WASHINGTON—Drawing on the teachings of Pope Francis, the theme of the 2015 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering, February 7-10 in Washington, will be "To Go Forth: Encountering Christ in the Heart of the World." The gathering brings together hundreds of Catholics from across the country who work in ministries at parishes, dioceses and college and university campuses. The theme is meant to echo Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, and observe the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council's Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes.
The gathering is sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and 16 other national organizations, including Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Catholic Charities USA, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Catholic Rural Life and the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities. The gathering seeks to equip leaders and rising leaders in the Church to bring the voice of faith into the public square.
"The Catholic Social Ministry Gathering is a unique opportunity to connect with others committed in faith to the common good, learn more about the critical perspective of Catholic social teaching, pray together with other leaders, and advocate in Congress to end poverty and injustice," said Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. Archbishop Wenski will celebrate the opening Mass of the gathering on Saturday, February 7.
Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico, incoming chairman of the bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace, will celebrate Mass on Monday, February 9. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, will celebrate the closing Mass, February 10.
Father Daniel Groody, director of the Immigration Initiative at the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame, will give the keynote address, "A God of Life, a Civilization of Love," February 7. Richard Wood, founding director of the Southwest Institute on Religion and Civil Society, will speak on faith-based community development, February 8, and Martina Liebsch of Caritas Internationalis and Sylvester Brown Jr. of the Sweet Potato Project will explore civic engagement for the common good from international and domestic perspectives, respectively.
David Brooks and Mark Shields of the PBS NewsHour will discuss the political landscape in Washington with Jonathan Reyes, executive director of USCCB Justice, Peace and Human Development, at a luncheon, February 8.
Early registration ends November 14. More information is available online: www.catholicsocialministrygathering.org/
Updates on Twitter are at http://twitter.com/togoforth with the hashtag #csmg15.