Workshop Descriptions — Morning Session (11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.) House Chamber
Advocates in Action: Lifetime Catholic Advocates Share their Stories
These faithful Catholics have used their gifts in different ways throughout the course of their lives and careers. From the halls of the Capitol, to Catholic schools, prisons, and poverty-stricken communities, these leaders have fervently advocated for the common good and the most vulnerable among us. We are honored to hear their stories during this “TED talk” format as they encourage another generation to become a voice for the voiceless.
Sister Cecilia Ann Rezac, M.S., Director of Schools, Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau
Sr. Cecilia Ann is a Marian Sister of the Diocese of Lincoln. Born and raised in Nebraska, she entered a religious community that focuses on education and health care. Throughout her years of service, she has taught middle school students and served her community in areas of administration as the General Treasurer of the General Counsel, and by laboring in love as the General Superior from 2012-2018. Currently, she serves as the Director of Schools for the Springfield Catholic Schools System in Springfield, MO.
Mike Halterman, Former CEO, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph
After graduate school, Halterman spent more than 40 years as an Executive at Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Inc. in Kansas City and as a Hospital Administrator at Christian Hospital Northeast in St. Louis. Throughout his career and in his retirement, he has been very active in social justice activities at the national, state and local levels. He also served four years in the Air Force during the Vietnam War. He currently lives in O’Fallon and is a parishioner of Immaculate Conception in Dardenne.
Lois Thomas, Prison ministry, liaison Algoa Correctional Center, Diocese of Jefferson City
Lois Thomas is a resident of Jefferson City who has been involved in prison ministry since 1996. She is a long-time corrections volunteer at the Algoa Correctional Center, where she attends Mass and coordinates a Legion of Mary Rosary prayer group. She is an active participant in the Residents Encounter Christ (REC) prison retreat program and has directed and served on numerous REC retreats at correctional centers throughout the state. She and her husband of 42 years, Donnie, have two grown children and twin granddaughters. The Thomases are parishioners of Immaculate Conception Church in Jefferson City.
Sam Lee, Campaign Life Missouri, pro-life lobbyist, Archdiocese of St. Louis
Sam Lee is the director of Campaign Life Missouri, and has been a full-time pro-life lobbyist at the State Capitol for over 33 years. He and his wife, Gloria, live in Overland, MO, and have four children and four grandchildren. They are members of All Souls Parish in Overland, where Deacon Sam is assigned as a Permanent Deacon for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, with a dual assignment at the neighboring St. Jude Parish. Sam has been a champion for the unborn and their mothers throughout his decades-long career.
Afternoon Workshops — Basement Hearing Rooms (1:15 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.)
Advocacy 101: Legislative Skills
Have you wanted to contact your state representative or senator about an issue but were unsure where to start? This panel of experts will provide best practices and present real-life examples of effective (and not so effective) ways to lobby your state legislators. Come learn how to track the progress of legislation and how to utilize the legislative process to your advantage! Presenters: Chris Till, Operations Manager, GovWatch, Jefferson City, MO; Jamey Murphy, Chief of Staff, Sen. Paul Wieland, St Louis, MO; Christine Brauner, Executive Assistant, Sen. Brian Williams, Jefferson City, MO
Are you uncomfortable discussing pro-life arguments against abortion? Do you fear that you will not adequately represent the pro-life perspective? In this seminar, you’ll learn how to effectively and confidently discuss abortion from a pro-life perspective using both biology and philosophy. Presenter: Jacinta Florence, Students for Life, Wildwood, MO
The Love of Christ Impels Us: Becoming an Anti-Racist Parish
Since 2014 and the Ferguson uprising, the parishioners of College Church in St. Louis have been asking some hard questions about their role in racial inequality. How has it been ignored? How has it been supported? How has change been implemented? Anti-racism goes beyond simply avoiding racism, and is an effort to oppose and dismantle racism and to promote racial equity. For many reasons, including the USCCB’s recent pastoral letter against racism, College Church is working to become an anti-racist community. Presenter: Katie Jansen Larson, Parish Administrator, St. Francis Xavier (College) Church, St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO
At the Border: Immigration Realities
Recent headlines have focused attention on the crisis at our southern border. We’ve read stories about a growing influx of immigrants, tragic stories of families being separated, and death following a desperate attempt to reach American soil. During this seminar, panelists present a picture of current day life at the border, talk about next steps in addressing immigration issues, and how people in Missouri can help. Presenters: Amy Hirsch Diemer, Site Director Managing Attorney St. Francis Community Services, Catholic Legal Assistance Ministry, St. Louis, MO; Sr. Cathy Doherty, SSND, Pastoral Associate at Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Louis, MO; Erin Hopfinger, MSW, Manager of Community Engagement Catholic Charities, St. Louis, MO
Medical Interventions for Gender Dysphoria: Separating Science and Ideology
People who identify as a gender that does not correspond to their biological sex frequently experience psychological distress and serious adverse health outcomes. Medical approaches have recently been developed that include pubertal suppression and cross-sex hormonal therapy directed toward inducing physical changes corresponding to an individual’s identified gender. This is accompanied by efforts to legislatively mandate societal acceptance and accommodation of patient gender preferences. During this seminar, the risks, purported benefits, ethical, theological and spiritual concerns and societal implications of this new, and still controversial treatment paradigm will be presented. Presenters: Paul W. Hruz, MD PhD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Associate Professor of Cellular Biology and Physiology, Washington University, St. Louis, MO and Rev. Dylan Schrader, PhD, St. Brendan Parish, Mexico, MO
Mercy, Justice and Worship, A Path for Young Disciples
A Meditation on Christus Vivit (Christ is Alive!), Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation issued on March 25, 2019 following the 2018 Synod of bishops on Young People held in Ireland. Presenter: Most Reverend James V. Johnston, Bishop of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph
Annual Assembly Schedule
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Registration (3rd Floor Rotunda)
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Opening Session & Keynote Address (House Chamber)
11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Morning Session (House Chamber)
12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. Lunch (3rd Floor Rotunda)
1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Afternoon Workshops (Basement Hearing Rooms)
2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Mass (St. Peters)
Youth Program (6th grade & up)
10 a.m. - 11 a.m. - Legislative Scavenger Hunt
The State Capitol contains a wealth of history about Missouri and the legislative process. What a perfect place for a scavenger hunt! Don’t miss this opportunity to have fun while learning about our state government. Prizes will be awarded.
11:15 a.m. - 12 p.m. - WWI Museum Tour and WWII Presentation A docent will guide us through the WWI museum on the first floor of the Captiol, then Bill McAnany, a WWII veteran and Pearl Harbor survivor, will give a short talk about his powerful form of advocacy: military service.
12:15 p.m. Lunch (FREE - 3rd floor Rotunda)
1:15 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. - Mock Legislature (Senate Chamber) Join other youth from around Missouri in debating controversial bills that have been discussed in the Missouri General Assembly. Youth are asked to follow all rules and procedures that Missouri Representatives and Senators follow day-to-day in the Capitol.
Child Care (Ages 4-12)
Child care, along with activities, will be available during the Annual Assembly. If your child requires a nap, please bring a mat for him/her to sleep on. If your child is not potty trained, please provide diaper products. Please enroll your child(ren) on the registration form by September 23.
2019 Annual Assembly FAQs
When and Where: The Missouri Catholic Conference (MCC) Annual Assembly will be held on Saturday, October 5, 2019 at the Missouri State Capitol building in Jefferson City from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm. The address for the Capitol is 201 W Capitol Ave, Jefferson City, MO 65101. The Capitol is handicapped accessible.
Theme: This year’s theme is “Raising the Next Generation of Catholic Advocates.”
How Much Does it Cost? The event is FREE (however, donations will be accepted), and includes lunch! If you are riding a bus, there is a $10/person or couple, $20/family bus fee.
Register: To pre-register, click the tab directly above titled 2019 Annual Assembly Registration or call us at (800) 456-1679. Pre-registration is strongly recommended so that we have adequate meals and supplies, but you can sign up at the event if absolutely necessary.
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Registration (3rd Floor Rotunda)
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Opening Session & Keynote Address (House Chamber)
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Legislative Scavenger Hunt (youth only)
11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Morning Session: “Advocates in Action: Lifetime Catholic Advocates Share Their Stories” (House Chamber)
11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. WWI Museum Tour and WWII Presentation (youth only)
12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. Lunch (3rd Floor Rotunda)
1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Afternoon workshops (Basement Hearing Rooms)
1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Mock Legislature (Senate Chamber) (youth only)
2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Closing Mass (St. Peters)
Keynote Address: David Bereit, Founder of 40 Days for Life, will deliver the keynote address.
David Bereit started and led the global 40 Days for Life movement through its first decade, building it into the largest grassroots pro-life mobilization in the world. Through its network of more than 2,000 local leaders and 750,000 volunteers in 816 cities across all 50 American states and 56 nations, 40 Days for Life has helped to save 15,256 children’s lives, bring 186 workers out of the abortion industry, and close 99 abortion centers. David recently stepped away from his role as CEO of 40 Days for Life, and today he coaches and mentors ministry leaders and serves as strategic advisor to numerous high-impact ministry organizations. Along with his wife, Margaret, David is helping FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) develop its Love Life initiative, providing pro-life formation and marriage support for missionaries across America. David is a sought-after speaker, media spokesperson, and bestselling author. Most importantly, David is a Catholic Christian, husband, and father.
Workshops/Presenters: Six workshops will be offered in the afternoon. When you check-in that morning, you will get a packet that shows where the workshops will be held.
Note: When you register, you are asked to indicate your workshop preferences. This is only used to assign workshop rooms by size and level of interest. You may choose to attend any workshop on the day of the Assembly.
To read workshop descriptions, click the "Schedule & Details" tab above.
What if I change my mind about the workshop I want to go to? When you registered, you indicated your workshop preference. This is only used to assign workshop rooms by size and level of interest. You may choose to attend any workshop on the day of the Annual Assembly.
The Capitol building (201 West Capitol Ave) is easily found in Jefferson City and can be seen for miles around. There is free parking on neighboring streets (parking meter fees do not apply on Saturdays). You can also park at the lower St. Peter’s Church lot or the lot at the bottom of the hill across from the Millbottom (see map). Golf carts will be available to shuttle participants to and from the Capitol.
If you are interested in carpooling with others from your area, please indicate that on your registration form. We will obtain your permission before we share your contact information with others.
Bus fee: $10/person or couple, $20/family
You will be contacted by the MCC or a diocesan agency about the fee and the pick-up/drop off times. Please arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled pick up time.
- Cardinal Rigali Center, 20 Archbishop May Dr, St. Louis
TENTATIVE PICK UP – 6:30 am DROP OFF – 7:15 pm
(park at bottom of hill)
- Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish (North County), 1115 S Florissant Rd, Ferguson
TENTATIVE PICK UP – 7:00 am DROP OFF – 6:45 pm
(park in front lot)
- Wentzville Walmart, I-70 and Pearce Blvd
TENTATIVE PICK UP – 7:45 am DROP OFF – 6:00 pm
(park at end of lot)
- St. Charles Borromeo Parish, 900 NE Shady Lane Dr, Kansas City
TENTATIVE PICK UP – 6:30 am DROP OFF – 7:00 pm
(park in east parking lot)
- St. Mark Parish, 3736 S Lee's Summit Rd, Independence
TENTATIVE PICK UP – 7:00 am DROP OFF – 6:30 pm
(park in farthest north parking lot)
How to make payment (Kansas City only):
- Checks can be sent to the following address:
Respect Life Office
The Catholic Center
20 West Ninth Street
Kansas City, MO 64105
"MCC Annual Assembly" in memo line
- Electronic payment can be made on either website – www.respectlifekcsj.org or www.humanrightskcsj.org .
- Each has a “Donate” button on the Home page that takes the user to one of two payment sites that are basically identical: Respect Life Office Donations / Human Rights Office Donations .
- Enter “$10.00” in the Amount field and select either, “General Respect Life Fund” or “General Human Rights Fund” in the drop down list and then fill out the debit/credit card information.
- Call (816) 714-2375 to pay by debit/credit card.
- Bring payment at the time of departure.
Check-in at the Annual Assembly: When you arrive, check-in at the tables in the 3rd Floor Rotunda to get your nametag and packet. Registration is broken out by the first letter of your last name. There will also be a separate registration for children attending childcare (ages 4-12) and youth activities (6th grade and up). Coffee will be available, but we ask that you keep it in the Rotunda.
Child Care: After you have checked-in, care for children ages 4-12 will be available throughout the day at St. Peters. If your child requires a nap, please bring a mat for him/her to sleep on. If your child is not potty trained, please provide diaper products. Please register your child(ren) at the tables in the 3rd Floor Rotunda after you have registered.
Lunch: A deli lunch will be provided in the 3rd Floor Rotunda. The meal is free, but donations will be accepted. Your nametag is your lunch ticket. The meal consists of a ham or turkey sandwich, chips, apple or banana, cookie, and bottled water. A vegetarian option is available upon request (please indicate that on your registration). There will be volunteers on hand to help you find a seat or carry your materials. If you have pre-registered for the Assembly and need to cancel, please let us know so that we have an adequate amount of food.
Closing Mass: This special Mass, held at the conclusion of the Annual Assembly on Saturday afternoon, will count for your Sunday obligation. This Mass will be concelebrated by the bishops of Missouri.
Lost/Need Help: Throughout the day, volunteers wearing a red sash can help you find the registration area and workshops. You can also visit the Command Center in Room 301 for lost/found or for general questions.
Dress Code: There will be moderate walking involved, so please wear comfortable shoes and “church clothes”.
Lodging: You can reserve a room at Capitol Plaza Hotel (415 W McCarty St, Jefferson City, 573-635-1234) for the discounted rate of $100/night if you say you’re with the Missouri Catholic Conference. Limited rooms are available, so reserve as soon as you are able. You will be responsible for paying for your room.
Bring Friends! The MCC Annual Assembly will be an experience you will never forget. We often get comments from participants that they look forward to coming every year. Share this flier with friends, family, co-workers, and anyone else who will enjoy this faith-filled day.
Show & Tell Us How Much You Love it! If you attend the MCC Annual Assembly, let us know what you thought! We will post a collection of crowd-sourced photos and videos (photos/videos that participants take) from the event on our social media pages and website. Show and tell us—feel free to write a note, too—about your favorite part about the day and about the Missouri Catholic Conference.
Stay Involved with the MCC We hope you will join us for the MCC Annual Assembly on October 5. Stay up-to-date with the MCC all year long by visiting our website, joining the Missouri Catholic Advocacy Network (MOCAN), liking us on Facebook, and following us on Twitter.
Still Have Questions or Need to Cancel Your Registration? Give us a call Monday – Friday, 8 am – 5 pm, (800) 456-1679 or (573) 635-7239, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2018 Annual Assembly
The 2018 theme was Pope Francis at Five Years: the Church at the peripheries.
Sessions were inspired by a quote from Pope Francis:
“The church is called to come out of herself and to go to the peripheries, not only geographically, but also the existential peripheries: the mystery of sin, of pain, of injustice, of ignorance and indifference to religion, of intellectual currents and of all misery.”
Bishop Perry from the Archdiocese of Chicago was the keynote speaker.
2017 Annual Assembly
In 2017, the Missouri Catholic Conference celebrated 50 years of faithful service in Missouri. The keynote speaker was Papal Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre.