BY ISN STAFF | November 2, 2016
Largest Nationwide Catholic Social Justice Conference Explores Impact of Pope Francis’s Call for Mercy
WASHINGTON, DC – Over 1,800 individuals are expected to gather at the 19th Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice from November 12-14 in Washington, D.C. The annual gathering provides opportunities for attendees to learn, reflect, pray, network, and advocate in the context of the Catholic faith tradition. A significant portion of attendees are young people, ages 16-22, representing Jesuit and other Catholic institutions from across the U.S., as well as Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and El Salvador.
The 2016 Teach-In theme, “Mercy in Action,” will mark the closing days of Pope Francis’s Year of Mercy, inviting participants to “grow in a love which is courageous, generous and real.” [Pope Francis] The program is sponsored by the Ignatian Solidarity Network.
Initiated in 1997 in Columbus, Georgia, the Teach-In commences yearly in mid-November to commemorate the Jesuit martyrs of El Salvador. The six Jesuit priests and their two companions were murdered on November 16, 1989 for speaking out against the country’s tumultuous civil war. The Teach-In relocated from Georgia to Washington, D.C. in 2010 in response to the growing interest in legislative advocacy and accompanying educational opportunities.
On the morning of Monday, November 14, attendees will gather at Columbus Circle for a public witness, gathering with signs, banners, and voices to pray, listen to active advocates, and recommit to work for justice. The Teach-In then culminates with what is estimated to be the largest Catholic advocacy day of the year. Nearly 1,400 individuals will proceed to legislative advocacy meetings with members of Congress and their staffs on Capitol Hill to urge Congress to enact immigration and criminal justice reform.
Keynote speakers include Fr. Greg Boyle, S.J., bestselling author and founder and executive director of Homeboy Industries; Lisa Sharon Harper, author and Chief Church Engagement Officer at Sojourners; and Sr. Norma Pimentel, M.J., Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley and nationally-recognized advocate for immigrants.
The Teach-In also offers more than 50 breakout sessions, presented by national and international speakers, including Fr. James Martin, S.J., bestselling author and editor-at-large at America Magazine; and Sr. Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice.
The celebrant for the Teach-In liturgy on Sunday, November 13 is Fr. Gregory Chisholm, S.J., pastor in Harlem, NY, at St. Charles Borromeo Church and the Chapel of the Resurrection.
“The Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice represents the future of our Church,” said Christopher Kerr, executive director of the Ignatian Solidarity Network. “Attendees, particularly young people, will be inspired to respond to Pope Francis’s call as people of mercy, striving to build a more justice and sustainable world.”