The Archdiocese of Chicago hosts the 30th annual Social Action Summer Institute (SASI) July 17-21, 2016 at St. Xavier University. The five-day national conference, "Who is my Neighbor? Discipleship in the Year of Mercy" focuses on racism, gun violence, and other themes from Catholic Social Teaching.

Registration Cost

Full Registration: $500 includes tuition, lodging, and most meals.

Commuter: $275 without lodging.

Daily: $35 half-day Sunday (with dinner), $60 per full day Monday-Thursday.

Scholarships and Discount for Roundtable Members available, contact before registering.


St. Xavier University
3700 West 103rd Street
Chicago, IL 60655

Driving Directions 

Members-Only Discount Code:

The Roundtable Association is a national membership organization for Social Action Directors. Diocesan Social Action Directors (or Diocesan Catholic Charities offices) who have renewed (or intend to renew during registration) their 2016 membership should email the Roundtable Coordinator at for the members-only discount code before registering for SASI.



Roundtable Association of Catholic Diocesan Social Action Directors

30th Annual Social Action Summer Institute

“Who is My Neighbor?  Discipleship in the Year of Mercy”


*Session translated into Spanish*

Sunday, July 17

Sponsor: Office for Peace and Justice - Archdiocese of Chicago

12:00-2:30 PM Registration & Check-in

2:30 PM - Smudging Ceremony

3:00 PM - Opening Mass - Very Rev. Ronald Hicks, Vicar General, Archdiocese of Chicago

5:00 PM - Dinner

6:30 PM - Welcome from Roundtable

*7:00 PM - Keynote Speaker - Rev. Michael Louis Pfleger, St. Sabina Parish*

8:30 PM - Social

Monday, July 18

Sponsor: USCCB - Dept. of Justice, Peace, and Human Development

7:30 AM - Breakfast & Opening Prayer

9:00 AM - Large Audience PresentationDr. C. Vanessa White, Catholic Theological Union

 “Love God, Neighbor, and Self”


Track A:  Session for Main Theme - Christopher Cox, Human Thread

“Who Made My Clothes? Seeing the Garment Worker as Neighbor”

Track B:  Catholic Social Teaching - Kathleen Maas Weigert, PhD, Loyola University 

“Catholic Social Teachings: Making Them Real at the Local Level”

12:00-1:15 PM - LUNCH

12:05 PM - MASS


Track A:  Session for Main Theme - Dcn. Tom Lambert & Connie Rakitan, Mental Illness Ministries

“Working for Justice: Neighbors with Mental Illness and Their Families”

Track B:  Catholic Social Teaching - Kathleen Maas Weigert, PhD, Loyola University 

“Catholic Social Teachings: Making Them Real at the Global Level”

3:00 PM - Spirituality: Rev. Larry Dowling, St. Agatha Parish

“Stations of the Cross on Racism”        

5:30 PM - Dinner Provided

8:00 PM - Social

Tuesday, July 19

Sponsor: Catholic Relief Services

7:30 AM - Breakfast & Opening Prayer

*9:00 AM - Large Audience Presentation: Elisabeth Vasko, DuQuesne University*

“From Bystander to Allies: Seeking Authentic Relationships in Community”

*10:30 AM - Main Session - DeAngelo Bester, Worker Center for Racial Justice*

“Structural Racialization and Implicit Bias”

12:00-1:15 PM - LUNCH

12:05 PM - MASS

*1:30 PM Main Session – C-ROAR (Chicago Regional Organizing for Anti-Racism)*

“How to Dismantle Institutional Racism in your Parish”

3:30 PM - Free Time

5:30 PM - Dinner on your own

Wednesday, July 20: CCHD Immersion Visits

Sponsor: Catholic Charities USA

7:30 AM - Breakfast & Opening Prayer

8:15 AM - Mass

9:00 AM - Buses Depart For AM Visits

12:00 PM - Arrive for Coop Visit w/ Lunch

1:30 PM - Buses Depart for PM Visits

6:00 PM - Dinner and Regional Breakouts

8:00 PM - Social


AM Visit - Alliance of the South East

The Alliance of the Southeast is a multicultural, interfaith alliance consisting of churches, schools, businesses, and community organizations that prioritize grassroots participation to address the challenges facing southeast Chicago. They have been a leader with Community Benefits Agreements and through their “Development not Displacement” campaign, they have been working with a powerful developer to secure that any development in the Southeast side must benefit the community.

LUNCH - Centro de Trabajadores Unidos

Lunch will be provided the Centro de Trabajadores Unidos (CTU) Latina-owned catering worker cooperative. The Southeast Worker Cooperative is a long-lasting, broad, and reliable economic opportunity that will lead to a positive social and economic shift in the Southeast side of Chicago. CTU also organizes and supports a continual stream of workers to develop their own leadership potential, advocate for themselves and their community, and take action to address the injustices in the workplace.


IIRON is a grassroots, not-for-profit organization devoted to social, economic, and racial justice and the creation of a more democratic society. IIRON’s purpose is to provide an organizing vehicle for ordinary people to create collective power, to have their voices heard, and get their interests met. This year, IIRON helped pass state legislation decreasing penalties for nonviolent drug offenses and kicked off a series of actions with coalition partners against state budget cuts to social services for low-income communities.  


AM Visit - STOP: Southside Together Organizing for Power

Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP) has lead a Mental Health Movement Program, led by mental health service consumers, to organize and preserve public mental health services, erase the stigma of mental illness, and build the movement for the human right to health care.

LUNCH - Mujeres Unidas of St. Eulalia

Lunch will be provided by Mujeres Unidas, a Latina-owned catering worker cooperative invested in providing healthier food options in the Maywood area. They are advancing their main goal of empowering low-income women through participatory learning and leadership development to help them create economic opportunities.

PM Visit - Progress Center for Independent Living

Progress Center for Independent Living (PCIL) is run by and for people with disabilities. It provides services to help members and others live independently, while focusing on securing more integrated, affordable housing. PCIL’s mission is to change public policy and decision making in favor of accessible housing focused on educating legislators, helping leaders continue their leadership development, and recruiting more members. 


AM Visit - Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation

Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation (PBMR) works toward creating a Community Restorative Justice Hub whose mission is healing those impacted by conflict, division, and violence. PBMR is a leader in training peace circle keeping to youth, probation officers, and police officers. They are currently working to create a Restorative Justice Court for juveniles.

LUNCH - Las Luciernagas Cooperativa

Lunch will be provided by Las Luciernagas, a Latina-owned catering worker cooperative aimed to tackle local economic and gender-based disparities by spurring alternative job creation and empowering women in the Little Village area.

PM VisitEnlace Chicago/Imago Dei

Enlace Chicago is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of the residents of Little Village Community, also known as the “Mexican Capital of the Midwest,” by fostering a physically safe and healthy environment in which to live and by championing opportunities for educational advancement and economic development. Enlace has also supported numerous violence prevention efforts throughout the community, such as Imago Dei from St. Agnes of Bohemia. Imago Dei works with at-risk youth who are invested in creating murals with positive and faith-filled imagery as a means of proclaiming restorative justice and peace.

Thursday, July 21 

Sponsor: JustFaith Ministries

7:30AM - Breakfast & Opening Prayer

*9:00AM – Large Audience Presentation - Mary Gonzalez, Gamaliel*

“A Church that is Bruised: A Radical Commitment to Addressing Injustice”


Diocesan Skill Building - Susan Sullivan, JPHD

“Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship”

Conference Theme Session – Catholic Relief Services

“Conflict Resolution & Peace Building”

*Parish Skill Building - Greg Galluzo, Gamaliel*

“Faith Based Organizing: A Strategy for Ministry”

12:00 PM - Lunch


*Diocesan Skill Building – Rev. Chuck Dahm, St. Pius V & H.O.P.E*

“Extending God’s Mercy to Hidden Neighbors: Victims of Domestic Violence”

Conference Theme Session - Tom Dobbins, Archdiocese of NY

“Encountering Other Believers through Shared Works of Mercy”

Parish Skill Building – Laurene Heybach & Patricia Nix-Hodes, Law Project of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

"Understanding and Ending Homelessness"


*Diocesan Skill Building - Michael Nicolás Okinczyc, VOICE Buffalo & NOAH*

“Bringing a Pastoral Letter to Life: Moving from Theology to Action”

Parish Skill Building – Rev. Tom Boharic, St. Agnes of Bohemia

“Imago Dei: Finding God’s Image Amidst Street Violence” 

5:00 PM - Closing Mass - Bishop Joseph Perry, Auxiliary Bishop of Vicariate VI, Arch of Chicago

6:30 PM - Dinner

*7:30 PM - Closing Keynote - Bishop Braxton, Diocese of Belleville*

“The Catholic Church and the Black Lives Matter Movement: The Racial Divide in the United States Revisited”  

8:30 PM - Social


1. What is the Social Action Summer Institute (SASI)?  The Social Action Summer Institute is organized annually by the Roundtable Association of Catholic Diocese Social Action Directors in collaboration with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Offices of Justice, Peace, and Human Development and International Justice and Peace, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities USA, JustFaith Ministries and the local host diocese or archdiocese. SASI offers education, professional development and advocacy training for diocesan and parish social action ministers. Rooted in the principles of Catholic social teaching, SASI provides a forum for people to explore social issues in the light of scripture, Church teaching and theology.

2. What is the focus of SASI 2016?  In this year, the 30th Anniversary of the Roundtable Association of Catholic Diocesan Social Action Directors, we present the Social Action Summer Institute. SASI’s theme this year is:  Who is My Neighbor?  Discipleship in the Year of Mercy, and will take place July 17-21. Chicago has a unique and timely contribution to make to the national conversation regarding the most pressing justice issues we face. SASI will include a combination of presentations by national leaders so much a staple of every Institute, and sessions and immersion experiences connected with Chicago’s frontline efforts in racial, social, criminal and economic justice, to name but a few.

3. Who should attend SASI?  Catholic social ministry leaders who want to learn more about Catholic social teaching, apply it to the “signs of the times” and learn skills to be more effective in the public arena – all within the context of prayer, liturgy, and a Catholic spirituality of social justice. A supportive and challenging community of peers helps all participants grow.

4. Where is SASI held?  This year SASI will be at the St. Xavier University, Chicago, Illinois July 17-21. Learn more about the University at 

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