For the first time ever, Buffalo will play host to Catholic Charities USA's Annual Gathering. Catholic Charities of Buffalo was the catalyst for bringing the Sept. 12-14 conference to the Nickel City and has been involved in the planning as well.
For more than 100 years, CCUSA's Annual Gathering has been the preeminent convening for Catholic Charities professionals, volunteers and partners to advance the work of Catholic Charities' organizations, strategize about poverty reduction, and celebrate our shared identity. Attendees come away with innovative program ideas, templates for future work, and new skills to meet the needs of those we serve.
"Share the Journey" is the global migration campaign of the international Caritas ministry to raise awareness and support for the needs of migrants and refugees across the world.
Learn more at www.sharejourney.org.
Sessions will be held at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center; attendees will be staying at the Hyatt Regency and the Embassy Suites, all in downtown Buffalo.
A local team of staff from Catholic Charities of Buffalo has been working with Catholic Charities USA to assist their planning efforts. The Buffalo team will coordinate dozens of volunteers who will be on hand to register, greet and direct conference attendees. The local group also plans and hosts an evening reception, which will be held at Riverworks in Buffalo. The Buffalo team has added a unique event to the annual conference in a Share the Journey 5K open to the public and taking place Sept. 11 at 6:30 p.m., starting and finishing at Canalside in Buffalo.
Leading the Buffalo team is Dennis Walczyk, Catholic Charities of Buffalo CEO, who said, "We have strived to ensure the whole event offers a uniquely Buffalo experience for our Catholic Charities' peers from across the country. This is the first time, and the right time, to welcome CCUSA here in Buffalo. We have been anticipating this conference since we submitted our bid to host the CCUSA Annual Gathering a few years ago and we can't wait."
Special activities for the gathering include:
Tuesday, Sept. 11: A Share the Journey 5K race will start at 6:30 p.m. In alignment with the conference theme, the proceeds will benefit Catholic Charities' Immigration and Refugee Assistance Program. Anyone is invited to participate in the race; runners and walkers are encouraged. Registration is available online at sharethejourney5k.itsyourrace.com or day of the race at Liberty Hound restaurant at Canalside. Pre-registration is $25 and day of race is $30. The first 100 registrants will receive a long sleeved T-shirt and have the chance to attend a Post-Race Party at Pearl Street Grill & Brewery. For sponsorship opportunities, call Meichle Latham at 218-1400.
Wednesday, Sept. 12: from 1:15-2 p.m. - Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, will give a major address.
Wednesday, Sept. 12 and Friday, Sept. 14: Opportunities for attendees to participate in service projects at our Russell J. Salvatore Pantry and Outreach in Lackawanna. They will be assembling bags of Christmas gifts for homebound seniors, and dignity bags with hygiene products in them.
Thursday 9-13: Share the Journey Walk to the Cathedral from Hyatt Regency will begin at 4:30 p.m.; with Eucharistic liturgy and board commissioning starting at 5 p.m. From 6:30-9:30 p.m. a local host reception at Riverworks will be held to embrace the city's industrial and ethnically diverse heritage. The party will feature unique music with an ethnic angle; the Hocus Polkas perform a mix of music from familiar polkas to standards, rock, pop and hip hop all to a Polka beat. The party will include a full-course meal including appetizers and the menu will highlight some Buffalo favorites and ethnic delights.
Friday, Sept. 14: 12:30 p.m., Optional tour to Niagara Falls and a ride on the Maid of the Mist.