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Frequently Asked Questions

 

Meeting Information

1. What is the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering?
The Catholic Social Ministry Gathering is an annual conference organized by USCCB's Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development in collaboration with 16 other national Catholic organizations and other departments of the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. It is rooted in the Word of God, the Sacraments, and the Church’s living Catholic social tradition.  The Gathering builds solidarity, knowledge, and skills among social ministry leaders in local dioceses, religious congregations, Catholic educational institutions, and other national Catholic organizations. Together, we live and share the Church’s social mission for the common good and the evangelization of the world. 

2. What is the purpose of the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering?

The purposes of the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering are:
  • to share and apply Catholic Social teaching
  • to share information and strategies on priority domestic and international issues affecting the life and dignity of the human person
  • to prepare and organize participants to carry the message on issues both to Congress in Washington, D.C., and to constituencies and political leaders in their home arch/dioceses
  • to deepen and strengthen participants efforts to develop leadership and capacity at the diocesan and parish level by sharing Catholic social teaching, providing workshops on skills and strategies, and by sharing materials and activities that are useful at the local level
  • to gather in the context of the Catholic social tradition to teach, pray, and celebrate the work and accomplishments we share
3. Who should attend the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering?
Leaders whose work is to advocate for social justice issues as part of Catholic communities and organizations including dioceses, parishes, educational institutions, or other local or national Catholic groups.

4. Where is the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering held?

The Gathering is held in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, which makes it convenient for participants to travel to Capitol Hill for their lobby visit(s).  CSMG 2016 will be held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. The hotel is located at 2500 Calvert Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008 (Phone: 202-234-0700).

5. Why is CSMG held at a large hotel?
In addition to convenient access to Capitol Hill via Metro, CSMG planners selected the Omni Shoreham Hotel because it is one of the few hotels in the Washington, D.C. area that works constructively with unions to create fair working conditions and can accommodate a conference of more than 500 participants.

6. Why should I stay at the conference hotel when there are less expensive hotels in the Washington, D.C. area?
Our staff have negotiated and contracted special discounted rates for CSMG participants. Like all hotel-based conferences, we are required to meet commitments on the number of hotel guess in order to keep down overall costs for the conference from year to year.  Staying at the hotel helps participants get the most out of our few days together, and contributes to the future viability of CSMG.

7. When is the Gathering held?
The Gathering is held early each year at a time when Congress is in session, and close to the time of the President's annual "State of the Union" address.  Usually this means that CSMG occurs in February.  In 2016, however, hotel availability requires a one-year shift of the event to late January.  The months of January to March are a common time that churches and other networks conduct advocacy visits to Congress so that these visits can have optimal effect on national policy.

8. What are the dates for the next Gathering?
2016 -- the dates for CSMG are from Saturday, January 23 through Tuesday, January 26, 2016.  The Roundtable Symposium is a pre-CSMG meeting that will occur on Friday, January 22.

2017 -- In 2017 CSMG will be on a one-year hiatus.  In place of the Gathering, USCCB Justice, Peace and Human Development and other collaborating organizations will be participating in a special Convocation 2017 during July, 2017 in Orlando, Florida.  More information about that event will be shared on the these CSMG information pages when it is available.

2018 -- In 2018, CSMG will resume its annual schedule and location in Washington, D.C.  The dates will be announced in the near future, and will appear here.

 

Registration Information

1. When is registration open?
On-line registration for CSMG 2016 opens in September, 2015 and continues through Thursday, January 14, 2016.  After that point registration will be possible on-site at the Gathering.  Please be aware that the registration rate increases on November 14 and again on January 1, and the special reduced conference hotel room rate is only available through January 1, 2016.

2. What are the registration fees for the Gathering? 
Registration fees for the entire Gathering range from $340 to $500, depending on the date of registration.  These rates already include a 6% bank credit card/check processing fee.  Rates for single-day(s) registration are also available.  See the schedule of fees below.

 
Early Registration
Through Nov. 13, 2015

Standard Registration
Nov. 14, 2015 –
Jan. 8, 2016
Late Registration
Jan. 9, 2016 --
Jan. 26, 2016
(on-site only after Jan. 14)

Entire Gathering
(Jan 23 - 26, 2016)

$340.00 $420.00 $500.00
Daily Rates
Saturday Jan. 23
$125.00 $145.00 $165.00
Sunday Jan. 24
$165.00 $185.00 $205.00
Monday Jan. 25
$165.00 $185.00 $205.00
Tuesday Jan. 26
$165.00 $185.00 $205.00

*Above rates include a 6% bank credit card/check processing fee.  Additional fees may apply to register for some pre-Gathering meetings and events.

3. How should I register for the Gathering?
Participants can choose either registration for the entire Gathering (Saturday – Tuesday) or registration for individual days of the Gathering. Participants are strongly encouraged to register for the entire Gathering, and to participate in our state delegation advocacy visits to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, January 26.

4. What is Gathering registration?
Gathering registration fees include admittance to most events, meetings, and meal functions taking place from the afternoon of Saturday, January 23, 2016 through Tuesday, January 26, 2016, with the following two exceptions: 1) any event listed in the agenda or Program Book as limited to a particular group or by invitation only, and 2) the Roundtable Awards Reception and Banquet on the evening of Monday, January 25 (fees apply).  Additional fees may also apply for some pre-Gathering events organized by CSMG collaborating organizations.

5. What is daily Gathering registration?
Daily Registration allows attendees to register for activities by particular day(s) of the Gathering.  Daily Registration fees range from $125.00 to $205.00 per day, depending on which day of the Gathering is selected, and the date on which registration is completed.

6. What is a pre-Gathering meeting?
Pre-Gathering meetings are an opportunity for national Catholic organizations collaborating in presenting CSMG to meet with their membership to plan, learn, strategize, share, organize, and celebrate their efforts.  At CSMG 2016 pre-Gathering meetings will occur in the afternoon and evening of Friday, January 22, and on the morning of Saturday, January 23.  Pre-Gathering meetings are not directly associated with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the organizations presenting pre-Gathering meetings are solely responsible for the content of their meetings.

7. Who should attend pre-Gathering meetings?
Pre-Gathering meetings are intended for persons who are colleagues, members, or guests of one or more of the national Catholic organizations collaborating in presenting CSMG.  The topics of pre-Gathering meetings are often somewhat more specialized than the general program for CSMG.

8. This is my first time attending CSMG – will there be an orientation or training for new participants?
Yes, if this will be your first time at the Gathering it is strongly recommended that you attend the First-Time Participants Orientation on the afternoon of Saturday, January 23rd, from 1:30 - 2:00 p.m.  This will be immediately followed by Advocacy Training 101, which will assist those who are not very familiar with legislative advocacy in developing basic foundations and skills.   

9. How can I register for the Gathering?
Online registration will be open until Thursday, January 14, 2016. Payment is possible by credit card or check (though checks must also be mailed and postmarked no later than Monday, January 4, 2016).  Register today!

10. Can I register a group of people?
Yes, there is an option to register a group of people at one time. Please see special instructions within online registration for individuals registering three or more participants and covering all fees with one payment.  For more information please contact CSMG Registration (844-293-7034).

11. What forms of payment are accepted?
We accept payment by credit card (MasterCard and Visa only) or checks (personal and organization checks).  Check payments are to be made payable to "CSMG 2016," and must be postmarked no later than Monday, January 4, 2016.  Any request for cancellation of CSMG 2016 registration must be received by Thursday, December 31, 2015 to be eligible for a refund.  A $50.00 administrative fee will be deducted in cases of refunds (or $20.00 for pre-Gathering meetings/events). The 6% bank credit card/check processing fee will not be refunded.  If you have questions about payment for registration, please contact CSMG Registration (844-293-7034).

Hotel Accommodations

1. How do I make my hotel reservations?

Participants are responsible for making their own hotel reservations by visiting Omni Reservations online or by phoning 1-800-843-6664 and mentioning the "2016 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering."

2. What are the hotel rates for the Gathering?
 Our preferred conference hotel room rate per night is $194.00 (single/double rate), $214.00 (triple rate), $234.00 (quad. rate) plus 14.5% D.C. sales tax.  These rates are not guaranteed after Thursday, December 31, 2015.

3. What is the cut-off date for making hotel reservations using the preferred conference rate?
The cut-off date for the CSMG preferred conference hotel room rate is Thursday, December 31, 2015.  Attendees are strongly encouraged to register for the Gathering and reserve their hotel room as soon as possible. To reserve your hotel room, call 1-800-843-6664 or go online to Omni Reservations.

4. Whom should I contact to modify or cancel my hotel registration?
To modify or cancel your hotel reservations contact Omni Reservations (1-800-843-6664).
 

Transportation

1. What airports are most convenient for attending CSMG 2016?

There are three airports in the Washington, D.C. area:

  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) is located approximately 9 miles from downtown Washington, D.C.

  • Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) is located approximately 25 miles from downtown Washington D.C.

  • Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) is located approximately 30 miles from downtown Washington, D.C. Trains run regularly between BWI and downtown Washington.

2. How will I get to the Gathering from the airport?
Listed below are several modes of ground transportation to the get to the Gathering. Please note all service rates are subject to change without notice.

From Washington Reagan National Airport

  • Driving: Follow the signs to Washington D.C. (George Washington Parkway). Take I-395 North to Route 1 (Route 1 is the 14th Street Bridge). Merge to the far left lane on the bridge and follow the signs for 14th Street. Take 14th Street for 1 mile. Turn left onto K Street. Continue on K for 5 blocks. Turn right onto Connecticut. Avenue. Follow Connecticut Avenue for 1 mile. Cross over the William Taft Bridge. Make a left turn at Calvert St. and the hotel will come up soon on the left.

  • Metrorail (D.C.’s subway system): Look for the “Metro” signs in the airport. Purchase a ticket with sufficient fare to reach the Woodley Park Station (approximately $3.05 one-way non-rush hour; $4.15 one-way rush hour). Take the Yellow line in the direction of Ft. Totten/Mt. Vernon. Change at Gallery Place Station to the Red Line in the direction of Shady Grove. Exit at the Woodley Park/Zoo Station. The hotel is located approximately 2 blocks from the Metro. Once you have exited the Metro walk south (downhill) on Connecticut Ave. one block to the intersection with Calvert St.  After crossing the intersection, turn right on Calvert and proceed to the Omni Shoreham Hotel on your left. Check with WMATA for more information.

  • Taxi: Taxis are available outside the baggage claim area. The fare is approximately $30.00 (one-way).

  • Shuttle Service: Super Shuttle vans are available at the all the three Metropolitan Airports. Go to www.supershuttle.com or call 1-800-258-3826 (1-800-BLUE-VAN), for more information.

From Dulles International Airport

  • Driving: Follow the signs to Interstate 66 east to Washington. Follow I-66 to the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge (US Route 50). Take the Constitution Ave exit off the bridge. Continue on Constitution for 6 blocks and make a left turn onto 17th Street. This will change to Connecticut Avenue for 1 mile. Cross over the William Taft Bridge. Make a left turn at Calvert St. and the hotel will come up soon on the left.

  • Taxi:  Washington Flyer Taxi Service is the exclusive taxi provider at Dulles. A ride to the hotel is approximately $60.00 (one way).

  • Rail/Bus/Shuttle: Coming from Dulles International Airport, connect to Metrorail using Metrobus. For just $6 per person (discounted rates are available for seniors and people with disabilities), the 5A takes you to Rosslyn station on the Orange and Blue lines with just one stop in between. To find out when the bus leaves the airport, see the 5A schedule. Click here for more information at WMATA’s website.  You can also take the Washington Flyer bus to the West Falls Church-VT/UVA station on the Orange Line. To find out when the Washington Flyer leaves the airport and its cost, go to the Washington Flyer website.  Super Shuttle vans are available at the all the three Metropolitan Airports. Go to www.supershuttle.com or call 1-800-258-3826 (1-800-BLUE-VAN), for more information.


From Thurgood Marshall/Baltimore Washington International Airport

  • Driving: Take I-95 South to I-495 West. Take Exit 33, Connecticut Ave. Southbound. Continue on Connecticut Avenue for about 6.5 miles. Just after passing the Woodley Park Metro Stop, turn right at Calvert St. and the hotel will come up soon on the left.

  • Train and Metrorail: Take the free shuttle from the Airport to BWI Marshall Rail Station and take the AMTRAK or MARC rail services to Union Station. Once at Union Station, take the Metro (Red Line in the direction of Shady Grove) to Woodley Park/Zoo/Adams Morgan stop. The train fare will include approximately $6 for MARC ($15 for Amtrak) and $1.75 for Metro. The hotel is located approximately 2 blocks from the Metro. Once you have exited the Metro walk south (downhill) on Connecticut Ave. one block to the intersection with Calvert St.  After crossing the intersection, turn right on Calvert and proceed to the Omni Shoreham Hotel on your left.  Check with WMATA for more information.

  • Taxi: Fares to the hotel are approximately $60.00 (one-way).

  • Rail/Bus/Shuttle:  Connect to Metrorail using Metrobus. The B30 bus ($6 one-way, cash only) takes you to Greenbelt station on the Green Line.  As this is the end of the line, take any train in the direction of D.C.  Then change at Gallery Place Station to the Red Line in the direction of Shady Grove.  Exit at the Woodley Park/Zoo Station.The hotel is located approximately 2 blocks from the Metro. Once you have exited the Metro walk south (downhill) on Connecticut Ave. one block to the intersection with Calvert St.  After crossing the intersection, turn right on Calvert and proceed to the Omni Shoreham Hotel on your left. Check with WMATA for more information.   Super Shuttle vans are available at the all the three Metropolitan Airports. Go to www.supershuttle.com or call 1-800-258-3826 (1-800-BLUE-VAN), for more information.

Cancellations & Refunds

1. Will I be able to cancel my meeting registration?
Any request for cancellation of CSMG 2016 registration must be received by Thursday, December 31, 2015 to be eligible for a refund.  Refund requests or questions should be directed to CSMG Registration (844-293-7034).

2. Is there a processing fee for canceling my registration?
A $50.00 administrative fee will be deducted in cases of refunds (or $20.00 for pre-Gathering meetings/events). The 6% bank credit card/check processing fee will not be refunded.

3. If I paid with a credit card, will the refund be issued to my credit card?
Yes, refunds will be made to any credit card by which payment was made, minus the administrative fee and the 6% bank credit card/check processing fee.

4. How long will it take to receive a refund?
Refund requests received before the deadline will be processed within one week.

5.  Can I cancel my hotel reservation?
Contact Omni Reservations directly to cancel your hotel reservation (1-800-843-6664).




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