2015 RECongress Period 4

Religious Education Congress
Saturday, March 14, 2015

10:00 - 11:30 am



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= Recorded session

4-01  The Write Way! Using Creative Writing as a Way to Access Prayer and Spirituality

Clarissa Valbuena Aljentera (bio 1-01)

The written word has a powerful effect on an author and his or her readers. The hands of a writer are the instruments God uses to convey humor, compassion and joy. In this workshop, we’ll explore writing as a way to have an intimate conversation with God. Whether writing for an audience or just writing for oneself, learn more about writing as a form of prayer. Clarissa Aljentera will use storytelling, rap and Scripture to convey her message. No writing experience is necessary!

4-02  Women in the Old Testament: Then and Now 

This session will examine stories of women in the Old Testament in order to uncover their importance in the religious tradition of ancient Israel and how they might inspire women today.

Dianne Bergant, CSA

Dr. Dianne Bergant, a member of the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes, is a Distinguished Professor of Biblical Studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. She was President of the Catholic Biblical Association of America and for more than 20 years was the Old Testament book reviewer of The Bible Today. Sr. Bergant wrote the weekly column, The Word, for America magazine from 2002-05. She is now on the editorial board of Biblical Theology.

4-03  Many Spokes, One Center 

This session is designed to help all the ministries of the church point in a single direction. It examines reasons why all ministries must have a clear understanding how each ministry is related to one another, since collectively, all are related to Christ. We will also examine some of the “turf wars” that often undermine the work of the parish and look at ways to avoid these conflicts. Grayson Warren Brown will make a strong case for “ministry days” or special ministerial retreats, in which all ministers gather to pray together as well as reflect upon their mission.

Grayson Warren Brown

Grayson Warren Brown is an internationally known author, speaker, liturgical composer and recording artist/clinician for Oregon Catholic Press. His latest collection is titled “Now That the Morning Has Broken the Darkness.” Brown began his liturgical ministry in the late-1960s in a small inner-city parish in New York and has many years of experience working in a multicultural setting. He now spends his time writing, composing and travelling worldwide, giving workshops and conducting parish missions.

4-04  At The Heart of Christian Ethics: Pope Francis and the Tenderness of God 

In “The Joy of the Gospel,” Pope Francis takes a fresh look at the heart of Christian ethics. This workshop will examine the central points of the document to understand their significance for our contemporary context. In particular, how does our understanding of Christian ethics relate to our image of God? And how can the church express more faithfully such an image in its commitment to evangelization, the recognition of the centrality of the poor, the concern for the common good? We are “summoned to the revolution of tenderness” (n. 88). How do we articulate such a demand in the pastoral praxis of our communities?

Roberto Dell’Oro, PhD

Dr. Roberto Dell’Oro is Director of the Bioethics Institute and Professor in the Department of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He teaches in the areas of bioethics, fundamental moral theology and ethical theories. Dr. Dell’Oro has written three books, translated two from German and is working on a fourth. He is published in national and international journals including Theological Studies, Health Progress and Medicine, and Health Care and Philosophy.

4-05  Seven Questions About the Sacraments That You Were Always Afraid to Ask 

Rev. Richard N. Fragomeni (bio 2-08)

This session will offer insightful thoughts about the central experience of Catholicism and our understanding of the sacraments. We will focus on the probing question that we are sometimes afraid to ask: Can you ever know God without ever sharing in a sacrament?

4-06  The New Evangelization – One Person at a Time 

Dr. Thomas Groome (bio 3-12)

The New Evangelization reminds Christians that by baptism we are all responsible to share our faith with others. Most of the opportunities we have to evangelize, how­ever, are in informal contexts, often on a one-to-one basis. But how can we move our evangelization beyond classrooms and pulpits into the public square of our lives. How can we evangelize and not appear to proselytize? How can we share our faith “with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:16), one person at a time?

4-07  God Is Everywhere! A Celebration of Sung Prayer, Unity, Inclusion & Mission

David Haas (bio 3-13)

Come on Church! Be a part of a musical cele­bration where we embrace the gift that God is “with” and “in” all of us! David Haas will be joined by Fr. Ray East, Joe Camacho, Anna Betancourt, Jesse Manibusan and other young saints and elders, so that through music, dance, proclamation, stories and a renewed pledge to serve, we commit ourselves to love all, include all, welcome all and celebrate all – to be a blessing, centered in Christ!

4-08  Laughing Matters: Reclaiming & Sharing Our Catholic Joy 

Mark Hart (bio 3-14)

The shortest distance between two souls is laughter. So why is joy so often the first thing to go when life gets busy or when ministry gets stressful? Why are we so easily overcome with the stresses and struggles of life and work, health or economy? What is the “secret” to keeping our joy amid the storms of life? Come laugh and learn with Mark Hart as he shares the wisdom of Scripture and the saints on how we not only recapture our joy, but protect it and share it with all God puts in our path.

4-09  Find Your Sanctuary – Creating Places of Rest, Renewal and Refuge  Arena

Rev. Terry Hershey (bio 1-11)

Everyone has a sanctuary. It is a place where you do not owe anyone and where no one owes you. We are wired to need grounding and renewal and less hurry. And yet, we make choices – with our time and with our days – that are detrimental to our emotional and spiritual well-being. In sanctuary we let this life in. In sanctuary we can be wholehearted. We make space to see and to be seen. We make space to welcome, to offer comfort and hope in a world of disruption and misgiving. We make space for God’s invitation to dance. Accept this invitation to begin a journey, to find – to embrace your sanctuary places – and to visit them often. You will be glad you did.

4-10  Incarnation Anyway: The Christology of St. Francis and Thomas Merton 

Why did God become human? The typical answer – “Because of human sin” – suggests the Word would not have become flesh if humanity had not sinned. However, a closer look at Scripture, the theological tradition and the insights of key Christian thinkers, such as Thomas Merton and St. Francis of Assisi, offer an alternative, yet entirely orthodox, answer to this question: It was God’s plan from all eternity to become human regardless of human sin. This workshop explores the theology of the Incarnation drawing on the wisdom of Merton, St. Francis and others, to renew our personal and pastoral understanding of Christology.

Fr. Daniel P. Horan, OFM

Franciscan friar Fr. Daniel Horan is a columnist at America magazine and author of several books, most recently, “The Franciscan Heart of Thomas Merton” and “The Last Words of Jesus,” as well as numerous academic and popular articles. Fr. Horan taught religious studies at Siena College in Albany, N.Y., and theology at both Boston College in Massachusetts and at St. Bonaventure University in New York. He has lectured across North America and Europe.

4-11  See Anew: The Joy of Just Living 

Bill Huebsch (bio 1-12)

Pope Francis’ “The Joy of the Gospel” (his 2013 Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium) is bold and thrilling. By it we are all called to live more simply, sustainably and in greater solidarity with the poor. This is our call to really “see” Jesus more clearly and live by that insight. How can we shift our gaze from our own needs and wants – to those of the poor, our neighbors and the earth itself?

4-12  Confirmation: Winning Young Hearts for Jesus and His Church

Matthew Kelly (bio 1-13)

In 2014, The Dynamic Catholic Institute released its new confirmation program entitled, “Decision Point,” based on 72 short films, and accompanied by an engaging student workbook, a leader guide, a mobile application and incredible online resources. But the program itself was the results of five years of research, development and testing. In this presentation, Matthew Kelly will tell the untold story of what he and his team discovered throughout this process. What they learned will change the way you approach ministry forever.

4-13  Um, God, Where the Heck Are You? 

Fr. Joseph G. Kempf (bio 2-14)

What if the least likely places to meet God are actually where God is to be found? Can we learn – in the daily challenges and messes of life – to be surprised again by Love? How can we be opened to see the presence of God where we least expect? Are there ways to teach our children to do so? In his own moving and creative ways, Fr. Joe Kempf will help open our eyes to the wonders of a surprising God – there for those who see – in all the least likely places.

4-14  From Noah to Philomena: Religion at the Movies

Rev. Richard Leonard, SJ (bio 1-14)

In the past few years a number of films featuring religious stories have been released. Many of these films have been popular with our students and parishioners. Biblical epics, child sexual abuse, demonic possession, evil and the stories of Mary and Jesus have all made it to the silver screen. Are there themes emerging to which we should pay attention, and what might be the Church’s response?

4-15  Sacred Music for Liturgy and Catechesis

Catechesi Tradendae (nos. 67 and 68), Pope John Paul II’s 1979 Apostolic Exhortation, states, “[T]he parish community must continue to be the prime mover and pre-eminent place for catechesis.” This “pre-eminent place for catechesis” reminds us that the liturgy should be the source and summit of our faith lives. Music plays a unique role in this dual experience that feeds the needs of both liturgy and faith formation. Explore music in a variety of styles and forms that was created intentionally for liturgy and catechesis.

Tom Kendzia

Tom Kendzia, the well-known composer, arranger, producer, teacher, clinician, author and performer, has been a professional liturgical musician for more than 30 years. He is currently Music and Liturgy Consultant for Harcourt Religion Publishers and Music Director at Christ the King Church in Kingston, R.I. Since 1980, Kendzia has appeared at national and diocesan gatherings throughout Europe, Canada and the United States. He has 15 collections of liturgical and instrumental music.

Santiago Fernandez

Santiago Fernandez has been active in parish ministry for the past 25 years and is currently Music Minister at the Church of the Holy Family in Novi, Mich. He is also a clinician and composer for Ore­gon Catholic Press. Fernandez has spoken and performed at diocesan, regional and national conferences for the last eight years. He has been a member of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ National Advisory Council and music director for the National Catholic Council for Hispanic Ministry.

4-16    Walking  Tall with Our Immigrant Brothers and Sisters 

This workshop will trace the biblical, historical and national aspects of immigrants and immigration policy. The plight of today’s unauthorized immigrants living in our midst is deplorable – an ethical and moral issue that cries out for the love and compassion of Jesus Christ and his disciples. All Catholics involved in any Church ministry need to know the truth about immigration policy and reform efforts. Sadly, too much of the public discussion of this issue is false and anti-immigrant.

Cardinal Roger M. Mahony

Cardinal Roger Mahony led the Los Angeles Archdiocese from 1985 until his retirement in 2011. Born in Hollywood, he was the first native Angeleno to be elevated to the position of Cardinal. Cardinal Mahony oversaw the design and building of the Cathe­dral of Our Lady of the Angels, and since his retirement, he has devoted himself exclusively to the cause of comprehensive immigration reform on behalf of our immigrant brothers and sisters. Recently, Cardinal Mahony celebrated his golden jubilee (50 years) as a member of the priesthood.

4-17  Taking the Next Step: Discipleship as Process

Fr. James Mallon (bio 2-18)

The Great Commission (Matt. 28) instructs the Church to make disciples. How do we make disciples, and what does discipleship look like? Drawing from the 2007 “Aparecida Document” (the Latin American bishops’ report shaped by Cardinal Jorge Bergolio and Evangelii Gaudium), this workshop will look at discipleship as one aspect of the process of making, what Pope Francis calls, “missionary disciples.” We will explore this context of discipleship and, in turn, how discipleship is the context for catechesis. Finally, we will explore models of discipleship that can be utilized in parishes and what can be done to create a culture of discipleship in our parishes.

4-18  Youth at Risk: Responding to Crisis 

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless when our young people are hurting and in crisis. During this session, we will describe crisis signs and causes among young people, identify distress signals and consider possible responses to youth in crisis. We will also look at the three “R’s”: recognition, response, and referral skills.

Robert J. McCarty, DMin

Dr. Bob McCarty is Executive Director of the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, based in Washington, D.C. He has been in youth ministry since 1973, serving in parish, school, community and diocesan settings. McCarty also provides training in ministry skills and issues internationally. He serves as a volunteer in his parish youth ministry and catechetical programs at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Fulton, Md., and his hobbies include cycling, rock climbing and grandparenting!

4-19  Is There An App for That? Best Practices for Integrating Social Media & Digital Technologies into Faith Formation 

How can social media and other digital technologies be used in faith formation? Are you tired of working harder not smarter when it comes to ministry and technology? This workshop will answer these questions and explore free or inexpensive Internet-based technologies that will help you integrate technology into your work as a ministry leader.

Charlotte McCorquodale, PhD

Originally from Lake Charles, La., Dr. Charlotte McCorquodale is President of Ministry Training Source, based in Metairie, La., Her professional career in Catholic youth ministry and lay ecclesial ministry has spanned four decades serving in parish, school, diocesan and university ministry settings. Dr. McCorquodale serves as an international educator, researcher and consultant in the fields of lay ecclesial ministry, certification standards and processes, youth ministry and e-learning.

4-20  Hispanic Ministry in Catholic Parishes: Insights from a National Study 

About a full quarter of all Catholic parishes in the United States directly serve Spanish-speaking Catholics and their families. This is part of a growing trend transforming the Catholic experience in the country. After three years of research on these communities (2011-2014), the National Study of Catholic Parishes with Hispanic Ministry is yielding its initial results. In this session, we will look at important statistics, trends, questions, transitions and strategies to better plan ministry and catechesis with Hispanic Catholics locally, regionally and nationally.

Hosffman Ospino, PhD

Dr. Hosffman Ospino served as the principal investigator for the National Study of Catholic Parishes with Hispanic Ministry. He is Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology and Religious Education at Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry, where he is also Director of Graduate Programs in Hispanic Ministry. Dr. Ospino has presented in Europe, Latin America and the United States, and he has numerous published articles. He is currently working on a book on multicultural congregations as well as one on parishes with Hispanic ministries.

4-21  Jesus as Footwasher & the Leadership of Pope Francis 

Sr. Barbara Reid will offer reflections on how Jesus, in the Gospel of John, exemplifies in the washing of his disciples’ feet what it is to be a disciple and leader who is willing to lay down his life for his friends out of love. In addition, she will show how Pope Francis embodies this in his leadership and invites us to do likewise.

Sr. Barbara E. Reid, OP, PhD

Sr. Barbara Reid, a Dominican Sister of Grand Rapids, Mich., is Vice President and Academic Dean at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, where she has taught as Professor of New Testament Studies since 1988. Her numerous speaking engagements take her annually throughout Ireland, New Zealand, Bolivia, Peru, Brazil, Canada and the United States. Sr. Reid is author of a three-volume set entitled, “Abiding Word: Sunday Reflections for Year A, B, C.”

4-22  Seeing with the Eyes of the Soul: The Challenge to Cure our Blindness 

Fr. Ronald Rolheiser, OMI (bio 1-22)

We are meant to see with the eyes of the soul, that is, to see with understanding. When the Beloved Disciple came to the tomb on Easter morning, he looked into the tomb and, we are told, he saw and he understood. We can look without seeing and we can see without understanding. What are the real cataracts blurring our vision? What specific challenges from Jesus are meant to cure our blindness, to see with understanding?

4-23  Who Am I to Judge? 

In this session, our gathered panelists will inform and invite us to reflect on the impact that the death penalty has on us as people of faith and as a society. The panel will be moderated by Chaplain Javier Stauring and will include Fr. Greg Boyle, who will share the Church’s position from his experience in gang rehabilitation; Dionne Wilson, whose husband was murdered and now speaks out against the death penalty; and actor Mike Farrell, who will address the efforts in California to end executions.

Rev. Greg Boyle, SJ

Fr. Greg Boyle is founder and Executive Director of Homeboy Industries, the largest gang rehabilitation program in the United States. The native Angeleno was ordained a Jesuit priest and transformed by his work in Bolivia, Mexico and Folsom State Prison in California. It was in the Boyle Heights community of Los Angeles that Fr. Boyle started Homeboy Industries. He is author of the New York Times best-selling book, “Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion.”

Mike Farrell

Mike Farrell, an activist best-known for his portrayal of Army Capt. B.J. Hunnicutt in the TV series “M*A*S*H,” is President of Death Penalty Focus. As a host and narrator of documentaries, He has talked about alcoholism, caring for the environment, children of divorce and the death penalty. Farrell also served on the Board of Directors of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and is the former Co-Chair of the California Committee of Human Rights Watch.

Javier Stauring

Javier Stauring is Co-Director of the Office of Restorative Justice for the Los Angeles Archdiocese. Since 1996, he has overseen the largest Catholic detention ministry program in the nation. Stauring supervises programs at all juvenile halls and probation camps in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. He also oversees three other restorative justice programs: Ministry to Victims of Crime, Ministry to Families of the Incarcerated, and Ministry to the Formerly Incarcerated.

Dionne Wilson

In 2005, Dionne Wilson’s husband, a police officer in San Leandro, Calif., was shot and killed while responding to a disturbance call. Raising two young children and stricken with grief, she struggled in the months that followed. Though her husband’s shooter was caught, true solace only came when Wilson began helping other victims heal and promoting smarter justice policies. She has been interviewed by newspapers, TV and radio and has been a guest speaker at many anti-violence conferences.

4-24  Stories of Spiritual Wisdom 

In the spiritual traditions of the world, storytelling has always been placed in the service of spiritual development. From earliest times, spiritual teachers have crafted stories to introduce people into the subtle dynamics of the spiritual life. Although the stories are historically conditioned and rife with the assumptions and conflicts of the times, they are still able to express and communicate spiritual wisdom. We will tell select stories from diverse spiritual traditions and develop their wisdom.

John Shea

John Shea is a Senior Fellow at the Ministry Leadership Center in Chicago, which creates ministerial formation programming for the senior leadership of five Catholic healthcare systems. He has published 25 books of theology and spirituality, two books of poetry, three works of fiction and over 60 articles. In addition to his work in faith-based health care, Shea is a theologian and storyteller who lectures nationally and internationally on storytelling in world religions and the spirit-at-work movement.

4-25  The Five Things Every Parent Needs From the Church 

Never underestimate the empowering nature of support when we attempt to partner with parents to help them “bring home the faith.” In fact, support is just one of the five things that every parent needs to hear and experience from the church. Come find out what the other four are and how focusing on these five elements will not only transform your faith-formation practices, but will serve to renew both the domestic and the universal churches to which you minister.

Michael Theisen

Michael Theisen has been involved in youth ministry and faith formation for 30 years, authoring more than 15 books and numerous articles. His experience as a speaker, trainer and ministry leader reaches from parish to diocesan and national levels. Theisen, based in Rochester, N.Y., serves as Director of Training and Formation for the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry in Washington, D.C. and also helps coordinate two national initiatives: Strong Catholic Families and the Partnership for Adolescent Catechesis.

4-26  See the Beauty & Dance a Song of Praise 

Through the use of sacred dance, our human artistry manages to underscore the living beauty of the Word of God made flesh. Come and respond to his invitation to the dance – embrace the beauty of sacred movement. See God’s beauty in ourselves and dance his praise. This interactive workshop will be led by John West, Artistic Director of the Valyermo Dancers. All levels of experience are welcome.

John West, Obl OSB, MEd, MA

John West, an oblate of St. Andrew’s Abbey in Valyermo, Calif., is a sacred and liturgical dance workshop leader and clinician. He also serves as an Educational Consultant for independent schools and schools for the gifted. A member of the North American Academy of Liturgy, West has been an international and national workshop leader and lecturer. His experience with the Religious Education Congress began in 1970, and has served on the Congress Liturgy Committee since 1991.

4-27  Communicating for Change

Fr. Michael White & Tom Corcoran (bios 1-27)

Words have power, and the Word of God has even greater power. Each week pastors, priests, deacons and youth ministers bring God’s Word and his power to audiences. In this session, we will share key strategies for making homilies and spoken communication most impacting.

4-28  Understanding & Strengthening Spiritual Resilience

The simple care of a hopeful heart is an essential undertaking – not only for ourselves but also for those who count on us. Spiritual resilience is not simply bouncing back from adversity; it is much, much more. It is a deepening of our relationship with God and our understanding of ourselves as a result of adversity. In this session, author and mentor Dr. Robert Wicks will address the topics of doubt, cynicism and faith, the three essential calls, the hidden enemies of a healthy spiritual perspective, and refreshing your soul.

Dr. Robert J. Wicks

Dr. Robert Wicks is on the faculty of Loyola University Maryland. The psychologist, speaker and author has taught in universities and professional schools of psychology, medicine, nursing, theology and social work. Dr. Wicks has published over 50 books, and has received the first Excellence in Professional Psychology from Widener University. In 1996 he was awarded a Papal Medal from Pope John Paul II for service to the Church.

4-70  Hiểu biết về Hôn Nhân và Tiêu Hôn 

Mục đích chính của chủ đề hôm nay hướng dẫn chúng ta về ư nghĩa của hôn nhân và kết quả khi người Việt Nam xin tiêu hôn trong Giáo Phận Orange. Người đệ đơn và người hối đơn phải làm ǵ và văn pḥng Ṭa Án hôn phối sẽ hướng dẫn thế nào họ làm thủ tục tiêu hôn?

     An Understanding of Marriage and Marriage Nullity 

This session will focus on the meaning of marriage and on issues when a Vietnamese is applying for marriage nullity in the Diocese of Orange: What should the petitioner and respondent do, and how can the Tribunal assist them in the process of applying for a marriage nullity?

Rev. Việt Peter Hồ

Cha Việt Peter Hồ đuợc thụ phong linh mục cho Giáo Phận Orange vào năm 2000. Ngài hoàn tất chương tŕnh giáo luật tại Giáo Hoàng Học Viện Gregoriana tại Roma vào năm 2008. Ngài đă từng phục vụ cho các giáo xứ đa dạng văn hóa. Hiện tại ngài là Phụ Tá Tư Pháp và Giám Đốc cho Ṭa Án Hôn Phối cho Giáo Phận Orange.

Fr. Truc Nguyen (Originally scheduled with Rev. Viet Peter Ho)

Fr. Truc Nguyen was born in Samoi, Vietnam, and migrated with his family to the United States in 1975 -- among the first refugees escaping Vietnam to come to the States. After ordination, he served as Associate Pastor at St. Andrew's Church in Pasadena and as Vocations Director of the L.A. Archdiocese. He is currently Pastor at Cathedral Chapel of St. Vibiana Parish in Los Angeles and the Judicial Vicar for the Metropolitan Tribunal of the Los Angeles Archdiocese.


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