2018 Annual Assembly Workshop Descriptions

Campus Ministry: A Field Hospital for Young Adults

Of the people who leave the Catholic Church, 74 percent do so between the ages of 10 and 20. The future of the Catholic Church has no greater dependence than on the missionary work of reaching out to young adults on college campuses, as it is likely the last chance for the Church to reach them before they leave the faith for good. This workshop will describe the ways in which campus ministry can truly serve as the field hospital Pope Francis is calling for, and as a model for how parishes can do the same for adolescents and young adults. Presenter: Troy Woytek, Director of Ministry, Catholic Student Center, Washington University, St. Louis, MO

Catholic Charities: Serving the Poor and Vulnerable in Missouri

The employees of Catholic Charities serve the poor and vulnerable in various capacities throughout the state of Missouri, helping those struggling with homelessness and addiction, as well as those facing an unexpected pregnancy or a natural disaster. Meet the leaders of the Catholic Charities organizations serving the four Missouri dioceses and hear directly from them about how they serve our fellow Missouri citizens who are living on the peripheries. Presenters:  Theresa Ruzicka, President of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Chris Ice, CEO of Catholic Charities of Kansas City/St. Joseph; Maura Taylor, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri; and Daniel Lester, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri

Protecting the Unborn: Legislative Victories

During a special session in the summer of 2017, Missouri lawmakers passed Senate Bill 5, a sweeping pro-life bill that put in place some of the most pro-life state laws in the country.  The abortion lobby has so far been unsuccessful in challenging the new law in court.  Come hear how Senate Bill 5, and other Missouri pro-life legislation, is saving lives and promoting programs that offer alternatives to abortion in Missouri, as well as prospects for pro-life bills in 2019. Presenter:  Deacon Sam Lee, Director of Campaign Life Missouri and Lobbyist, St. Louis, MO

Growing in Awareness of Human Trafficking:  Knowing is Power

Human trafficking is modern-day slavery, and exploits both children and adults.  Learn more about human trafficking and its causes, who the victims and predators are, who is most at risk, the role social media plays in promoting this practice, and what you can do to help abolish it.  This presentation will include firsthand experiences from a survivor who ministers to victims of prostitution, gender bias, and trafficking. Presenters:  Sister Jeanne Christensen, Sister of Mercy, Justice Advocate on Human Trafficking, Kansas City, MO and Kris Wade,  a Survivor, Co-founder and Executive Director of the Justice Project, Kansas City, MO

Immigration Law: Understanding a Complicated System

Immigration law is complicated to decipher on your own, so come hear the facts from a Missouri immigration judge who has been immersed in these issues for years in the courtroom. This workshop will outline basic immigration law and regulation, address what happens in Immigration Court and how cases are fought on appeal, and finally, answer questions about how people apply for immigration benefits outside of Immigration Court. Presenter: The Honorable Justin Howard, Immigration Judge, U.S. Immigration Court, Kansas City, MO

LGBTQIA: What’s a Catholic to Say?

How do we welcome and accompany those who experience discord between their sexual and gender identity and stay true to Church teaching? Come and learn about Pope Francis’ “Discipleship Roadmap” approach, and how it helps us reach this peripheral population. Presenter: Ed Hogan, Academic Dean and Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, St. Louis, MO

To Live or Die: A Jury Decides

Have you ever imagined the fear of being wrongly convicted of a capital crime? Or wondered what it would be like to serve on a jury in a death penalty case? This presentation brings together two individuals who have lived out these scenarios: Larry Hildebrand and Joe Amrine. Larry sat on the jury that convicted Joe of capital murder, though Joe would later be exonerated of the crime. Come hear their stories of regret, fear and redemption and learn why the death penalty is wrong for America. Presenters : Joe Amrine, the 111th Person Exonerated Nationally from Death Row, Kansas City, MO, and Larry Hildebrand, Deacon, Diocese of Jefferson City, Jefferson City, MO

The Opioid Crisis:  A Catholic Response

Similar to national trends, Missouri finds itself in an “opioid crisis,” as  opioid use, misuse, and overdoses continue to climb. During this workshop, learn about the current state of the “opioid crisis,” including its development, its effects on communities, and how Catholic moral teachings can be applied to the situation, as well as how the church and Catholic healthcare can contribute to finding a solution. Presenter: Nicole Allcock, Pharm. D., BCPS, FASHP, former Director of Pharmacy for Southeast Hospital, Cape Girardeau, MO

Pope Francis’ Theology of Accompaniment:  The Church Serving the Peripheries

In commemorating the Fifth Anniversary of the Pontificate of Pope Francis, we celebrate his vision of the Church who humbly serves those on the peripheries by accompaniment. The Church, modeling herself after the very example of Christ, goes out and accompanies all in their poverty and need with Christ’s compassion, advocates their God-given dignity and serves them with Christ’s love. Living the call to be the Catholic Church, as well as being faithful in the Lord’s call for our advocacy and legislative efforts, is truly fulfilled as we put into practice Pope Francis’ Theology of Accompaniment. Presenter:  Most Reverend Mark Rivituso, Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of St. Louis, St. Louis, MO

Border Line: Our Catholic Commitment to Security, Mercy and Truth in Immigration Policy

Nothing has ignited more emotion than the recent practice of separating migrant families at the southern U.S. border. What does the Catholic Church teach about border security and the needs of migrants? What exactly is “asylum” and why do people risk everything to ask for it?  What don’t immigrants just enter our country legally?  This workshop will dispel myths, explain Catholic social teaching and offer practical ideas for a moral response to immigration issues. Presenters: Kristen Walentik, Bilingual immigration attorney, St. Francis Community Services, Catholic Legal Assistance Ministry and Karen Wallensak, Executive Director, St. Francis Community Services, St. Louis, MO