Answering questions on behalf of the Catholic Charities Bureau were (from left) Alan Rock, executive director of Catholic Charities Bureau; Gary Valley, director of Housing; Joe Wacek, director of Diversified Services Center, Siren, and director of Barron County Developmental Services, Barron; and Greg Leiviska, administrator of Dove Home Health Professionals. The CCB spends more than $20 million on social programs annually in the Diocese of Superior.

An interfaith symposium, Save the Earth, Save the Poor, was the highlight of a two-day parish retreat Tuesday, March 7, in Solon Springs.

More than 75 people attended the morning sessions at the Solon Springs Community Center despite blustery weather, and organizers expected more to join.

The parish retreat ended with a potluck and presentation at St. Pius X, Solon Springs.

Although the symposium’s keynote speaker, actor Martin Sheen, ultimately presented via pre-recorded message, employees from the Diocese of Superior’s Catholic Charities Bureau, Lutheran Social Services, All Nations Indigenous Center and others came to discuss their work.

Organizer Fr. James Kinney, pastor of parishes in Gordon, Minong and Solon Springs, served as moderator during question-and-answer sessions.

Fr. Jim Kinney, pastor of parishes in Gordon, Minong and Solon Springs, advocates for the mentally ill. He was an organizer of and moderator for the Save the Earth, Save the Poor symposium. (Catholic Herald photos by Anita Draper)

The three parishes hosted the Lenten retreats at St. Pius X, Solon Springs. Although Fr. Dennis Mullen was scheduled to lead the retreats, he fell ill, and Fr. Andrew Ricci, rector of the Cathedral of Christ the King, Superior, filled in March 6-7. A March 5 event in Minong was cancelled.

At the symposium, attendees learned about which services are being provided to Northern Wisconsin’s poor, and several also expressed a desire to contribute to the effort.