Catholic Charities summit, gathering to focus on local, national poverty issues

January 12, 2016

HOUSTON — Two Archdiocesan-wide events will highlight Poverty Awareness Month, as designated each January by the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to draw attention to the plight of poverty in America.

On Jan. 28, the University of St. Thomas will host the second annual Poverty Summit: kNOw Poverty, a workshop at the University of St. Thomas. Keynoting the event is the world’s leading researcher on hope, Shane Lopez, PhD. Lopez is Gallup Senior Scientist in Residence and Research Director for the Clifton Strengths Institute at the University of Nebraska. 

The event is a cooperative of the Archdiocese’s social services agencies: the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, San José Clinic and Catholic Charities of Galveston-Houston. General admission registrations are $25 per person with breakfast and lunch included. For schedule and tickets, visit

Then, on Jan. 29 to 30, Catholic Charities USA is hosting its first Regional Catholic Social Ministry Gathering at Mary Queen Catholic Church in Friendswood. This event features national presenters, including Catholic Relief Services Executive Vice President Joan Rosenhauer; Society of St. Vincent de Paul National President Sheila Gilbert; and Catholic Charities USA’s Senior Director of Government Affairs Ron Jackson. 
Information and registration for both events can be found at

Despite Greater Houston’s prosperity, one in five persons lives below the poverty level — 8 percent above the national average. One in four children lives in poverty.

“Poverty in the world today is a scandal,” Pope Francis said in 2013.

“The reasons why people find themselves in poverty are all different and often complicated,” said Catholic Charities President and CEO Cynthia N. Colbert. “But the one constant in virtually all cases is that nobody seeks to live in poverty.”

Last month, Catholics entered the Jubilee Year of Mercy. The Gospel message in Matthew 25 makes it clear that salvation is tied to the way we treat our neighbors: “Whatever you did not do for one of these least brothers of Mine, you did not do for Me. And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Mt. 25:45, 46)

The USCCB has created a calendar of daily reflections and personal “challenges” that you can do to bring more awareness to the problem of poverty in our communities. To view, download and print the calendar, visit

Did you know?

As the official anti-poverty agency of the Catholic bishops in the United States, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) is accountable to them and operates at the highest levels of fidelity to Church teaching, integrity and transparency in its mission to provide critical support to poor persons. CCHD monitors grant recipients through an exacting reporting process in cooperation with the local diocese. Only groups that have received formal approval from the local bishop may receive a CCHD grant.
CCHD requires of each grantee the highest standards of accountability and conformity with the moral teaching of the Catholic Church. If a group commits offenses against Catholic moral teaching, or undermines the Church’s defense of the unborn or her promotion of the family, a grant qualification is rescinded.