2016 RECongress Period 6

Religious Education Congress
Saturday, February 27, 2016

3:00 - 4:30 pm



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= Recorded session

6-01   All Lives Matter: Recognizing the Inherent Dignity of All      Arena

Why do we have to say, “Black lives matter”? Why do we have to preach, “Who am I to judge?” Why do we have to “March for Life”? Shouldn’t the human race already understand that everyone has been created in the image and likeness of God? Unfortunately, we still live in an era where folks are judged “not by the content of their character” but rather by their race, creed, religion, sex and even sexual orientation. This interactive workshop will focus on the human dignity and equality of all and how we can promote and defend that equality in churches, schools and homes. In the eyes of God, “All lives matter!”

Fr. R. Tony Ricard, MTh, MDiv

Fr. Tony Ricard, a priest of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, currently teaches theology at St. Augustine High School in his native New Orleans. He is also an instructor at Xavier University’s Institute for Black Catholic Studies and Director of Knight Time Ministries. Fr. Tony Ricard, a former pastor and public schoolteacher, has authored many books and has given keynote addresses, retreats, revivals and youth talks across the nation and has preached in 22 countries.

6-02  All Things Catholic: What’s Hot and What’s Not in the Global Church    

John L. Allen Jr. (bio 7-01)

Veteran Vatican writer John Allen takes a 360-degree look at the highlights and lowlights of Catholic news of the past 12 months, drawing out a few big-picture conclusions about what it all means, and then outlining some important stories to follow in the year to come. This session is for Catholics who want a keen sense of what’s happening to their Church, not just in the United States, but in Rome and around the world.

6-03  The Community of Eart h    

Dianne Bergant, CSA (bio 4-03)

Contemporary cosmology reminds us of the interconnectedness of all material creation. This reality is frequently referred to as “community of Earth.” Several biblical passages from both the Old and the New Testaments will be examined to demonstrate this.

6-04  Crossing the Great Divide – Creating Events for Whole Parish Communities    

There’s a lasting impact on parish families when we minister effectively to the whole family. Nothing replaces experiencing things together. Increase your effectiveness as a faith-sharer, religious educator, community builder and youth minister. Learn to facilitate programs that children, teens, parents and grandparents will all remember! Walk away with a greater understanding of why and how we build strong communities. Plus, laugh a lot, maybe cry a little … and be renewed in your own commitment to the craziness of parish ministry!

Steve Angrisano

Steve Angrisano is a musician, inspirational speaker and workshop presenter based in Texas. He has been featured at countless diocesan events and numerous major conferences, including the L.A. Religious Education Congress and Youth Day, the National Catholic Youth Conference, the National Pastoral Musicians Conference, and seven World Youth Days. His latest offerings are “Leading Us Home: Music for Prayer and Worship,” “A New Day: Music for Prayer and Liturgy” and a book, “Essential Songs for Youth Ministry.”

6-05  True Stories of Survival on the Streets    

There has been a market for our children that exploits them and is often hidden from public scrutiny. In this session, women survivors will speak about their personal experience of trafficking on our streets and will share their wisdom to help us understand how we can protect the most vulnerable. Young people are often lured by job possibilities that turn out to be forms of human trafficking. Learn about the ways youth are recruited into sex trafficking. How does your merciful heart respond to the plight of young people enslaved behind closed doors? Allow the stories to awaken mercy within and move us into action.

Sr. Kathleen Bryant, RSC

Sr. Kathy Bryant, a Religious Sister of Charity, ministers as a retreat facilitator, spiritual director and workshop presenter. She has authored numerous articles and books and presented workshops in Australia, Ireland and Africa as well as throughout the United States. Sr. Bryant’s special interests are in spirituality, formation, women’s spiritual development and the abolition of human trafficking.

6-06  at Table with Jesus: “Do This in Memory of Me”    

Fr. William L. Burton, OFM (bio 3-04)

Jesus’ early followers – Paul and the author of Luke/Acts in particular – understand and advance Jesus’ ministry in terms of his “table fellowship.” What does he eat? With whom does he eat? Where does he eat? And what is Jesus teaching us by these scenes dealing with food and dining? What do these New Testament scenes tell us about the Eucharist? Ultimately, the question to be answered is this: Why did Jesus ask that we remember him by means of the Eucharistic meal? When seen in the context of first-century Judaism and Hellenism, this question is not as difficult to answer as we might think!

6-07  God’s Gift of Intimacy: A Catholic Understanding of Human Sexuality    

In this workshop, we will reflect on Catholic teaching concerning human sexuality. The capacity for intimacy is a gift from God, intended to be lived out in different contexts depending on one’s vocation and gifts. All are called to exercise the virtues of friendship, chastity and modesty, while some are called to the sacrament of matrimony or to consecrated celibacy. In addition to these varied ways of living out our sexuality, we will also discuss the “Theology of the Body,” the practice of Natural Family Planning, and the significance of the recent Synod on the Family.

Fr. Luke Dysinger, OSB, MD, PhD

Born in Fullerton and raised in Huntington Beach, Calif., Fr. Luke Dysinger is a Board Certified doctor. In 1980 he joined St. Andrew’s Abbey in Valyermo, Calif. For the past 16 years, the Benedictine monk and priest has been Professor of Moral Theology and Church History at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, Calif. Fr. Dysinger continues to lecture in bioethics to medical staff, give annual seminars at the International Conference on Patristics at Oxford University, and present workshops and retreats at St. Andrew’s Abbey.

6-08  Preparing Youth for Confirmation Through the Life of the Parish    

The sacrament of confirmation strengthens an adolescent’s bond to the Church in preparation for mission and witness. What if we used the life of the parish to form youth and prepare them for active discipleship? This workshop will explore practical ways to connect youth to mentors and open up the ministries of the faith community as a way to prepare youth for confirmation and renew family faith.

Tom East

Tom East is Director of the Center for Ministry Development, based in Gig Harbor, Wash. Previously, he was Director of Youth Ministry and Associate Director of Religious Education for the Los Angeles Archdiocese. East is a popular speaker at major youth ministry, religious education and catechetical conferences across the country, as well as those sponsored by the Center for Ministry Development. He is editor and author of numerous books, including “Leadership for Catholic Youth Ministry.”

6-09  Science, Faith and Atheism    

In this session, we will first become familiar with the major talking points from the “New Atheists” and through an examination of the most recent, cutting-edge research we will see the impact it is having on Catholic youth and young adults. Second, we will become familiar with the Catholic Church’s approach to science. Finally, we will present a spirituality that is relevant to today’s cultural circumstance, which incorporates doubt, science and relationship with a loving God.

Robert Feduccia Jr.

Robert Feduccia was formerly General Manager at Spirit & Song and is now Executive Director and Producer for Mission Eighty5 at Saint Mary’s Press. He is founding Director of the national Youth Liturgical Leadership Program and an instructor for the Permanent Deacon Formation Program at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in Indiana as well as for the formation Diocese of Knoxville, Tenn. Feduccia has been keynote speaker and retreat leader at liturgical conferences, diocesan youth conferences and college events.

6-10  Eucharist and the Real Presence: The Modern Contribution to the Conversation

Over the past several centuries, seismic changes have occurred in the frameworks employed in the West for understanding and explaining the nature of reality. These changes in disciplines, such as philosophy and the emerging social sciences, had enormous impact on Eucharistic theology as 20th-century theologians searched for new ways to explain the mystery of Christ’s Presence in the Eucharist. This session will consider how contemporary theologians and even the digital age shed new light on this ancient mystery.

Edward Foley, OFM Cap

Capuchin priest Fr. Edward Foley is the Duns Scotus Professor of Spirituality, and Professor of Liturgy and Music at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, where he was founding Director of the Ecumenical Doctor of Ministry Program. He is also past President of the North American Academy of Liturgy. Fr. Foley has lectured in over 60 dioceses and has written over 300 book chapters, articles and reviews. The award-winning author has 23 books in print, most recently “Theological Reflection Across Faith Traditions.”

6-11  The Gospel of Luke: The Drama of it All!     

In this year of Luke’s Gospel, come and join Anne Frawley-Mangan in an interactive and fun workshop! You will discover practical ways to help children engage with this Scripture by involving their mind, body and spirit through the creative process of drama. Be prepared to move, play and enjoy!

Anne Frawley-Mangan

An experienced educator, presenter, writer and artist, Anne Frawley-Mangan specializes in using the Arts (particularly drama) to enhance religious education and liturgy. She lives in Brisbane, Australia, and presents workshops and keynotes nationally and internationally as well as World Youth Days in the diocese. Currently, she is Creative Director for Litmus Productions and teaches at Holy Spirit Seminary in Queensland and Australian Catholic University in Sydney.

6-12  Leadership & Social Justice: How Catholic Parishes and Schools Can Change Our World    

Dan Friedt (bio 1-06)

Catechists and teachers are being challenged by Pope Francis’ call to our youth to change the world by living the Gospel. Whether you are teaching in a Catholic school or are a catechist in a parish religious faith-formation program, leadership with a social justice attitude can be learned and lived by every single child in that school or parish setting. In this dynamic, practical presentation, Dan Friedt demonstrates how children from kindergarten to grade 12 can use the power of “The Five Stages of Social Justice” and “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” to become leaders for a lifetime.

6-13  Challenging Conversations: Strategies for Working through Ministerial Conflicts

Do you find yourself stuck in the same disagreements over and over again? Are you avoiding a situation in the hope that it will just go away? Come and learn a framework for analyzing the conflicts that pop up in any ministry and gain a set of skills to help engage the difficult conversations that must ensue.

Ann M. Garrido

Ann Garrido, is Associate Professor of Homiletics at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, Mo., and a Consultant/Mediator with Triad Consulting Group, a conflict mediation and communications team based in Cambridge, Mass. Her teaching and research has focused on Christian conflict management and administration. Garrido is a recognized formation leader for the National Association of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. She is author of “Redeeming Conflict” and “Preaching to the Choir.”

6-14  Video & Film for Evangelization, Cate­chesis and Community Building    

Religious education and family ministry have never been more challenging. How do we engage people in ways that are relevant and meaningful to them? Film, television and video engage on the level of story, potentially drawing people to a deeper faith. This workshop will present best practices and new ideas for using media for classrooms, family enrichment and parish formation events. Included will be ideas and templates for classroom movie discussions, family movie nights and parish movie events. We will present ideas for incorporating media links in existing parish communication to promote ongoing evangelization and faith development.

Fr. David L. Guffey, CSC

Fr. David Guffey, a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross, serves as National Director for Family Theater Productions, based in Hollywood, Calif. He has taught in religious formation programs at Moreau Seminary in Notre Dame, Ind., and at Holy Cross Novitiate in Cascade, Colo. Fr. Guffey has presented over 80 retreats and workshops on social justice, art and culture, spirituality and faith over the past 20 years to parish, religious, school and diocesan groups in the United States, East Africa, Rome, Bangladesh and France.

6-15  Mere Spirituality: The Spiritual Life According to Henri Nouwen

As a prolific writer, Henri Nouwen addressed a multitude of wide-ranging topics, but only insofar as they bore directly upon his main thrust: our life in the Spirit. Never did he stray from this sole emphasis! To the most basic question – “What constitutes the very essence of our spiritual life?” – Nouwen’s conceptual trilogy (solitude, community, ministry) provides the most solid answer as it represents a balanced conception of what authentic spirituality is about. It is spirituality pure and simple, without the unwanted trappings: mere spirituality indeed! This workshop focuses on Nouwen’s own articulation of the substance of our spiritual life.

Wil Hernandez, PhD, Obl OSB

Dr. Wil Hernandez, an Oblate of Saint Andrew’s Abbey in Valyermo, Calif., is an international retreat leader, trained counselor, spiritual director and founder and Executive Director of CenterQuest. He is author of a trilogy on Henri Nouwen; his most recent book is “Mere Spirituality: The Spiritual Life According to Henri Nouwen.” Hernandez has presented at Spiritual Directors International conferences and over the past 10 years has led seminars and courses on Nouwen across the United States, Canada and abroad.

6-16  Walking with Young Adults: Transition and Pilgrimage    

Paul Jarzembowski (bio 1-12)

In a global world, people in their 20s and 30s are always on the move; their adult experiences are rapidly changing with each passing year. Ministry with these men and women can be challenging because of this seemingly chaotic reality. We will explore ways in which church leaders can accompany young adults through transitional moments and walk with them toward Christ through the ministry of pilgrimage and merciful accompaniment.

6-17  Gratitude as a Spiritual Practice: Opening to Boundless Mercy    

Douglas Leal (bio 2-16)

Looking for boundless mercy? Try endless gratitude! Gratitude can open us up to recognize and receive the mercy of God, allow us to be merciful to ourselves, and give us the “mellow heart” we need to extend mercy and forgiveness to others. Plus, there’s good evidence that practicing gratitude makes us happier! We’ll explore the place of gratitude in the spiritual life, and examine some very practical ways to increase gratitude in ourselves and teach others to do the same.

6-18  Margins, Mission, Mercy: Following Jesus the Galilean Reject    

Pope Francis has called us to the margins, to missionary discipleship, and to act with mercy. He has also reminded us that these callings stem from a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, the Son of God who became human as a rejected Galilean and invites us to follow him in the Galilees and Jerusalems of our time. This workshop will examine Jesus’ Galilean origins, its significance for understanding the mystery of what God has revealed in Christ, and its implications for our life of discipleship today.

Dr. Timothy Matovina

Dr. Timothy Matovina is Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, where he also serves as Co-Director of the Institute for Latino Studies. He is author of “Latino Catholicism: Transformation in America’s Largest Church.” Matovina has offered presentations and workshops on U.S. Catholicism and various theological topics for dioceses, pastoral institutes and ministry formation programs throughout the United States and is a frequent and popular speaker at the Religious Education Congress.

6-19  Examining the Catholic Myths and the Legal Impact on the Family after a Civil Divorce and Church Annulment: A Necessary Dialogue    

Divorce is not a myth but a reality in many unfulfilled marriages. The social and spiritual impact has a permanent effect on the family. The focus of this workshop is an attempt to understand the process of civil divorce and Church annulment especially in light of Pope Francis’ recent reform of the marriage nullity process. Both presenters will examine actual marriage cases to assist families seeking healing through God’s mercy and rebuilding the family’s relationships after a civil divorce and a declaration of nullity by the Church.

Rev. Truc Quang Nguyen

Among the thousands of Vietnamese refugees escaping Vietnam after the fall of Saigon, Fr. Truc Nguyen came to the United States in 1975 with his parents and seven siblings. Having worked professionally for eight years as an engineer, Fr. Nguyen entered the seminary in 1994. He was ordained a priest in January 2000 for the Los Angeles Archdiocese and is currently Judicial Vicar for the Metropolitan Tribunal. He is also Pastor at the Cathedral Chapel of Saint Vibiana in Los Angeles, where he has served since 2010.

Hon. Richard Montes (ret.)

Retired Judge Richard Montes served on the Munici­pal Court for Alhambra, Calif., and the L.A. County Superior Court. With posts as Deputy District Attorney and hearing officer for the National Labor Relations Board, the attorney was also Mayor for the city of San Gabriel, Calif. Judge Montes has been an active member of several Catholic parishes and several parish councils, and has served on the Peace and Justice Commission for the Los Angeles Archdiocese. He is a frequent lecturer to various groups of lawyers and judges.

6-20  Adoring Food: Pastoral Theological Presentation on the Eucharist

Rev. Leo Patalinghug (bio 1-18)

Based on the popular book, “Epic Food Fight: A Bite-Sized History of Salvation,” this expansive topic touches on ecclesial salvation history, bite-sizing deep moral and sacramental theology, while incarnating a dynamic Catholic orthodoxy in the modern world. Delving into the mystery of the Mass, as a priest, theologian and chef, Fr. Leo Patalinghug draws out a rich pastoral theology of the Eucharist.

6-21  The Second Step in Spirituality: The Deeper Secrets Inside the Gospels    

Spirituality has stages. Initially the struggle is to get our lives together, to be essentially good people and good Christians. But where do we go from there? What lies beyond the essentials, the basics? How do we move from struggling to get our lives together to trying to give our lives away? How do we move from being a good person to being an exceptional one? This session will examine a number of invitations from the Gospels that invite us to a deeper, more mature discipleship.

Fr. Ronald Rolheiser, OMI

Fr. Ronald Rolheiser, a Roman Catholic priest and member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, is a community-builder, lecturer and writer. He has taught at the college level and served as Provincial Superior of his Oblate Province and as General Council for the Oblates in Rome. Fr. Rolheiser is currently President of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio. His books have been translated into many languages, and his weekly column is carried by more than 80 papers worldwide.

6-22  Science at the Doorway to God: An Assessment of the Universe, Near-Death Experiences, and the Shroud of Turin     

New satellite data and contemporary theorems give more probative evidence of a creation of physical reality than ever before. The Southampton University Study of Near-Death Experiences (2014) adds to the large body of medical evidence supporting the strong likelihood of human consciousness surviving bodily death. Three new dating tests in 2012 show the strong likelihood that the Shroud of Turin originated at the time of Jesus, and new physical evidence shows the probability of the body emitting a brief intense burst of vacuum ultraviolet radiation tantamount to several billion watts. Fr. Robert Spitzer will discuss these developments and their significance for faith in a culture of growing unbelief.

Fr. Robert J. Spitzer, SJ, PhD

Jesuit priest Fr. Robert Spitzer is President of the Magis Center at Christ Cathedral in Orange County, Calif., and of the Spitzer Center for Ethical Leadership, based in Michigan. He served as President of Gonzaga University from 1998 to 2009 and has published eight books and many scholarly articles. Fr. Spitzer gives over 90 public presentations each year and appears on radio and television, including “Larry King Live” (debating Stephen Hawking), the “Today” show, the History Channel and PBS, among others.

6-23  What Happens When We Accompany Families in Their Faith Journey?    

Michael Theisen (bio 1-25)

It’s amazing what happens when we walk with parents and families along their journey of faith instead of waiting for them to hurry up and arrive at the place we expect them to be. What might we come to know more deeply about parents and family life, the process of faith transmission and the presence of God if we dare accept the ministerial pace of accompaniment in our faith formation efforts? Let’s find out … together!

6-24  Five Steps to Telling a Great Story: How to Teach Like Jesus    

Do you struggle with sharing your faith story? Would you like to become more confident in telling your story? Are you looking for examples for connecting real life to Gospel teaching? Do you know the right balance between storytelling and doctrinal instruction? Do you want to learn how to connect the seeker’s story with Jesus’ story?

Nick Wagner

Based in San Jose, Calif., Nick Wagner is co-founder and Director of TeamRCIA.com, an online resource for Catholic parishes. He has more than 25 years’ experience as a leader and trainer in liturgical and catechetical ministries, serving as a diocesan director of worship and a parish liturgist, and is a regular faculty member in the San Jose Institute for Leadership in Ministry. A writer and editor, Wagner is author of many publications, including his latest entitled, “The Heart of Faith: A Field Guide for Catechumens and Candidates.”

6-25  Gut Check: The Thread of Love    

Matthew O’Donnell Weber (bio 2-27)

Matt Weber had it all. A new book, new home, new wife, new dog, new job – and then it all came crashing down. Reflecting on a near-death experience at age 29 with several hurdles to follow, Weber examines the profound thread of love in his attempts at a physical, marital and spiritual comeback and looks back on how the fruits of spiritual wisdom at a young age are often the welcomed byproducts of life’s many curveballs.

6-26  “The Perfect Family Doesn’t Exist”: Encouraging Boundless Mercy in the Home    

David Wells (bio 3-24)

Pope Francis warns us how ideal and unreal images of perfect family life can make us feel inadequate, dissatisfied and unable to live the family life we desire. In this session, we will look at what Pope Francis encourages us to teach families so that Boundless Mercy might be first experienced at home. We will first summarize what he says about families, and then we will consider how best to communicate it meaningfully. This practical and challenging session is for anyone who works with or ministers to children, young people or adults whose family life can sometimes seem to be struggling and at odds with the deeper aspirations of the Church.

6-70  vietnamese workshop (Vietnamese-American Families and Communities Learning from the Vietnamese Martyrs)

Rev. Joseph Hung Viet Nguyen, ICM
& Prof. Hy Xuan Le, PhD (bio 1-70)

Families and communities today face tremendous cultural challenges. Leaders can learn to navigate these troubled waters from the Vietnamese Martyrs, who used the Good News as their guiding stars in building pastoral relationships that nurtured themselves and others. They adapt and simultaneously transcend the culture.


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