Pastoral Themes

header image

Catholic Social Justice: Responding to the Signs of the Times

Nov. 17, 2018


Come join us to celebrate our 10th Anniversary Social Justice Convocation and renew your commitment to eradicating the root causes of injustice and inequality. We will focus on concrete ACTIONS that you and your parishes/collaboratives can take to give witness to Gospel Justice. Learn from our 3 Keynote Speakers about current Megatrends in Catholic Social Justice, Advancing Social Justice in the Workplace, and Perspectives from the Younger Generation.  Observe from Parish and Collaborative Panelists how to start/scale up Social Justice Ministries. Network with a wide range of Exhibitors who are working to address Social and Environmental Justice issues and can offer specific ways for you to get involved. Engage with other participants in small faith groups to discern ways you can respond NOW to the signs of the times.     


  • Saturday, November 17, 2018 from 8am to 1:30 pm (for those wishing to continue networking and discussion until 2:30pm, lunch can be ordered and delivered on the day).  
  • Boston College High School, 150 Morrissey Blvd, Boston 02125. Ample free parking.   


  • At least one member (ideally more) from each parish in the Archdiocese, as well as anyone involved in Social Justice activities, specifically:  
  • Priests, Deacons, Pastoral Associates   
  • Parish Social Justice Committees/Groups, existing and those seeking to start  
  • Youth Groups, especially Campus Ministers, seeking to learn about and volunteer for domestic and international service  
  • Catholic School students and teachers    
  • Religious Education students and teachers  
  • Women’s and Men’s Religious Orders  
  • Ethnic Communities   
  • Families spanning multiple generations  
  • Individual parishioners wishing to learn more about Catholic Social Justice  


  • Registration Cost: $20 (scholarships available), including coffee, tea, snacks, convocation materials and simultaneous translation (Spanish/English). To register now, CLICK HERE.    


  • Remarks from Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston  
  • Holy Mass celebrated by Rev. J. Bryan Hehir, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services  
  • Keynote Addresses  
    • Rev. J. Bryan Hehir - Megatrends in Catholic Social Justice   
    • Darlene Lombos, Executive Director,Community Labor United – Advancing Justice in the Workplace   
    • Patrick Laorden, Social Justice Coordinator, Archdiocese of Hartford - Perspectives from the Younger Generation   
  • Keynote Panel with representatives from 3 Parishes/ Collaboratives engaged in Catholic Social Justice Ministries including St. Katharine Drexel - Roxbury, St. Cecilia - Boston, Sacred Heart/St. Brigid – Lexington - How to Get Started/Scale Up - Lessons Learned   
  • Extended Networking Break with coffee and light snacks featuring a wide range of Exhibitors  
  • Small Group Faith-Sharing to discern commitments to action.  


  •  8:00am – 8:30am: Registration and Networking with Exhibitors, Video highlights of prior Convocations      
  •  8:30am – 8:35am: Welcome and Overview     
  •  8:35am – 9:20am: Holy Mass     
  •  9:20am – 9:30am:  Coffee Break and Light Snacks     
  •  9:30am – 10:30am:  Part One:  3 Keynote Presentations (see speaker bios in appendix below) –    
    •  Father Bryan Hehir–Megatrends in Catholic Social Justice     
    •  Darlene Lombos, Executive Director, Community Labor United – Advancing Social Justice in the Workplace      
    •  Patrick Laorden, Social Justice Coordinator, Archdiocese of Hartford  – Perspectives from the Younger Generation     
    •  Q&A     
  •  10:30am – 11:30am: Part Two:  Moderated Parish Panel Discussion – Examples of Faith in Action: Three parishes sharing success stories of what works well, practical advice and lessons learned regarding: 1) how to get started with a Social Justice Ministry, and 2) how to scale up.  Interactive panel discussion followed by Q&A with attendees.     
  •  11:30 am – 12:30 pm: Part Three:  Coffee/Snacks and Networking Break with Exhibitors – Grouped by Theme and Resources (see appendix below)     
  •  12:30 – 1:15 pm: Part Four: Discernment and Commitment to Action - Facilitated small group faith sharing and completion of commitment cards. An opportunity for attendees to sit at a new table with people they do not know well     
  •  1:15pm – 1:30pm:  Part Five:  The Way Forward – Concluding Remarks and Announcement by Cardinal Sean O’Malley about plans for new Social Justice Office, followed by continued Q&A and networking     
  •  1:30pm Official Close.  Optional continued networking session and discussion until 2:30 for anyone who would like to stay; lunch can be ordered and delivered for this session.   



  • Immigration and Refugees – Catholic Charities/Refugee and Immigrant Services, CRS, Massachusetts Community Action Network (MCAN)  
  • Homelessness – Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP), St. Francis House, Planning Office/Archdiocese of Boston, Elderly Homeless (HEARTH)  
  • Prison Ministry/Chaplaincies – Sister Maureen Clark. Massachusetts Correctional Institution (MCI ) - Framingham  
  • Global and Local Poverty – CRS and Catholic Charities  
  • Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence – Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR)  
  • Climate Justice – Boston Catholic Climate Movement (BCCM), Mass Interfaith Coalition for Climate Action, Catholic Climate Covenant  
  • Workers Justice – Labor Guild, Mass Interfaith Worker Justice (MIWJ)  
  • Respect Life – Project Rachel, Pregnancy Help, Pro-Life Office, Campaign against Physician-Assisted Suicide, Palliative Care  
  • Impact Investing – Catholic Impact Investing Collaborative (CIIC)  

Exhibitor Resource Tables (partial list)    

  1. Archdiocese of Boston - Social Justice Convocation Committee  
  2. A Faith that Does Justice  
  3. Archdiocese of Hartford/Office of Catholic Social Justice Ministry  
  4. Diocese of Worcester  
  5. Just Faith  
  6. RENEW International  
  7. Advocacy – Mass Catholic Conference  
  8. Publications – Daughters of St. Paul  




J. Bryan Hehir is the Secretary of Health and Social Services on the staff of Cardinal Sean O’Malley in the Archdiocese of Boston. He is also the Parker Gilbert Montgomery Professor of the Practice of Religion and Public Life at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.   Previously he served on the faculty of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service (1984-92) and on the Harvard Divinity School faculty (1993-2001) including three years as the Chair of the HDS Executive Committee.  In Washington D.C., he served on the staff of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops (1973-92) working on issues of foreign policy and domestic policy, including being the staff director of the Catholic Bishops pastoral letter (“The Challenge of Peace” – 1983).  From 2002-2003 he was President of Catholic Charities USA, the nationwide network of social service agencies for the Catholic church in the United States.  In the Archdiocese of Boston, Fr. Hehir represents Cardinal O’Malley to four social service agencies and also serves as a liaison to Catholic health systems in the Archdiocese.  He was a member of the Vatican Delegation to the United Nations (1973 and 1978).  At HKS he is a Faculty Associate at the Carr Center for Human Rights and at the Safra Center for Ethics and the Professions.  His teaching, research and writing focus on ethics and foreign policy and the role of religion in world politics and in American society.

Hehir is a recipient of the MacArthur Award, the Laetare Award (University of Notre Dame), the American Academy of Religion’s Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion, and the Kennedy School’s Carballo Award for excellence in teaching.

He is member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.  He serves on the Board of the Arms Control Association and the Roundtable for Church Management.

Darlene Lombos, Executive Director, Community Labor United (and new VP Mass AFL-CIO)  

Darlene started with CLU in 2006 as a Senior Organizer, became Organizing Director then Co-Director in 2008, and finally Executive Director in 2011. Darlene has been organizing around various community issues since 1996, including police accountability and home daycare justice at Direct Action for Rights and Equality in Providence, RI as well as transportation equity, gentrification and displacement, and education reform at Sisters in Action for Power in Portland, OR. She brings eighteen years’ experience in community and youth organizing, leadership development and coalition-building to this work. Recently, she was elected as the first woman of color Vice President of the Greater Boston Labor Council.

Community Labor United’s mission is to drive forward strategic campaigns with grassroots organizations and labor unions that stabilize and strengthen working-class families and communities of color in Greater Boston. Through a program of coalition building, research and policy development, public education, and grassroots mobilization, they advance policies that promote quality jobs, secure healthcare, affordable housing, and environmental justice for all.

Patrick Laorden, Social Justice Coordinator, Office of Catholic Social Justice Ministry, Archdiocese of Hartford  

Patrick is a parish social ministry coordinator for the Office for Catholic Social Justice Ministry in the Archdiocese of Hartford. He provides faith formation and leadership development for parishes, engages in advocacy efforts, helps plan an annual social justice conference, and is part of the office’s environmental and global solidarity ministry teams. He received his Masters of Arts in Pastoral Studies after spending four years discerning with the Dominican Order in St. Louis, MO. Patrick’s previous involvement in social justice includes working with Catholic Relief Services, prison ministry, mission work, and serving on a social justice commission for the Dominicans.

The Office of Catholic Social Justice Ministry is the social action office of the Archdiocese of Hartford, established 50 years ago. They provide leadership development, education and faith formation for parishes and schools, rooted in Catholic social teaching. The Office works with parish communities to enhance the quality of life by concretely addressing the needs of the poor and vulnerable through parish-based outreach


Representatives from three Parishes/Collaboratives will share lessons learned and advice for those seeking to start and/or expand their Social Justice Ministries.  The panelists will represent St. Katharine Drexel in Roxbury, St. Cecilia in Boston and Sacred Heart/St. Brigid in Lexington. Each panelist will briefly address one or both of these two broad areas: 1) how the group got organized and set up for social justice work, and what the current structure and procedures look like (process oriented), or 2) what social justice issues were of particular concern to the community and how were these addressed (content oriented). Within each of these broad topics the panelists will be asked to highlight the most effective ways to mobilize people and keep them engaged.  What worked well and what did not?  Panelists will also distinguish between charity and social justice – that is, reducing the root causes of social/environmental problems (e.g. poverty, homelessness, lack of healthcare, economic inequality, pollution).



Related Videos


Social Justice Convocation 2016

Posted: 12/21/2016


Social Justice Convocation 2016