WASHINGTON, (February 12, 1997) -- Former Housing Secretary Jack Kemp and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich will be among the speakers to address Catholic social ministry leaders at the 1997 Social Ministry Gathering in Washington, February 23-26. They will discuss the moral and ethical dimensions of economic life and the economic justice challenges facing our nation. The theme of the meeting, which is held annually, is "Economic Justice for All: A Continuing Challenge."
Other speakers include Peter Steinfels, a columnist for The New York Times; Jesuit Father Thomas Reese, author of the recently published Inside the Vatican; Ursuline Sister Diana Ortiz, a U.S. nun allegedly tortured by the Guatemalan military; and Craig Kielburger, a Canadian youth who has campaigned internationally against child labor.
Additional speakers include Mark Shields, columnist and commentator on CNN and PBS, E.J. Dionne, Washington Post columnist; and Josette Shiner, an editor at the Washington Times.
The meeting will open with Mass, Sunday Evening February 23, concelebrated by Cardinal Vinko Puljic of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Cardinal James Hickey of Washington, D.C. Mrs. Dolores Leckey, head of the U.S. Bishops' Secretariat for Family, Laity, Women and Youth, will give an opening talk on Spirituality for the Social Justice Journey. On Monday morning, staff of the U.S. Catholic Conference, Catholic Charities USA, and Catholic Relief Services will review priority issues of the Bishops and other Church social ministry leaders. Mr. Shields will then explore the political lessons of 1996 and policy implications for 1997.
In the afternoon Mr. Steinfels and Father Reese will offer a look at the relationship between the Church and society, nationally and internationally.
On Tuesday, Sister Ortiz and Mr. Kielburger will address the group during the international plenary.
A series of workshops will run Monday and Tuesday. Topics include welfare reform in rural communities, children's health care, the need for regional metropolitan organizing, the environment and sustainable development, the new global economy, arms control, and the new challenge of China.
Mr. Kemp and Mr. Reich will be speakers at the closing luncheon, February 26.
The meeting will take place at the Holiday Inn on the Hill, formerly the Quality Hotel, Capitol Hill.
Sponsors of the meeting include the U.S. Catholic Conference Department of Social Development and World Peace; Roundtable, the association for diocesan social action directors; Campaign for Human Development; National Council of Catholic Women; National Rural Life Conference; National Conference of Catholic Bishops' (NCCB) Secretariat for Hispanic Affairs; NCCB Secretariat for African American Catholics; Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities; National Catholic Conference for Interracial Justice; Catholic Charities USA; Catholic Relief Services; and the National Catholic Office for Persons with Disabilities.