Assembly Early-Arrival Workshops


We are offering three different afternoon workshops this year - each 2-4 hours - for those arriving early for the National Assembly. Sign up on the National Assembly registration form.

WORKSHOP 1: Encuentro Migrant Experience
August 5, 1-5 p.m., limited to 20 participants

Presenters: Bro. Todd Patenaude, FMS, Director of the Encuentro Project, and Beth Riehle, program volunteer

The Marists in the U.S. and Mexico developed the Encuentro Project in El Paso following a General Chapter decision to push to serve on the margins. The program primarily educates groups about the realities of immigration and the border through visits, meditation, and spiritual accompaniment, and also provides direct service to applicants for asylum.

Brother Todd Patenaude, FMS, program director, will provide insight into the process (that he co-led), which resulted in this new ministry. Participants then will have an immersive experience, journeying as a migrant would, gaining insights into the push and pull factors that lead to migrants leaving their homes. Participants also will learn practical ways their institutes or ministries can bring this immersive experience home to provide direct assistance to migrants after they leave the border.

WORKSHOP 2: Introduction to Restorative Circles
August 5, 1-5 p.m., limited to 25 participants

Presenters: Caitlin Morneau, Director of Restorative Justice, Catholic Mobilizing Network, and Sr. Ilaria Buonriposi CMS, Latino Outreach, Catholic Mobilizing Network

Restorative justice is a way of understanding crime and wrongdoing in terms of the people and relationships impacted. This approach fosters encounter that heals, transforms, and reconciles. Circles are a foundational restorative practice that can be used in instances of harm and various areas of ministry for community building, mutual support, and discernment. Participants will get an overview of our Catholic call to restorative justice and applications for circles in ministry and civic life, as well as experience circles and discern opportunities to use them within community life and ministry.

Catholic Mobilizing Network mobilizes Catholics and people of goodwill to end the use of the death penalty, transform the U.S. criminal justice system from punitive to restorative, and build capacity in U.S. society to engage in restorative practice through education, advocacy, and prayer.

WORKSHOP 3: Communications Strategies
August 5, 2-4 p.m., limited to 30 participants

Presenter: Susan Gibbs, Director of Communications, CMSM, and consultant with Catholic organizations

You know communications are important, but are your efforts working? Learn essential, low-cost (and free) communications tools and strategies to increase the effectiveness of your internal and external communications, plus how to become a media pro with some simple tips and techniques for working with media and giving interviews. This will be a practical and interactive workshop led by CMSM’s director of communications, who has more than 20 years experience in communications strategy, focused on Catholic organizations.

If you have questions about these workshops, please contact Susan Gibbs, and 301-588-4030 x233.