brooklyn, NY, and a parish ID program in Baltimore, MD.
Joining the USCCB Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development in organizing the Gathering are numerous other USCCB departments and national Catholic organizations, including Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Catholic Rural Life, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, Bread for the World, and others.
More information is available online: www.catholicsocialministrygathering.org/.