“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

These words from scripture describe the rationale of Shine: Social Ministry Summit 2017 which will be held Friday and Saturday, March 31-April 1, at the Glen Allen Cultural Arts Center northwest of Richmond.

Sponsored by the Diocesan Office of Social Ministries, the event seeks to help participants engage more fully into the heart of the Gospel getting involved in works of mercy which help the poor.

The keynote address will be given by Bob Lesnefsky, also known as Catholic rapper “Righteous B.” He will speak on how he tries to live out mercy practically through his work in urban ministry.

He is the founder of Dirty Vagabond Ministries, a non-profit missionary organization that helps teens in the inner city.

Also speaking on Friday will be Father Ambrose Kulandairaj from Jamaica who is with the Missionaries of the Poor whose goal is to build community and family among the poor and disadvantaged.

Today the Missionaries of the Poor has over 550 brothers serving in nine missions around the world.

Father Michael Renninger, pastor of St. Mary Church in Richmond, will speak on Saturday morning.

Breakout Sessions will include:

—Life of Prayer in Your Ministry which will offer insights on how one can make their life and ministry fruitful by having a consistent prayer life.

—The Call to Serve – Missionaries of the Poor by Father Ambrose focusing on his many years of experience working with the poor in Jamaica.

—Haiti Ministry–Twinning for Christ with Bishop Jean Desinord of Hinche in Haiti which has twinning relationships with more than 50 parishes of the Diocese of Richmond.

—Global Solidarity and the U.S Catholic Church–with Mary Beth Iduh, Mid-Atlantic Relationship Manager with Catholic Relief Services.

—Far Southwest/ Appalachia Outreach – The Health Wagon with Dr. Teresa Gardner and Dr. Paul Meade as presenters.

—Local Works of Mercy presented by Christopher Tan, executive director of Catholic Charities of Eastern Virginia, and Jay Brown, director of Housing Services for Commonwealth Catholic Charities.

—For I was in Prison and You Visited Me– (Prison Ministry) with Deacon Charles Williams, Randy Myers and Pat Owens, involved with Kairos prison ministry.

—Encounter the Stranger Among You–Migrant Ministry with David Corrales, Program Coordinator, Pastoral Care of Migrants, Refugees and Travelers with the Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church (USCCB).

—Developing Cultural Competency in Ministry – One Church One Mission (USCCB) with Father Michael Carson, Associate Director for Native American Catholics, Secretariat of Cultural Diversity (USCCB).

—Dignity of the Human Person Explained – Respect Life with Sister Faustina Maria Pia S.V, Sisters of Life, and Bert Drummond -Associate Director in the Office for Evangelization and Director of Programs and Support in the Center for Marriage, Family, and Life.

—Justice in Truth–Legislative Advocacy (VCC) and the role of the Virginia Catholic Conference with legislative advocacy at the local and statewide levels.

To register by March 15 and receive the earlybird rate of $35, send check with name and contact information to Office of Social Ministries, Catholic Diocese of Richmond, 7800 Carousel Lane, Richmond, VA 23294. Registration will be $45 after that by mail and $55 at the door.

For more information, call 804-622-5206 or go to osm@richmonddiocese.org.