2016 RECongress Period 8

Religious Education Congress
Sunday, February 28, 2016

1:00 - 2:30 pm



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8-01  A Restless Humanity in Search of Meaning      Arena

During this Year of Mercy, we focus not only on God, the source of Boundless Mercy, but also on the recipients of that mercy. We are aware of our failings and wounded natures – and our need for the One who created us. This need is expressed in prayer, in literature, in music. One song in particular will be the focus of this presentation, “Need You Now,” by Plumb. The song claims: “Everybody’s got a wound to be healed … I want to believe there’s meaning here ... trying to hear that still small voice above the noise.” Pope Francis responds: “God invites us to a conversation. God waits for us. God does not tire of forgiving.” This session will examine the conversation to which we are called.

Sr. Maureen Sullivan, OP, PhD

Sr. Maureen Sullivan is a Dominican Sister of Hope from New York. After 26 years of teaching theology, she is now Professor Emerita at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire. She also serves as a religion consultant for the William H. Sadlier Publishing Company. A popular speaker at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, Sr. Sullivan has written two books on Vatican II: “101 Questions and Answers on Vatican II” and “The Road to Vatican II: Key Changes in Theology.”

8-02  How to Coach Parents to Form Their Own Children in Faith    

Paul Canavese (bio 4-05)

Catechists cannot substitute for parents. For faith formation to last a lifetime, parents must be involved in the process. Parents want this, but often feel intimidated and don’t know where to start. This challenge is the very heart of evangelization and precisely the point at which we can show them the mercy of the church as we welcome and assist them. This workshop will present: 1) the role of parents, as taught by the Church; 2) practical ways parishes can engage, coach and empower parents; and 3) suggested resources to support parish leaders in this ministry. Special attention will be placed on sacramental preparation.

8-03  Effective Contemporary Music Ministry: Color Inside the Lines, But Use Bright Colors!    

Starting and leading a weekly parish youth liturgy is challenging, but fun. This workshop explores effective ways to make liturgies more engaging to young people, led by young people. You don’t have to sacrifice rubrics or richness!

Craig Colson

Craig Colson is a published composer with World Library Publications. He has directed music since 1993 in the Phoenix area and is currently Music and Liturgy Director at St. Francis Xavier Church. Skilled in piano, guitar, voice, percussion and drums, Colson has spoken at Life Teen music conventions and conferences in the areas of liturgy and music. He also provides music suggestions and writes articles for the Life Teen liturgy planning guides.

8-04  A Deeper Appreciation of Some of Our Favorite Gospel Stories    

Rev. John C. Cusick (bio 2-11)

We all have a list of our favorites, from books and movies, athletic events, places we have visited, songs, and historical and political heroes. We can say the same about our favorite Gospel stories. Let’s revisit some of them (the Prodigal Son, the Good Samaritan, the Adulterous Woman, the Nativity, Jesus and Peter, the Death of Christ, and a few more if time permits). If we deepen our understanding of their images, symbols and culture, each story can become an even more important part of our spiritual lives.

8-05  Food as a Language for Family    

Robin Davis (bio 5-10)

Sharing a meal with someone is one of the most personal and universal experiences of life. When Robin Davis, author of “Recipe For Joy,” married a widower with three young children, she felt wholly unequipped to take on full-time motherhood. But she did know how to cook (she had made a career out of it). Robin will share her story of how she used the dinner table as a way to bond with her new family with food as a language they could all understand.

8-06  Encounter and Mission: The Adolescent Disciple’s Journey    

Tom East (bio 6-08)

Youth and college-age young adults are making big decisions about their lives, their priorities and their relationships. This is the moment to help them choose Christ as the center of their commitments. The disciples’ journey moves from encounter to relationships, through formation to mission. This workshop will explore ways to accompany, support and form youth and college-age young adults as active young disciples. We will explore practical, effective ways to help youth live and love their Catholic faith, and grow in their friendship with Christ.

8-07  Freedom and Forgiveness: A Fresh Look at the Sacrament of Reconciliation   

Fr. Paul Farren (bio 2-12)

This workshop explores the sacrament of reconciliation as a powerful gift given by God – a gift that has the power to renew the Church. This renewal comes when we focus on the two people who confess – God and the penitent – within the context of the praying community. God is the primary confessor, when he declares his forgiveness for and trust in the one who is celebrating the sacrament. How the friendship between God and the penitent is renewed is explored using the Rite of Penance and St. Peter in the Gospel.

8-08  Will Wonders Never Cease!    

Anne Frawley-Mangan (bio 6-11)

Children are filled with wonder. They intuitively use their imaginations to see and engage with the world – and our awesome God. The challenge is to keep this wonder alive as they get older. In this fun and interactive workshop, you will learn skills and techniques that will help you discover creative ways that drama encourages wonder-filled experiences.

8-09  Jesus and “The X Factor”    

Fr. Rob Galea (bio 3-11)

After much thought, prayer and discernment, Fr. Rob Galea recently appeared on the 2015 TV series, “The X Factor Australia.” In this workshop, he will be talking (and singing) about connecting today’s pop culture and pop music with our Catholic Christian faith.

8-10  Mentoring in Ministry    

Ann M. Garrido (bio 6-13)

Excellence in ministry requires not only knowledge of Scripture and church teaching, but the ability to use that knowledge pastorally on behalf of God’s people – an art that involves skill, reflection and time. This workshop offers mentorship tools and processes for those entrusted with the pastoral development of the next generation of ministers in the Church.

8-11  Deep Change: Meeting God During Time of Transition and Failure    

Richard F. Groves (bio 4-13)

Change in life is inevitable. Authentic spirituality teaches how to deal with the suffering that can be associated with stressful times. While we often find periods of “un-change” consoling, mystics of the great spiritual traditions all agree that God is especially accessible to us when life seems to be dissolving through the “sacrament of failure.” This workshop explores “the mystery of deep change,” as author Susan Plummer describes it, and how one can live hopefully through times of unknowing. The secret is learning how to trust that, while life’s biggest changes at first can be unsettling, a whole new world of spiritual possibility is often being revealed.

8-12  Catholic Video-maker’s Forum    

Fr. David L. Guffey, CSC (bio 6-14)

With cheaper cameras and access to Internet platforms, there has been an explosion of Catholic video content. Amid all the options, how do audiences find that content? Holy Cross Family Ministries recently commissioned the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University to conduct a study of the faith life and media use of U.S. Catholic families. Fr. David Guffey will show how this research can help. This workshop will bring together video-makers of all levels of skill and sophistication to share ideas about producing impactful videos and engaging target audiences for education, inspiration and evangelization.

8-13  Laudato Si': Singing and Praying the Can­ticle of Creation with Francis

Marty Haugen (bio 5-01)

The first words of Francis of Assisi’s beautiful canticle of creation – “Praise be to you, my Lord” – open Pope Francis’ powerful encyclical on the environment. Echoing Pope Paul VI, Pope Francis calls all people on Earth to a “radical change in conduct.” How can our liturgies, especially the sacrament of the Eucharist, reflect and participate in the spirit of this encyclical? How are we bound up through the Paschal Mystery in the life of all creation?

8-14  Keys to Proclaiming the Word: The Task of Catechesis    

Dr. Saundra Kennedy (bio 1-13)

Our key objective as catechists, who echo the person of Jesus, is to proclaim God’s Word to those to whom we minister. Thus, we embrace Jesus’ mission to “Go ... make disciples of all nations.” As catechists, how do we go about doing this? What might we do to ensure that the disciples of Jesus today come to know and understand God’s Word and their own mission? This workshop will discuss the goal of catechesis – proclaiming the Word and making new disciples – in light of “The Six Tasks of Catechesis” outlined in the General and National Directories for Catechesis.

8-15  The Celtic Heart of Mercy

Liam Lawton examines the meaning of mercy in Celtic spirituality. “Advancing in holiness” meant having an awareness of God in all things and all people. The creative energy going out from God is ever-present, ever-changing, and thus challenges us to reflect in our daily lives the mercy and compassion in Jesus Christ. In the Celtic world, all human relations must be characterized by mercy and not just self-interest – a real challenge for living today! Through word and song, Liam Lawton explores this theme.

Liam Lawton

Liam Lawton is a priest of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, Ireland, where he serves as Director of Music. He has recorded 16 collections of music and has written two books. Fr. Lawton’s music has been performed for many state occasions in Ireland and elsewhere. He has recorded a number of TV specials including two on PBS and one BBC special for the United Kingdom. He has presented at conferences in Europe and across the United States, and is one of the most frequent presenters at the Los Angeles RECongress.

8-16  What Are We Hop-ing? Stories of Mercy for Lent and Easter

Rev. Richard Leonard, SJ (bio 4-17)

Though you could be forgiven for not knowing it, the Church actually describes Lent as a “joyful season.” How can we rediscover stories and images of God’s boundless mercy that are meant to fill us with joy as we are set free in Christ.

8-17  The Spiritual Bridge: Moses to Jesus    

Jews and Christians tend to see a disconnect between Moses and Jesus – one a man of law, the other of faith. In this workshop, we will explore the deep spiritual connections between these two men of God. Our focus will be on how they both brought their people to faith in and obedience to God.

Rabbi Michael Mayersohn

Based in Southern California, Rabbi Michael Mayersohn is a Reform Rabbi who teaches the Bible, both Hebrew and New Testament, offering Jewish insights into Sacred Scriptures. Since 2003, he has spoken at over 20 churches in Orange County and San Diego in California and in Arizona, teaching Christians the Jewish roots of Christianity and context of the life and ministry of Jesus. Rabbi Mayersohn has been a presenter at the Religious Education Congress since 2010 and is author of “Are We Sinners?”

8-18  Light in the Darkness    

Fr. Jonathan Morris (bio 3-19)

Join Fr. Jonathan Morris as he suggests practical approaches to making our homes and parishes bright with the light of Christ!

8-19  Genesis, Evolution & the Image of God    

Prof. Daniel L. Smith-Christopher (bio 1-23)

Christianity has always been fascinated with key texts in Genesis, such as the Imago Dei, the “image” of God. In this session, we will take up Genesis 1-3 once again, but suggest how Genesis opens a dialogue with aspects of evolutionary thought: dialogue rather than rejection!

8-20  Liturgical Celebrations as “Source and Summit” of Christian Hope    

Johan M. J. van Parys, PhD (bio 5-24)

Though we celebrate our faith and nourish our hope on a weekly basis, this does not prevent occasional bouts with disbelief and despair. In such difficult times, it is especially important to participate in the liturgy to affirm our faith and strengthen our hope. This workshop will look at the liturgy as the “source and summit” of our Christian life. We will be reaffirmed in our understanding of the liturgy as the “source and summit” of Christian hope while learning methods by which to strengthen this knowledge and experience among parishioners.

8-21  How to Evangelize Like a Rock Star – In a Subtle, Catholic Kind of Way    

Nick Wagner (bio 6-24)

Pope Francis said, “The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you.” How do you do that in a normal, everyday way that doesn’t involve standing on a street corner with a large sign? In this workshop, we will explore how Catholic evangelization happens and how we can be more effective evangelists. You will learn: why evangelization is crucial to conversion; what evangelization looks like for Catholics; and how to strike up spiritual conversations – without seeming weird. This workshop will change the way you think about, and do, evangelization.

8-22  Using Boundless Energy to Form Boundless Faith!    

Pope Francis urges us to work “tirelessly” for the Gospel – quite a challenge when your work is with young children! Come and join WLP artist James Wahl, from St. Francis of Assisi Parish in North Carolina, as he shares music and strategies that enable those working with young children to channel that energy toward an encounter with Jesus. Explore how, in a culture where children are surrounded by media from their earliest days, it is vital that our message of faith be tailored with quality and fun. This workshop is geared to anyone working with children ages 3 to 8.

James Wahl

Composer James Wahl has been performing children’s music for over 15 years and has presented at various diocesan youth events over past 10 years for both the dioceses of Phoenix and Raleigh, N.C. Currently Director of Music at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Raleigh, Wahl previously ministered in California and at SS. Simon and Jude Cathedral in Phoenix. He has a CD of original music for young children titled “Standin’ On the Rock.”

8-70  Vietnamese Workshop (Youth Leadership: A Witness to Love)    

Sr. Vuong Do, FMA (bio 5-70)

“If we don’t give them Jesus, we don’t give enough,” said Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. This session will help young people deepen their relationship with Jesus, who is a beacon of leadership.


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