Friday September 19, 2014 at 1:00 PM EDT
Sunday September 21, 2014 at 2:00 PM EDT

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500, boulevard du Beau-Pré
Beaupré, QC G0A 1E0

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Deacon Mike Walsh 
Catholic Connection in Restorative Justice Network 

The CCinRJ Founding Conference

“A Passion for Compassion”

A Dialogue of the Catholic Family

On Restorative Justice Ministry in Canada

The objective of this founding conference is to engage more deeply our Catholic faithful, religious, ordained, and laity and to encourage and support their work in prison, reintegration and restorative justice ministry for all those affected by crime.

Why you should attend?

The CCinRJ Network is in its early stages of formation. This is our founding conference.

You should invest in attending the conference if you are passionate about discipleship to those on the margins, and you include in that definition those touched by crime.

In the final chapter of the Apostolic Exhortation “The Joy Of The Gospel”, Pope Francis calls us to become “spirit-filled evangelizers”, who are “fearlessly open to the working of the Holy Spirit” and who have “the courage to proclaim the newness of the Gospel with boldness in every time and place, even when it meets with opposition."

The purpose of the CCinRJ Network is evolving, and you should attend this founding conference if you see yourself as being willing to help in the creation of a compelling mission for the Network. This is the first step. Following our time together we ask that you return to your area of Canada and working as a part of a team you assist us in growing our Catholic community of disciples who are in ministry to those touched by crime.  


Conference Speakers (Subject ot Change)

Bishop Gary Gordon

The Most Rev. Gary Gordon is the Bishop for the Diocese of Whitehorse. Prior to his appointment as Bishop, Fr. Gary served at several parishes throughout British Columbia, including Vancouver, Chilliwack and Mission. Bishop Gordon also served as the Pacific regional representative of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) with the Interfaith Committee on Chaplaincy of the Correctional Service of Canada for a number of years, and now he is the Bishop Liaison to the CCCB for prison ministry. 

Bishop Gary approached a few people in the summer of 2012 to explore the idea of creating a network of Catholic faithful across Canada that find themselves called to be in service to those on the margins of our society because they have been touched by crime.

With the help of a Catholic foundation and the support of his brother Bishops, the Catholic Connections in Restorative Justice Network was created. Throughout the conference, Bishop Gary will offer his insights and ideas on how we can work together to make this ministry stronger across Canada.


Steven Point: Forgiveness and Reconciliation: The Heart of Compassion

Steven Lewis Point, OBC (Xw l qwl tl) (born July 28, 1951)[1] is a Provincial Court of British Columbia judge and former Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia whose term of office ended on November 1, 2012.[2] He also served as the chair of the advisory committee on the safety and security of vulnerable women, a committee that provides community-based guidance to the implementation of the recommendations from the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry.[3]

From 1975 to 1999, Steven Point served as Chief of the Skowkale First Nation. From 1994 to 1999 he served as Tribal Chair of the Stó:l Nation.

Estelle Drouvin “Victim-Offender Encounters: A Path to Healing and Liberation”

Estelle Drouvin has been the coordinator of the Restorative Justice Services Centre here in Montreal for the last seven years. In this capacity, she has facilitated a significant number of Victim-Offender Encounters. In this particular RJ-inspired program, victims, over a seven to an eight-week period, meet with offenders incarcerated for having committed crimes similar to those experienced by these victims. Such series of encounters contribute significantly to the healing process of victims, enabling the latter to recover power over their disrupted lives. These encounters also enable offenders to become more conscious of the harm their action may have caused their victims. Most importantly, victims and offenders quickly discover what they share in common and how they can help each other move out of the “psychological prison” created by fear and bias, by pressure from family and friends, and by social stereotyping. Estelle will use a 13-minute  DVD to illustrate how Victim-Offender Encounters function, drawing on the testimony of participants.

A view from a inside: " I was in prison and you visited me..."

In our opening keynote we will explore the role of the Catholic Community visiting the men and women in our prisons and jails.

Deacon Mike Walsh: I was a stranger and you welcomed me..."

While preparing for his ordination to the diaconate in the summer of 2003 Mike met with a Community Chaplain in Toronto by the name of Harry Nigh. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the possibility of Mike joining with Harry in serving the men and women in Toronto who were in the process of trying to rebuild their lives after spending time in prison.

Out of this ministry, the Friends of Dismas was created with the vision of engaging people of faith in creative ways to those touched by crime.

In this session Deacon Walsh will reflect on the impact, the followers of Christ and in particular, way members of several Catholic parishes have had on the men and women many consider to be the unwelcome stranger.

John and Pat Cooney: "I was Thirsty and you gave me a drink..."

One-night John and Pat got a call most parents never expect. It was from a police officer informing them that their son Michael had been arrested on a number of very serious charges.

This phone call was the start of a four-year journey which continues to this day. They are a ‘normal’ Catholic couple well-known in their community for their work as leaders in World-Wide Marriage Encounter, and Pat is an Eucharistic Minister, and John is the cantor for the folk group.

How could this happen to their family? What if people in the pews found out? What would they think?

In their talk, John and Pat will share their experiences as they encountered firsthand the criminal-justice system. One of the aspects of their story is how the Catholic Community came together to help them in their time of need. They were thirsty, and they wondered if they could ask for help. Their story, which is not unique, will show what a loving community can do when it comes together in love and reaches out to those touched by crime.  




Conference Objective & Goals:

Gather Catholic faithful involved in Restorative Justice Ministry from across Canada and use this opportunity to create a new community that will reach out to those touched by crime.

Conference Goals:

  • Gather founding delegates from each of the 4 areas across Canada to share the current state of RJ Ministry;
  • Develop a set of founding principles for the CCinRJ Network;
  • Develop a set of actions to “Grow” the Network.

Conference Agenda (Subject to Change)

The CCinRJ Founding Conference follows the annual plenary of the CCCB. The agenda below is a high level look at how we will spend our time together and is subject to change.

Friday September 19th

  • Noon: Welcome and Registration Desk Opens
  • 6:00 PM: Welcome Reception Buffet
  • Conference Welcome and Keynote

Saturday September 20th

  • Mass
  • Breakfast Buffet
  • 9:00 AM: Welcome
  • 9:30 AM The Call to Discipleship
  • Talk 1: I was in prison and you visited me
  • Talk 2: I was a stranger and you welcomed me
  • Talk 3: I was thirsty and you gave me a drink
  • Lunch
  • Workshops- Participants choose 2 to attend
  • Workshop 1: Engaging the Institutions
  • Workshop 2: Engaging the Parish/Diocese
  • Workshop 3: Engaging/Training and Managing the Volunteer
  • Workshop 4: Getting the Life you want; a Program of Character Education & Development.
  • Breakout by Area Delegation
  • Dinner Keynote:Estelle Drouvin “Victim-Offender Encounters: A Path to Healing and Liberation”

Sunday September 21st

  •  Breakfast Buffet
  • 9:00 AM Welcome
  • 9:30 AM: Building the CCinRJ Network
  • Talk 1: Report out by Delegation Leaders
  • Talk 2: The Call to Action
  •  Closing Liturgy: Homilist Bishop Gary Gordon
  • 1:00 PM: Departures for Airport (Box Lunch will be available)