Diocese to host national social action seminar

Friday, Jun. 07, 2019
By Laura Vallejo
Intermountain Catholic

SALT LAKE CITY — A four-day program focusing on the teaching, theology and spirituality of Catholic social justice will be hosted by the Diocese of Salt Lake City at the end of July.

This is the first time that the Roundtable Association of Catholic Diocesan Social Action Directors’ annual Social Action Summer Institute (SASI) will take place in Salt Lake City.

This year’s program, “Two Feet, One Voice, Building a Home for All,” will center on Catholic teaching and actions addressing homelessness and statelessness.

“Catholic teaching compels us to put our faith in action through activities that promote both charity and justice,” said Jean Hill, director of the diocesan office of Life, Justice and Peace, about the importance of people attending this four-day event.

“There is a distinct advantage to answering this call. The most vibrant, faithful Catholic parishes across our country are those that embrace the full breadth of Catholic teaching and make space for prayer and acts of both charity and justice,” Hill said.

The annual Social Action Summer Institute is a collaboration of the roundtable association with Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities USA, and the local host diocese or archdiocese with the support of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office of Catholic Campaign for Human Development and Justice, Peace and Human Development.

This year’s SASI will take place July 25-28 at the University of Utah. The Most Rev. Oscar A. Solis, Bishop of Salt Lake City, will preside at the opening Mass. The Most Rev. John C. Wester, Archbishop of Santa Fe, will give the closing keynote address and preside at the closing Mass.

On Friday, the plenary event topics are “Social Enterprise – A Path to Success” and “Building Home in a Changing Climate.”

“One focuses on climate change and its impacts on homelessness and refugees. The second addresses innovative use of social enterprise to assist people experiencing homelessness or statelessness find meaningful employment opportunities,” Hill said.

On Saturday workshops will be divided into tracks for parishes, dioceses and by theme. Workshop topics include “Building a Diocesan Campaign to Fight Human Trafficking,” “Social Mission as the Key to Parish Renewal” and “Serving Rural Communities in Need.” The evening will include a social and movie night with Catholic Mobilizing Network.

“The agenda is full of opportunities all four days, but Saturday includes parish-specific options dedicated to parishioners hoping to be advocates for justice in many different areas,” said Hill, inviting people who are particularly interested in addressing the realities  of homelessness or refugees to “choose among many different workshops on Saturday that will focus on those issues.”

Everyone in the Diocese of Salt Lake City is invited to attend the workshops.

“The Social Action Summer Institute is the premiere conference addressing practical methods for implementing Catholic Social Teaching with the same exuberance. Presenters are experts in their fields and approach the issues faced by people who are homeless or refugees from a Catholic perspective,” Hill said. “This is the first time it has been held in Salt Lake City and there is no guarantee it will return in future years, so we hope local Catholics will take full advantage of this opportunity.”

Registration and the full agenda are available at CatholicRoundtable.org. Payment is possible by credit card or check; however, all checks must be received by July 1.

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