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Workshop Descriptions


Monday Workshops

Tuesday Workshops

Strategy Sessions


Policy Workshops (Group A) -- Monday, February 3, 2014

A1: Middle East in Crisis: Syria, Iran, Refugees and Sectarian Violence

This workshop will focus on the humanitarian catastrophe in and around Syria and its impact on religious minorities, refugees and the region.  Additional attention will be given to other regional dynamics that feed the regional crisis, including the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program and the talks aimed at resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Church efforts to promote constructive U.S. policies and peace in the region will be highlighted based on longstanding engagement and recent travel to the Middle East.

Dr. Stephen Colecchi, Director, International Justice and Peace, USCCB

Bill O’Keefe, Vice President for Advocacy and Government Relations, CRS


A2: Poverty as a Challenge to Family Stability

The family is the “fundamental seed” of society, but in America families are facing profound economic and financial challenges. Close to 12 percent of all families--over nine million--live in poverty. The modest recovery has scarcely helped most families, and as a result millions of families continue to struggle with poverty and hunger. This workshop will address the many challenges facing families, and explore what we can do to help families in our own communities.

Kate Dorsett, Grant Specialist, Catholic Campaign for Human Development, USCCB

Presenters :
Molly Fleming-Pierre, Policy Director, Communities Creating Opportunities, PICO National Network

Amelia Kegan, Senior Policy Analyst, Bread for the World

A3: Beyond Crime and Punishment: Promoting Human Life and Dignity in the Criminal Justice System

In his message for World Day of Peace 2014, Pope Francis reminds us that we cannot “help but think of the inhumane conditions in so many prisons, where those in custody are often reduced to a subhuman status in violation of their human dignity and stunted in their hope and desire for rehabilitation.” This workshop will explore the Church’s social teaching on criminal and restorative justice, focusing on protecting society, promoting justice and rehabilitation as well as reviewing some current policy and legislative opportunities. Rev. David Link, a lawyer-turned-priest who is working to help change the lives of those incarcerated, will also share his insights on what can be done to implement realistic reforms to the U.S. criminal justice system. His ministry has been featured in the book Camerado, I Give You My Hand: How a Powerful Lawyer-Turned-Priest is Changing the Lives of Men Behind Bars (by Maura Poston Zagrans, Image, 2013).

Anthony Granado, Policy Advisor, Domestic Social Development, USCCB

Rev. David Link, Assistant Director of Religious Services, Indiana Department of Correction Northern Region

A4: Combating Growing Inequality to Build an Economy of Inclusion

In his World Day of Peace message, Pope Francis noted the “profound lack of fraternity” and absence of a “culture of solidarity” that spawns worsening inequality and poverty. Here in America and across the globe, more and more people have fewer resources, while very few affluent enjoy even more. The problem of worsening inequality is complex, but it can be lessened and changed. What causes this pattern of inequality? What can we do at the political, community, and personal levels to help reverse it?

Tom Mulloy, Policy Advisor, Domestic Social Development, USCCB

Meghan Clark, Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Studies, St. John’s University

Dean Baker, Ph.D., Executive Director, Center for Economic and Policy Research

A5: Human Trafficking: Slavery in our Midst

In sweatshops and brothels and on farms and city streets around the world, sexual slavery and forced labor continues on as an evil in our midst. In an effort to put an end to this practice the Catholic Church has engaged in the fight against human trafficking through advocacy, education, and prevention efforts. This workshop will focus on these efforts and highlight some of the domestic and international dimensions of modern day slavery.

Ashley Feasley, Policy Advisor, Migration and Refugee Services, USCCB

Jill Marie Gerschutz Bell, Senior Legislative Specialist, CRS

Limnyuy Konglim, Education Outreach Coordinator, Migration and Refugee Services, USCCB


Policy Workshops (Group B) -- Tuesday, February 4, 2014

B1: Honoring the Dignity of Workers by Fighting for Just Wages

Pope Francis has stressed the importance of decent work and wages to combating poverty and allowing families to live in dignity. The minimum wage in America has not kept pace with a rising cost of living and does not provide an adequate living standard for families, but there are efforts underway to change federal, state, and local minimum wage levels. How can these efforts be seen through the lens of the Catholic teaching on just wages, and what can Catholics do to walk in solidarity with our brothers and sisters earning inadequate wages?

Tom Mulloy, Policy Advisor, Domestic Social Development, USCCB

Judy Conti, Federal Advocacy Coordinator, National Employment Law Project

Rev. Ty Hullinger, Pastor, Archdiocese of Baltimore

B2: Migrant Children: Vulnerable and in Need of Protection

Among people on the move, migrant children are perhaps the most vulnerable and at risk of exploitation. Thousands of unaccompanied migrant children journey to the United States each year from Mexico and Latin America. This workshop will examine why children migrate, explore the risks that they face, and highlight what the Catholic Church, related humanitarian organizations, and government agencies have done to provide support and protection for these vulnerable populations.

Kristyn Peck, Associate Director of Children’s Services, Migration and Refugee Services, USCCB

Mary Small, Assistant Director for Policy, Jesuit Refugee Services

B3: Armed Drones: Technological Tool or De-Humanizing Weapon

The United States is increasingly turning to armed drones as a primary weapon. Some argue that such improved technology helps to limit deaths in war, particularly of noncombatants. Others argue that armed drones are just the latest example of how the practice of war de-humanizes all parties. In this workshop, we will explore the most recent response by the U.S. Bishops on armed drones, putting it in the context of Catholic teaching and Pope Francis' statements about war and violence.  A brief video by a victim of a drone attack will be shown.


Dr. Stephen Colecchi, Director, International Justice and Peace, USCCB


Dr. Maryann Cusimano Love, Associate Professor, Department of Politics, Catholic University of America

B4: Central African Republic: A Forceful Church in a Failed State

The people of the Central African Republic (CAR) have survived five coup d’états and endured a failed state that wasted the country’s natural resources and neglected its people’s needs.  This latest military coup has created something new, violent conflict between the majority Christians and Muslims.  The current interim president gained power with support from foreign Muslim mercenaries from Chad and Sudan who now roam the country raiding villages and communities for their survival.  This session will explore this conflict and the courageous work of the Catholic Church which is now the only working institution in the country.

Steve Hilbert, Policy Advisor, International Justice and Peace, USCCB

Donal Reilly, Deputy Director, Humanitarian Response Department, CRS

B5: How Free Trade Can Burden the Poor: Protecting Life, Human Dignity and the Environment

International trade agreements are marketed as opportunities to increase the wealth of the trading nations involved. However, the poor in these countries, whether in developed or developing economies, often suffer as a result of these treaties. This workshop will explore Catholic Social Teaching and its importance for evaluating the burdens trade pacts place on our impoverished brothers and sisters. We will discuss what can be done to remedy these effects, focusing on practical recommendations for action.

Anthony Granado, Policy Advisor, Domestic Social Development, USCCB

Rev. Seamus Finn, Director, Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate

Cecilia Calvo, Director, Environmental Justice Program, USCCB

Richard Coll, Policy Advisor, International Justice and Peace, USCCB


Strategy Sessions -- Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Note:  Strategy Sessions are off-the-record in order to support creativity and dialogue among the participants.  No reporting (including audio or video recording) or social media posting will be permitted.

S1: Becoming a Church that is Poor: The Call and Witness of Spiritual Poverty in our Work

Building off the theme of our gathering, we will engage in a dialogue examining our gifts to experience “the real” in the work for social change, and what it means to say “blessed are the poor."  We will explore ways of living an authentic witness in an accumulative, individualistic culture.

Marie Dennis, Co-President, Pax Christi International

S2: Becoming a Church for the Poor: CCHD as Encounter that Transforms

The strategy session will give participants the opportunity to reflect on the CSMG and plan a strategy to build a local church that is becoming poor and for the poor.  The session will provide examples of economic and community development and show how CCHD is a tool of empowerment, transformation, solidarity and with a preferential option for families and individuals who have been put into poverty. 


Kate Dorsett, Grant Specialist, Catholic Campaign for Human Development, USCCB

Sean Wendlinder, Grant Specialist, Catholic Campaign for Human Development, USCCB


Barbara Budde, Diocese of Austin, Texas

Maria Fitzsimmons, Archdiocese of Chicago, Illinois

Warren Wright, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Columbus, Ohio

S3: Becoming a Church for the Poor: Taking Advocacy Home to your Parish and Diocese

A dialogue to emphasize and examine the tools and strategies necessary to evangelize and advocate throughout the year in our parishes and communities.  This will be a time for creative and "out of the box" thinking to stretch our imaginations and usual mindsets about advocacy.  We will discuss the potential of campaigns such as “One Human Family, Food For All” to serve as tools for effective witness and evangelization.


Tom Mulloy, Policy Advisor, Domestic Social Development, USCCB

Kathy Brown, Senior Director of Catholic Mission Identity, Catholic Charities USA

Chris West, Director of Partnership Engagement, CRS

S4: Becoming a Church for the Poor: Taking the Message to Campus and Beyond

The session is intended for participants from college/university campuses and those working in social ministry who want to connect with campuses. Session participants will be encouraged to think about what they have found energizing or challenging during the Gathering, and how they plan to take the experiences back to campus. The presenter will share examples of ways a campus can engage Catholic social teaching, advocate, and collaborate with local Catholic social ministries. Participants will share in small groups about strategies for implementing similar ideas in their settings.
Lindsay Weldon, Peace and Justice Coordinator, Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities

Nick Cardilino, Director, Center for Social Concern, University of Dayton

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