San Francisco, Calif. – In the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge, nearly 600 members of the Catholic Charities network concluded their annual conference with a renewed commitment to building bridges to opportunity for all in need. The Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) 2013 Annual Gathering featured dynamic workshops, addresses from leaders in the non-profit and business sectors, and time to reconnect to their mission of service and justice.
“For over a century we have been about reducing poverty,” said Father Larry Snyder, President and CEO of CCUSA in a keynote address to the gathering. “We have been supporting and stabilizing families and individuals in crisis to keep them from falling into the grips of poverty. Every step of the way, we ourselves have been building bridges.”
The yearly event brought together social service leaders and staff for a weekend of reflection, learning, and renewal. The gathering featured Mass with San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, as well as keynote addresses by best-selling business speaker Patrick Lencioni and social entrepreneurship instructor Melissa Paulsen from the University of Notre Dame.
Participants were able to take part in site visits to local programs, and took in a closing performance by CCUSA artists in residence Sojourn Theatre. For the first time, CCUSA’s Annual Gathering featured pre-conference institutes, allowing 300 registrants deeper dives into pressing topics such as immigration reform, food insecurity programs, successful advocacy, and finance and administration.
The event was focused on building effective and efficient reform of our nation’s social service delivery system. “The War on Poverty of the 1960s helped to actually cut the poverty rate in this country in half,” said Father Snyder. “But like so many of the bridges and train tracks and highways of that time, that social infrastructure no longer meets the needs of our day. If we have any realistic hope of making progress in reducing our nation’s poverty rate, we will need to do it with a design and tools that address the needs and reality of our time.”
At the conclusion of the event, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, was announced as the host agency for the 2014 Annual Gathering. Keynote addresses, workshop materials, and other Annual Gathering resources are available on the Catholic Charities USA Scribd resource page.