2016 RECongress Period 7

Religious Education Congress
Sunday, February 28, 2016

10:00 - 11:30 am



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= Recorded session

7-01  The Global War on Christians: Dispatch­es from the Front Lines      Arena

Eighty percent of all acts of religious persecution in the world today are directed against Christians, but in the West it is often difficult to conceive of Christianity as a persecuted minority. Yet, every day in the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and parts of sub-Saharan Africa, Christians pay in blood for their faith in a rising tide of legal oppression, social harassment and direct physical violence. Christians today form the most persecuted religious body on the planet, and too often, its new martyrs suffer in silence. This session will sketch the global war against Christians and highlight what we can do about it.

John L. Allen Jr.

John Allen is Associate Editor of The Boston Globe and Crux, the Globe’s Web site covering Catholicism. He serves as Senior Vatican Analyst for CNN and was a prize-winning Senior Correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter for 16 years. Author of 10 best-selling books, Allen writes frequently on the Church for major national and international publications and pens a weekly Internet column, “All Things Catholic.” He is also a popular speaker in the United States and internationally.

7-02  The Racial Divide in the United States

The racial divide in the United States was drawn from the dramatic events in cities around the country. It was intended to open minds and hearts as we try to deal with such tragedies that include deaths of young men of color during confrontations with local white police officers or neighborhood watch persons; unprecedented unrest (including not only peaceful demonstrations, but also violence and senseless destruction of property); and published surveys/media commentaries suggesting the gulf exists between the way black people and white people view these events is wider than many people had thought. That gulf has been termed a racial divide.

Most Rev. Edward K. Braxton, PhD, STD

Bishop Edward Braxton, a priest of the Chicago Archdiocese, served the Archdiocese of St. Louis and the Diocese of Lake Charles, La., until his installation in 2005 as the eighth Bishop of the Diocese of Belleville, Ill. He has taught at The Catholic University of America, the University of Notre Dame, Harvard University Divinity School, and the Pontifical North American College in Rome. Bishop Braxton’s 2015 pastoral letter, “The Racial Divide in the United States,” is used as a resource in the United States and abroad.

7-03  From the Front lines of Crises: Humanitarian Emergencies Through the Lens of Women

Caroline Brennan (bio 4-04)

The images from the world’s global crises rarely feature those at the heart of them: Women. Join Caroline Brennan as she shines a spotlight on the issues facing women in today’s most pressing humanitarian crises, and the unique needs and the impact of the Church’s work on behalf of women and girls.

7-04  Moving in the Direction of Mercy    

Sr. Kathleen Bryant, RSC (bio 6-05)

A God of boundless mercy always invites us to life! How do you go about discovering which paths will lead you to more life? Our Catholic tradition provides us with a discernment process and tools that help us align our lives with God’s will. Explore some ideas for yourself (or others) to experience God’s incredible mercy as your life unfolds.

7-05  Building a Strong Children’s Choir

Discover ideas of how to turn your children’s choir into the next generation of pastoral musicians in our Church. There will also be ideas of good repertoire for children and how to encourage some voices to become leaders of song in the Mass.

Jaime Cortez

Jaime Cortez has been a full-time pastoral musician in the Phoenix Diocese for 29 years. He is a teacher and clinician, a recording and concert artist and a songwriter of liturgical pieces. Cortez, published by OCP Publications, is one of the prominent writers of bilingual music; his music appears in all the major hymnals of the Catholic Church. He has presented at national conferences, including the Southwest Liturgical Conference, the East Coast Conference, and the Hispanic Pastoral Musician Conference.

7-06  Identity with Integrity: Journeys of LGBT Catholics    

How can someone be Catholic and lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT)? Many of us try to repress our sexuality in order to be perfect Catholics. When that doesn’t work, we seek community outside the Church. We tend either to choose one and reject the other or to compartmentalize these parts of our lives. This does not work! We cannot truly be ourselves until we begin the journey to integrate faith and sexuality. In this workshop, a diverse panel of Catholics, educators, minorities and LGBT persons will share how we seek to live authentically as we journey to claim our whole identity with integrity.

Arthur Fitzmaurice, PhD

Dr. Arthur Fitzmaurice is Resource Director of the Catholic Association for Lesbian and Gay Ministry, based in Atlanta. He formerly served as Chair of the Los Angeles Archdiocese Catholic Ministry with Lesbian and Gay Persons and has received the Archdiocese’s Lumen Christi and Cardinal’s Young Adult in Ministry Award. Dr. Fitzmaurice has contributed to America Media and appears in the Ignatian News Network’s YouTube series on pastoral care of LGBT Catholics.

7-07  Bringing Sacrament Preparation to Life!    

Steven Ellair (bio 3-06)

If it’s time for new life and new ideas for effective sacrament preparation in your parish or school, don’t miss this energizing workshop! Focus will be on key strategies and engaging activities that will bring sacrament preparation to the next level with children!

7-08  Empowering Young Adult Leadership & Receiving Them in Parish Life    

According to a 2015 study, when asked about religion affiliation, 36 percent of young adults age 18-24 claim “none,” giving rise to the nickname “the nones.” More than 90 percent of Catholic high school seniors attend non-Catholic colleges, which means that even non-Catholic schools play a pivotal role in the future vitality of the Church in America. How do we empower high school students to seek their faith in college? How does college campus ministry develop Church leadership? Once out of college, how can a young adult integrate into parish life? These questions will be explored in a panel discussion led by Fr. Dave Dwyer and Rosie Shawver.

Fr. Dave Dwyer, CSP

Paulist priest Fr. Dave Dwyer is Executive Director of Busted Halo Ministries and Publisher of BustedHalo.com. He hosts the weekday Sirius­XM Radio “The Busted Halo Show” and co-hosts “Conversation with Cardinal Dolan” on EWTN. Fr. Dwyer has appeared on CNN, Fox News, The History Channel, NBC News, The Today Show, The New York Times and The Daily Show. Fr. Dwyer formerly worked in Campus Ministry at the universities of Colorado and of Texas and developed ministry programs for the Military Archdiocese.

Rosie Chinea Shawver, MDiv

Rosie Shawver, a native of Southern California, began her work experience volunteering at Annunciation House, a home for immigrants in El Paso, Texas. She then moved to Albuquerque, N.M., to become Director of Campus Ministry at the University of New Mexico and then worked at Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, N.M., as the Parish and Faith Community Outreach Liaison. Today, she is Director of Campus Ministry at the University of Southern California’s Caruso Catholic Center in Los Angeles.

7-09  Live Fully While You Live – Pass On a Legacy When You Die    

Amy Florian (bio 3-10)

Facts: 1) In 70 percent of deaths, decisions must be made for treatment/non-treatment; 2) if you want to donate your organs, it isn’t enough to sign your driver’s license; and 3) most people would rather pass on a legacy of life lessons rather than possessions. So what documents must be in place for you to remain in control of decisions that affect your end-of-life treatment? What’s a binding way to indicate you want to donate organs? How can you pass on your wisdom to kids and grandkids? This is not about ethics of end-of-life decisions; instead, explore the most effective ways to ensure that your medical, financial and legacy wishes are known and honored.

7-10  Paul’s Teaching and Eucharistic Living

Edward Foley, OFM Cap (bio 6-10)

“Irascible” Paul was also “integrated” Paul. At the birth of Christianity, St. Paul understood that following Jesus could not be reduced to engaging in the Jesus rituals; rather, it required living the Jesus life in communion. This exploration of the Corinthian challenges that Paul faced allows us to consider how this same “challenge” confronts contemporary worshiping communities.

7-11  The Catechumenate as the Inspiration for All Catechesis: Why and How?    

Dr. Jerry Galipeau (bio 4-11)

Both the General Directory and the National Directory for Catechesis reflect the Church’s directive and vision that the Catechumenate (the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) inspires all of the Church’s catechetical activity. This is a powerful and potentially revolutionary vision when put into practice. Discover the theory behind the principle and what it means to put the vision into practical parish application for the RCIA and for all catechesis.

7-12  Leading in Grace: Serving God

Dr. Greer G. Gordon (bio 1-07)

In the community of believers, leaders are expected to have two fundamental objectives: obedience to the Will of God, and service to the People of God. Because of these fundamentals, the models of leadership in the Church appear to be restrictive and demanding. After a brief review of her 2015 session on servant leadership, Dr. Greer Gordon will present a concrete discussion of the inherent tensions between types of leadership and the structure of the Church, and ways to develop, enhance and maintain lay leadership. Additionally, this session will address the formation of a leadership stance that is directive, yet collaborative; bold, yet rooted in tradition; and spiritual, yet functional in a secular society.

7-13  Can Man Live Without God?    

Darrell Hall (bio 5-15)

Can man live without God? Yes, in a physical sense, but is it reasonable? No, because you cannot build a coherent ethical foundation without first establishing the purpose and destiny of human life. If life is meaningless and absurd, why should ethics serve any purpose except my own? Why should I subject myself to anyone else’s moral convictions? In our search for morality and happiness outside of God, we have effectively lost all three – God, morality and happiness.

7-14  What Does the Bible Really Say About “Mercy”?    

We so often pray, “Kyrie eleison” or “Lord, have mercy.” But what does the Bible really say about the mercy of God? How does Jesus show God’s mercy, through his life, his teachings and his actions? And how do the Sacred Scriptures challenge us to put mercy into practice concretely today? This workshop will explore the biblical themes of mercy, compassion, pity, forgiveness and kindness. It will help us better know what we are asking for when we pray for God’s mercy, and how God also expects us to act mercifully toward others.

Fr. Felix Just, SJ, PhD

Fr. Felix Just is Executive Director of the Loyola Institute for Spirituality in Orange, Calif. He has taught at all three Jesuit universities in California – the University of San Francisco, Santa Clara and Loyola Marymount. Fr. Just conducts many adult faith formation programs for parishes and dioceses, leads biblically based days of prayer, parish missions and weekend or week-long retreats. He has seven audio-lecture programs with Now You Know Media and maintains a large, internationally recognized website of “Catholic resources.”

7-15  Emerging Trends in Youth Ministry: The Pain and the Promise    

What’s new in youth ministry? Its leaders must be future-oriented because pastoral ministry to, with, for and by young people is changing – rapidly. This workshop will describe the shifting societal and Church landscape, identify ministerial trends and provide a blueprint for our ministry. We need to assess the territory and develop new ministry maps if we are to build foundations under our dreams for the young Church.

Robert J. McCarty, DMin

Bob McCarty is Executive Director of the Washington, D.C.-based National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, which offers youth ministry resources, training, conferences and leadership. He has been in youth ministry since 1973, serving in parish, school, community and diocesan settings. McCarty provides training in ministry skills and issues internationally. He also serves as a volunteer in his parish youth ministry and cate­chetical program at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Fulton, Md.

7-16  Meeting Jesus    

James Martin, SJ (bio 4-01)

Come and see! Come and encounter the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith, as Fr. James Martin invites you into the Gospel narratives to learn more about the person at the center of our lives. Fr. Martin, author of “Jesus: A Pilgrimage,” will use historical details, spiritual insights and biblical exegesis to deepen your appreciation of the fully human, fully divine Son of God.

7-17  From Access to Belonging    

Mary O’Meara (bio 2-22)

In this workshop, we will explore the notion of persons with special needs moving past being simply “recipients” of the faith, toward being agents of the Gospel message. Ways for including persons with disabilities and special needs in the life of the parish, across that person’s life span, will also be discussed. As the Pastoral Statement of U.S. Catholic Bishops on People with Disabilities states, “We are a single flock under the care of a single shepherd. There can be no separate Church for persons with disabilities.”

7-18  Small Christian Communities: Evangelization from the Inside Out    

Sr. Theresa Rickard, OP (bio 1-22)

Whether personal or communal, the encounter with Christ and others touches our hearts and moves us to share the Good News. Such encounters provide insight and help us to integrate faith-knowledge with faith-action. Small parish communities provide the optimum environment, motivating members to become missionary disciples and evangelizers. This session provides practical ways to launch and grow parish small groups with a focus on mission.

7-19  Shared Parishes and Intercultural Life    

An ever-growing number of our parishes celebrate liturgy and provide ministries in two or more languages or cultural contexts, but not without challenges. Jesus prayed that we “may all be one,” and our pastoral efforts continue to reflect that prayer. We will dialogue about what it takes to develop a plan for achieving communion from diversity. We’ll take a look at our community’s life of prayer and formation of a multicultural spirituality; we’ll sing songs, look at documents, resources and dialogue about best practices.

Pedro Rubalcava

Pedro Rubalcava is a bilingual/bicultural composer, clinician, performing artist, cantor and pastoral minister. He currently serves as Director of Hispanic Ministries at Oregon Catholic Press in Portland, Ore. Rubalcava has taught at the Tepeyac Institute in El Paso, Texas, the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, Calif., and the School of Theology and Ministry at Boston College. Since 1985, he has been a frequent speaker at liturgy and other ministry conferences on the national, diocesan and parish levels.

7-20  Physician-Assisted Suicide: Responding to a New Problem of Cultural Decline    

Fr. Robert J. Spitzer, SJ, PhD (bio 6-22)

A new wave of assisted-suicide legislation and initiatives has been sweeping the country. California is the latest state to have approved such legislation. Many Catholics have asked why the Church is taking an active position in a question of seemingly private choice in civil society. Fr. Robert Spitzer will discuss why assisted suicide is a fundamental justice issue – giving freedoms to one group that impose onerous burdens to die on other groups: the vulnerable, the disabled and the economically and socially marginalized. He will also explain the cultural effects of assisted suicide in the Netherlands. Catholics have an important part to play in this social issue.

7-21  Forming Adults as Missionary Disciples: Five Creative Strategies    

Julianne Stanz (bio 5-23)

Pope Francis asks us to form and send out “missionary disciples” from our ministries. What does this mean? In our parishes, we often meet adults at the most joyful and hope-filled moments of their life – when they get engaged, are married, at baptism and when they seek out faith formation for their children. We also encounter parishioners at moments of intense struggle and pain – through death, brokenness and moments of questioning. This workshop will give participants five practical and effective ways to encounter, form and send out missionary disciples to change the world.

7-22  Building a Culture of Encounter: Humanizing the Social Networks    

(originally scheduled with Msgr. Paul Tighe)

In this workshop, we will focus on identifying the possibility of the social networks, realizing their potential to be places of dialogue and authentic human growth. In particular, we will seek to clarify how Christian believers, together with others of goodwill, can work to ensure that the social networks promote a greater sense of unity within the human family.

John Rinaldo

John Rinaldo is Director of Parish Partnerships at Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County.

7-23  Augustine of Hippo: A Person of Faith in a Time of Crisis and Confusion    

Rev. Thomas C. Weston, SJ (bio 4-25)

Augustine is the most influential writer/thinker in the Latin Church, after St. Paul and before Thomas Aquinas. For 900 years he was the voice of orthodoxy and reason. He lived in a time of chaos, conflict, rebellion and barbarian invasions. Manichaeism, Pelagianism and Donatism were heresies that were destroying the Christian community. In this session, Fr. Thomas Weston will present the conflicts and the accomplishments of Augustine as he comes to an understanding of the Gospel and human society in the late-fourth and early-fifth centuries. He is brilliant, creative and passionate, and he gives us the good example of doing the same in the 21st century.

7-24  The Heart and Soul of Unity for Couples    

Our experience of authentic happiness in married life corresponds to the level of unity that we live as spouses. Unity is a gift from God that requires our daily commitment to a Trinitarian lifestyle. In this presentation, Dr. John Yzaguirre integrates psychological and spiritual approaches necessary for a Trinitarian lifestyle, where we welcome each other with compassionate acceptance, practice unconditional self-giving and prioritize a life of communion and mutuality. When we are united as Jesus wants, we experience the fullness of joy for which we are searching.

Dr. John Yzaguirre

Dr. John Yzaguirre is a psychologist and author specializing in family life and Catholic spirituality. He co-directs the California Prosocial Institute with his wife, Claire Frazier-Yza­guirre, with whom he has co-authored “Thriving Marriages.” He has been a keynote speaker at conventions in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe and Australia. Besides his active private practice in Irvine, Calif., Dr. Yzaguirre offers marriage and family formation seminars at churches throughout the United States.

7-70  Vietnamese Workshop (A Society in Need of Mercy)    

Bishop Joseph Thien Van Vu (bio 2-70)

In our society, when people are indifferent to God, they are also indifferent to each other, even in intimate relationships. The unstable status of society – due to war, violence, hunger and other social evils – are the cause of the exclusion of God from daily life. Every faithful person needs to become someone whose life shares God’s mercy through responsible living, with care and respect for one another.


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