Workshop Descriptions

2015 Annual Assembly Workshop Lineup

Called to Stand on the Abortion Frontline

There are many ways to fight for an end to abortion in our society.  Kathy Forck, the presenter of this seminar, found her calling by praying and standing for the lives being snuffed out at the Columbia Planned Parenthood abortion clinic.  Come hear “Stories from the Sidewalk” and about the lives that have been touched by this special ministry.  Learn how God’s mighty work is unleashed through the power of simple prayer while standing on a sidewalk.

Presenter:  Kathy Forck, National Program Advisor for the Sidewalk Advocates for Life; Campaign Director of the 40 Days for Life Prayer Vigil in Columbia, MO


Catholic Campaign for Human Development:  Our Church Working on the Margins of the Modern World

The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council saw civic and political involvement as a vital responsibility for all people. Formed in 1969 by the U.S. Catholic Bishops, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) is the official domestic anti-poverty program of the Bishops of the United States. Come learn how CCHD is empowering low-income communities to participate fully in society; helping Catholics to stand in solidarity with the poor; and living out the vision of the Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World.  Additionally, you will be introduced to the USCCB’s resources on charity, justice and peacemaking.

Presenter: Meg Olson, staff member, Advocacy Department, Catholic Charities of St. Louis and Diocesan Director for CCHD, Archdiocese of St. Louis, MO


Death: Our Last Act of Worship

Dying is part of the circle of life.  This presentation will help the participant understand the difference between palliative care and hospice care.  A variety of interactions with patients will be presented such as prayer using You-tube, pet therapy, music, art, hand and aroma therapies.   Through a process of reflection, we will experience the meaning of redemptive suffering and how it is possible to attain it in our culture.  Both presenter and attendees will have the opportunity to share stories about God’s healing touch being manifested through compassionate, coordinated care.

Presenter: Sr. Leonette Juengst, SSND, Chaplain, Alternative Hospice, St. Louis, MO


Economic Justice:  A Catholic Response to Poverty, Minimum Wage and Public Policy

There is a growing movement in this country to raise the minimum wage for low-wage workers.  What impact will this have on their lives and the overall economy?  This seminar will provide data on poverty and welfare usage for working individuals in Missouri, with a focus on St. Louis, Jefferson City, Columbia and Kansas City.  Using statistics, the presentation will describe different policy solutions to address economic justice from the perspective of Catholic Social Teaching.

Presenter: J.S. Onésimo (Ness) Sandoval, Associate Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO


Ending the Death Penalty in Nebraska:  A Lesson for Missouri

In 2015 Nebraska became the first conservative state in over 40 years to end the death penalty.  What challenges did abolitionists have to overcome to achieve this victory?  What were the winning strategies that helped Nebraska become the 19th state to end capital punishment?  Come hear Nebraska’s success story and what Missouri can learn from this historic achievement.

Presenter: Greg Schleppenbach, Executive Director, Nebraska Catholic Conference, Lincoln, NE


Francis, Family and Philly:  Recapping the World Meeting of Families

This workshop, offered only days after Pope Francis’ whirlwind visit to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families, will recap this historic event. In this presentation, Deacon Jim Russell will discuss the week-long World Meeting and the Papal Visit, as the Church prepares for the fast approaching Synod of Bishops to be held in October in Rome. Special focus will be on how the Church addresses the needs of families in an often family-hostile global culture.

Presenter:  Deacon Jim Russell, Family Life Coordinator, Archdiocese of St. Louis, St. Louis, MO


How Do We Restore Ethics and Personal Integrity to Public Life?

It seems like we see more and more media coverage about public officials’ bad behavior. Has unethical behavior become commonplace among our Missouri legislators? Are we sending the wrong people to Jefferson City and Washington, or are there other underlying factors?  Are there legislators working to fix these problems? In this workshop, we will hear from two former state legislators about money in politics, the impact of political campaigns, and many other factors that may be leading to the erosion of public trust. These experts have experienced the political arena firsthand and will help us understand what can be done to clean up the Missouri General Assembly and restore our faith in those we send to represent our interests.

Presenters: John Lamping, former State Senator, District 24, St. Louis, MO and Ron Schieber, former State Representative, Disctrict 14, Maryville, MO


The Paramount Importance of Catholic Education

The Second Vatican Council stressed the importance of Catholic schools in its Declaration on Christian Education (Gravissimum Educationis.)  This presentation will describe what the Council called for in October 1965 and what it means for Catholic education today.  Also discussed will be research that shows the advantages of Catholic education and why, 50 years later, they are “still of vital importance.” The presentation will also address the future of Catholic education and the importance of school choice efforts.

Presenter:  Dr. Kurt Nelson, Superintendent of Catholic Education for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, St. Louis, MO


Promoting Justice in Ending Racism

Last year the eyes of the nation were focused on racial concerns in Ferguson, Missouri.  One of the positive outcomes of that crisis was the creation of the Peace and Justice Commission of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.  Dedicated to addressing societal issues, such as poverty, racial tension, and family breakdown, the recently appointed commission members are beginning their important work.  Come learn about issues confronting the commission as they carry out their call to be on the forefront of promoting justice.

Presenters: Members of the Peace and Justice Commission of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, MO


Religious Liberty After Obergefell v Hodges:  Where Do We Go From Here?

The Catholic Church teaches that marriage is a union between one man and one woman. The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision re-defining marriage will have grave legal implications for religious institutions and individuals for years to come.  What does this decision mean for people of faith individually and for religious universities, schools, charities and other public institutions going forward?

Presenter: TBA


The Role of the Family in Fostering Vocations

A vocation is God’s call for us to serve him in a particular state or way of life.  What are the best practices in fostering vocations in the family?  What are common concerns or obstacles that families encounter?   How do we respond to the Holy Father’s invitation to families to be an authentic domestic church that fosters the universal call to holiness and sound discernment of vocations.  This seminar will provide key insights into these important questions.

Presenter:  Rev. Chris Martin, Vocation Director, Archdiocese of St. Louis, MO


Setting the Record Straight:  The Truth about Global Climate Change

For decades there has been a concerted effort claiming that there is little or no scientific consensus about global warming. The Pope’s recent encyclical, on the other hand, is based on sound scientific facts that have been the focus of intense peer review, and have been scrutinized by his Pontifical Academy of Sciences, an organization of some of the most highly respected scientists in the world. This presentation will focus on separating “fact from fiction” and will provide the scientific rationale as to why the Pope’s encyclical on climate should be believed and followed.

Presenter: Dr. Jack Fishman, Professor, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Science and the Director of the Center for Environmental Sciences, St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO


The Solemn Closing of Vatican Council II

December 8th, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, this year will also mark the fiftieth anniversary of the solemn closing of the Second Vatican Council at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Italy.  Bishop John Gaydos was in his first semester of Theology at the North American College in Rome during the last session of this historic Council.  He will share with you some of his remembrances and lasting impressions of those days.

Presenter:  Most Reverend John R. Gaydos, Bishop of the Diocese of Jefferson City, MO


Together in Christ: Rediscovering the Lay Vocation through Vatican II

Prior to the Second Vatican Council many Catholics had absorbed a very limiting and negative view of the lay vocation. Returning to the sources of scripture and tradition, the fathers of the Council rediscovered the unique vocation of the laity.  Building on our common baptismal vocation the fathers called for a life of holiness lived in the midst of the world.  Come learn how the secular nature of the lay vocation is intended to be the means of evangelization and transformation of all human culture.

Presenter: Scott McKellar, Associate Director, Bishop Helmsing Institute, Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, MO

We’re All Inter-Connected: Understanding Laudato Si’
Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ first encyclical, captured headlines around the globe because of its bold call to address climate change and other threats to human life on earth. Yet technical remedies alone will not solve our problems. This workshop will examine the moral and theological themes of the encyclical, especially the Holy Father’s insistence that we are all interconnected, that the poor merit our special attention and that we must care for our common home, Earth. The joyous response of St. Francis of Assisi to God’s creation will be discussed as one way to adopt a simpler and holier lifestyle.
Presenter: Jim Kemna, Director of Religious Education, Diocese of Jefferson City, MO

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