Speaker Spotlights! The Plenary Panel Schedule – Toward Justice and Healing
Criminal Justice, Institutional Harm, Peacebuilding, Racial Justice, Restorative Justice

Speaker Spotlights! The Plenary Panel Schedule

We are excited to welcome folks from all over the country to Minneapolis for the first, in-person national Catholic conference on restorative justice next month! Registration closes soon and there are a variety of options, including full, three-day passes; one-day passes; group registrations; and scholarships. Here’s more on the five outstanding plenary panel sessions on the conference schedule.  Be sure to check out the 18 breakout sessions that will also be featured at the conference; they are listed on the conference registration site.

Signs of the Times
 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM, October 5
In Gaudium et Spes the Second Vatican Council calls upon the Church to “read the signs of the times” that we may interpret them in the light of the Gospel and respond in ways that build God’s kingdom. In this plenary session, we hear from four prominent leaders in restorative justice and the Catholic Church as they offer context and call for addressing the urgent needs for healing in today’s world and Church.

  • John Carr, Founding Director, Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown
  • Cheryl Demmert Fairbanks, Esq. (Virtual), Attorney and Tribal Court of Appeals Justice, Tlingit-Tsimshian
  • Sr. Helen Prejean, CSJ (Virtual), Renowned Anti-Death Penalty Advocate, Bestselling author of Dead Man Walking, River of Fire, and others
  • Sheryl Wilson, Executive Director, Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution
  • Moderator: Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy, Executive Director, Catholic Mobilizing Network

Catholic Social Tradition and Restorative Justice
 4:00 PM – 5:15 PM, Oct 5
There is a fruitful relationship between Catholic Social Tradition and restorative justice. Both aim at attaining and restoring justice as right relationship and both include a prophetic dimension that names harm and injustice, fosters accountability, and opposes social structures that perpetuate exclusion. Join us as panelists ground our learning about restorative justice within Catholic social, spiritual, and sacramental tradition.

  • Rev. Richard Cogill, School of Theology, The University of the South-Sewanee
  • Dr. Amy Levad, Associate Professor of Theology, University of St. Thomas
  • Dr. Stephen Pope, Professor of Theology, Boston College
  • Gloria Purvis, Host, The Gloria Purvis Podcast
  • Moderator: Fr. Daniel Griffith, Founding Director, Initiative on Restorative Justice and Healing, Pastor/Rector, The Basilica of Saint Mary

Historical Harms and Racial Injustice
 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM, October 6
Racial Injustice and Healing Harms Against Native Peoples
Racism is a sin and a life issue. Centuries of harm and racial oppression continue to have destructive impacts in our institutions and our everyday lives. Panelists will explore the history and legacy of slavery and Native American Boarding Schools and invite ways that restorative justice principles and processes can chart a path for truth-telling, accountability, and transformation for all of God’s children.

  • Most Rev. Shelton Fabre, Archbishop, Archdiocese of Louisville
  • Monique Maddox, Incoming President, GU272 Descendants Association, Georgetown University
  • Dr. Samuel Torres, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition
  • Moderator: Dr. Yohuru Williams, Founding Director, Racial Justice Initiative at University of St. Thomas

Clergy Sexual Abuse and Healing
 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM, October 6
Clergy sexual abuse is a source of deep wounds and profound loss of trust for many inside and outside the Catholic Church — through both the specific violations and widespread cover-up. This survivor-led conversation will call upon the Church to address the continued need for acknowledgement of these harms and to initiate repair at the individual, parish, and institutional levels.

  • Regina Boyd, Catholic Marriage & Family Therapist, Boyd Counseling Services
  • Juan Carlos Cruz, Global advocate for survivors of clerical abuse, Pontifical Council for the Protection of Minors
  • Most Rev. Bernard Hebda, Archbishop, Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
  • Barbara Thorp, Consultant, Support and Accompaniment of Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors
  • Moderator: Mike Hoffman, Chair, Hope and Healing Committee, Archdiocese of Chicago

A Transformed Criminal Legal System
 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM, October 7
The U.S. criminal legal system is deeply broken and plagued with violations of human dignity. Transforming this unjust system from punitive to restorative will require breaking the cycle of violence, and responding to harm in ways that promote accountability, hope, and healing. Hear from those working inside, alongside, and outside of the legal system.

  • John Choi, County Attorney, Ramsey County Minnesota
  • Leonard Rubio, Executive Director, Insight Prison Project
  • Sr. Janet Ryan, OSF, Education Lab Manager and Circlekeeper, Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation
  • Aswad Thomas, Vice President & National Director, Alliance for Safety and Justice & Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice
  • Moderator: Mark Osler, Robert & Marion Short Distinguished Professor of Law, Univ. of St. Thomas (on leave, 2023-24), Deputy Hennepin County Attorney, Director of the Criminal Division (2023-24)
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