St. Mark Church in Boise is site of social ministry conference in May.
St. Mark Church in Boise is site of social ministry conference in May.
BOISE —Catholics from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Utah will convene at a regional conference on parish social ministry May 17-18 at St. Mark Church here.

“We are looking for people who are engaged in the social ministry of the church,” said Christine Smith, director of parish social ministry for Catholic Charities of Idaho. “We are also looking for novices in the field.”

The regional conference is put on by Catholic Charities USA, with aid from dioceses of the region.

Three areas will be addressed: direct service, leadership development and legislative advocacy. A fourth area – immigration – has been added to the workshop menu because of its regional importance. There was overwhelming agreement on the need for immigration education from leaders in Portland, Spokane and Salt Lake City.

Keynote speakers will offer a national view of the issues, while the workshops will feature local or practical applications easily implemented in parish settings.

On May 17, the first keynote will follow a brief welcome, and feature Jack Jezreel, creator and executive director of JustFaith Ministries, which seeks to bring church teaching into the lives of Catholics. Keynotes the next morning include Rachel Lustig, Catholic Charities USA’s senior vice president of mission and ministry and Sheila Gilbert, St. Vincent de Paul national president.

Catholic Charities USA offers some financial assistance to anyone who would like to attend but cannot afford it. Scholarship applications are due May 1; deadline to register is May 3. Translation in Spanish and Swahili will be available.

A registration form and other information can be found at