The Religious Education Congress is sponsored by 
The Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocese 
Office of Religious Education

See comments for Congress 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002,  2001 2000 1999

View our current comments

Comments for Congress 2002

Share your experiences or ask questions about the Religious Education Congress. We'd like to know what you think. Your comments and our replies will be posted for others to share.


Name: Jamessibole
Date: November 18, 2002

Why are there hardly any conservative speakers at Congress?

For example, Scott Hahn, Jeff Cavins, anyone from Catholics United For The Faith, anyone from Ignatius Press or its authors, anyone from Catholic Answers, anyone from First Things, anyone from Kolbe Creation Organization. We are Catholics, too!


Thank you for your comment regarding the Congress not having conservative speakers such as Scott Hahn and Jeff Cavins.  Many of our speakers are invited at the suggestion of our delegates.  We do listen to their input, which is given through mail/email, phone and requested on their Congress evaluation forms.
Please know that Congress is open to all, whether they be ultraconservative, liberal, middle of the road or attempting to find out what, if any, category they may fall under.
Your comment is appreciated and we will take your suggestions under consideration.
Adrian Whitaker, Congress Coordinator

Name: Annie Trunkle Smart
Date: October 31, 2002

There is a rumor running around Spokane, WA that the R.E. Congress will be cancelled due the financial fiasco that Cardinal Mahony has put the diocese in.  Is this true?  If so, I need to know so I can cancel the appropriate airline arrangements.  Thank you.


Hello Annie,

The RE Congress is NOT cancelled. Please help end the rumor. We have already received a large number of registrations via mail and online. Some of the hotels are already booked and all speakers intact. Congress is definitely not in a financial fiasco thanks to our delegates, exhibitors and my low salary.

Have a great Thanksgiving and I look forward to seeing you February 28 through March 2.

Adrian Whitaker, Congress Coordinator

Name: John Steven Coke, Sr.
Date: March 03, 2002

As always, Congress is a profoundly spiritual experience for me. Congress 2002 helped me clarify a direction I need to take. Since my first Congress occurred just a few weeks after our wedding, my wife and I attend as a sort of "spiritual anniversary trip."

Thank you to Fr. Liam Lawton. I "discovered" your music this year and have been moved by it. Thank you to John Flaherty for choosing the Palestrina piece during the preparation of the table at the Closing Liturgy. As a classically trained musician and convert to the Church, I struggle at times with the typical parish music. Palestrina was a high-point for me in the weekend. And thank you to whomever choose the little boy in the dark pants and white shirt who helped placed the altar linens during that Palestrina piece. When he touched the linen and "helped" the grown-ups, I was brought to tears. For me, he represents the future of the Church.

I wish the the Congress planners would post signs by the lunch tables in the exhibit hall that the tables may NOT be reserved by parishes putting their belongings and signs on them. It is rude and disrespectful to the rest of us who will stand or sit on the ground eating our food with tables sitting empty waiting for the "privileged ones" to stroll in from their workshops. (I will now get off of my soap box.)

Congress is truly a blessing. Thank you, Dept. of Religious Ed, for all of your hard work.

Name: Carrie-Lou Gray
Date: February 20, 2002

As always, as a whole, I thoroughly enjoyed this year's Congress. I have been attending this event off-and-on (more often ON) since 1970, when I attended as a high school student. Back then, we used to wear our parish name on our name tags. That is one thing I miss.

I had only one unpleasant experience while attending Congress. The gentleman who was responsible for the seating arrangements for the afternoon closing liturgy was far less than tactful in handling the people who were sitting in the disabled section. I understand that, after working so hard for so many days, patience can dwindle easily. however, to speak abruptly to people is never necessary, and it didn't seem to me that he knew quite the right way to address people who MAY HAVE been sitting in that section without reason. I have a disability which is not visible. I suffer from chronic osteoarthritis in both knees, as well as the fact that I had major spinal surgery less than a year ago. because of these two conditions, I am unable to walk up and down stairs. I was not addressed by this man personally, but I was definitely a little put out by the way he was speaking to others.

As I said, I understand that people get tired and patience diminishes, but perhaps someone could work with these people and give them some hints on how to address people in these situations that wouldn't be quite as abrupt.

Now, on a lighter note, through talking with a co-worker at my job, I found out that she is related to Father Tony Ricard. What a small world it really is!

At any rate, as always, Congress 2002 was a very uplifting and energizing experience, and I walked away wishing it could have lasted even longer. Thank you to Adrian Whitaker, and to all who worked on Congress, for a most wonderful weekend.

Carrie-Lou Gray, St. Mark Parish, Venice, CA


Dear Carrie,

It was nice to hear that after 32 years of attending Congress you still enjoy it. I appreciate your years of support.

In regard to the arena incident, I do not feel that there is an excuse for rudeness. Please know that I will bring this incident to the attention of our Congress Committee. Thank you very much for taking the time to comment.

Adrian Whitaker, Congress Coordinator 

Name: Chris Renz, O.P.
Date: February 19, 2002

This was my first time to the Congress. It was quite a marvelous experience. I am grateful to the organization committee for its efforts.

I would like to suggest a couple of things regarding the liturgies. First, that there be a diversity of styles which displays the full richness of the contemporary Church. This would include not only the wonderful richness currently represented in the liturgies, but also the more traditional musical styles. I appreciated the "nod" to this style at the closing liturgy with the Palestrina piece. However, it was poorly rehearsed and didn't come off that well. Given the fact that there were over one hundred voices in the choir, I saw no reason for this problem.

The other suggestion I would offer is to have more silence in the liturgies. While they were very engaging, they were also completely filled with activity. Silence is as important as all of the wonderful music and movement. I was sorely missing this aspect of our liturgy.

The Spirit was clearly at work at the Congress. I pray that it will continue to work throughout our local ministries.

Thank you again.

Name: Sr. Meg Funk
Date: February 18, 2002

I am en route back home... The Congress was wonderful. Quality, quality....especially prayer. my thanks.

Sister Meg Funk (2002 Congress Speaker)

Name: Lynette Castiglione
Date: February 18, 2002

Dear Congress Officials:

I love the Congress as usual especially the liturgies, but I think that could there could be some improvement on planning the masses so that they don't coincide with other events. Don't make all the events at the same time, spread it around, maybe plan when the mass can be a little shorter so people can go to dinner and go to the concerts afterwards. Also there can be a little more organization on the eucharistic ministers, people don't know know where they're going when they are going back to their seats. There is no structure and you don't plan when it comes to having enough wine, several people didn't get the wine. In conclusion, I feel that you should change the date to April like you guys did a couple of years ago. You had more people attending, and it was more convenient for all. And also more bathrooms should be provided. 

Overall, I love it.... And please bring back John Burland.

Name: Michele Fitzpatrick
Date: February 17, 2002

I would like to thank you for inviting Fr. Robert Spitzer to speak this year. I have a deeper understanding of the meaning of human life. Fr. Spitzer is a physician for a dying American culture. I attended both of his talks. Fr. Spitzer needs to be the keynote speaker at a catechists conference; not just another speaker.

Name: St. Philomena Parishoner
Date: February 15, 2002

Waaaaaaasssssssssuuuuuuuuuupppppppppppp to all my brothers and sister in Christ Jesus. My name is Peter and I come from St. Philomena in Carson. My Youth Ministry took a picture from the Youth Day 2002 event. I tried everything to look at those pictures.....Can you tell me how I can look at these pictures. Thank you and God Bless ALL!!!!!


Photos from the weekend have just been posted tonight (February 19). You can find the categories of daily events on the 2002 Congress page.

Name: mary
Date: February 15, 2002

Hello, my name is Mary & u guys took a pix of me on Youth Day Feb14, 2002. I was wondering how can I check it out? & will I come out in the newspaper ... just kidding! God bless you all.


Photos from the weekend have just been posted tonight (February 19). You can find the categories of daily events on the 2002 Congress page.

Name: Marisela Castro
Date: January 27, 2002

I am wondering that if I send my registration form on the 28th of January, would we receive the tickets and every thing needed by mail?


Registrations received by February 4 will be processed and mailed. Everything received after that date will be processed and held at Will Call at Congress.

Name: Maria Yao
Date: January 20, 2002

I mailed my Religious Ed. Congress registration form on Dec. 10, 2001 I still have not received my workshop tickets for the RECongress '02. I'm wondering if you received it yet?

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


Tickets will be mailed after January 20, 2002 to those who have successfully completed mail-in or web registrations by February 4,
2002. Registrations received after that date MUST be picked up on-site at the Anaheim Convention Center. Please allow two weeks for delivery. Please, read all materials enclosed with tickets.

Note: Tickets are mailed out in the order of registration number -- lower numbers will receive theirs earlier. We will hold all tickets mailed to foreign addresses. They will be available for pick-up at Will Call at Congress.

Advance pick-up of Congress tickets is available on-site at the Convention Center on Thursday, February 14 from 3:30 - 5:00 p.m. and from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. Ticket pick-up is available at the Registration Booth in Hall A throughout Congress.   

Name: Fr. Chris Ponnet
Date: January 20, 2002

I just want to commend your efforts each year to make this gathering spiritual and educational. Your speakers are excellent and very diverse. Thank you Sr. Edith, Adrian and your great team of workers and volunteers. I am honored to be speaking this year on HIV/AIDS along with having the HIV/AIDS booth. It is always amazing how much ministry takes place after the workshops and around the booth. Along with all your efforts in organizing and presenting a sound spiritual, theological and Church experience--the Spirit moves powerful. Peace. Fr. Chris Ponnet

Name: Anne 
Date: January 16, 2002

What are the dates for Congress 2003?


Dates for the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress 2003 are February 27, 2003 (Youth Day) & February 28 - March 2, 2003 

Name: Juanita
Date: January 10, 2002

Since you do not allow any food vendors, or food donations, would you please ask the food service to lower their astronomical food prices to a reasonable level, I'm not even asking for cheap, because that would be asking too much, since they look forward to this day to make their capital gain. Also, if they would, please, have the dignity to at least serve decent lent meals. The last time I was there I had to eat meat on a Friday of lent because that was all they were selling. I would really appreciate it if you would please be so kind to inform them that we are Catholics, and explain to them that we DO NOT eat meat on Fridays of Lent!


Dear Juanita,

I agree with you, the food prices are astronomical. I have told Aramark on more than 1 occasion to lower the prices but they are set by their corporate headquarters for all Aramark concessions across the United States. There is absolutely nothing I can do. The hotels, especially the Marriott, offer very reasonably priced box luncheons. As for fish/vegetarian food on Friday during Lent, I inform the hotels as well as the convention center with the hope that they will remember to cut down on the meat and offer more fish/vegetarian food.

Please keep in mind that we are not the only people attending a conference. There are others being held at various properties in Anaheim that are attended by people of other denominations. Even our Congress is attended by many non-Catholics.

Your comment is appreciated and I will do my best to meet the needs of our delegates.

Thank You,
Adrian Whitaker, Congress Coordinator

Name: Sr Leila Spaulding
Date: December 14, 2001

Please, I logged on to register for the Feb 15-17, 2002 Religious Ed Congress at Anaheim, where is the registration form?


From our home page at you can just select the "Registration" button on the left or the registration link found at the bottom of most pages. You can also find registration options and information directly at

Name: Steve
Date: December 03, 2001

The 2001 Congress was my first experience in any kind of congress. And it was great. I look forward to REC2002. The only thing I did not like was the African Mass, the priest made very inappropriate comments. I am not white, but I felt discomfort during his "homily."

Name: Kathy Pavini
Date: October 17, 2001

You should be continually congratulated on your Congresses over the years!  And your work for those of us who are physically challenged has been so helpful!  If you need an extra flute in your Mass sections, give a holler!  20+ years!  God bless!

Name: Bertha Contreras
Date: September 27, 2001

I went to the Congress last year and I really enjoyed it, but I was very disappointed that the workshops in Spanish did not meet expectations. As a suggestion, you should look for better speakers in other countries such as Mexico that has very well educated people, one example is Cuauhtemoc Sanchez. I am looking forward to attend to the 2002 Congress. Thanks!

Name: vivian simon
Date: September 20, 2001

I don't see the God Squad listed as Congress speakers. They are one of the highlights of the Congress. Please tell me that they will be at Congress 2002!


Name: Cindy Sheehan
Date: August 01, 2001

I have a question: why don't you have more food (and cheaper food) available for Youth Day. We drive 450 miles and stay in a hotel, so it has not been convenient for us to bring sack lunches.

Name: S. Cornett-Ching
Date: July 26, 2001

Grayson Warren Brown recently did a parish mission at our church and I really enjoyed his talks and his music. Will he be presenting at the LA-RECongress in Feb 2002?

Name: Teresa Dempsey
Date: July 05, 2001

I am writing to let you know that I have enjoyed your Congress for the last 7 years and I hope to continue to come.

I am asking if you can please see if speakers like John O'Donahue, Liam Lawton can have tapes available. I enjoyed both of them but was disappointed that they did not have tapes.

Thank you

Name: K. Nelson
Date: June 20, 2001

Have you chosen any of the music performers for Congress 2002?


We have chosen the music performers but have not set them in stone. Hopefully all will be settled at our next Congress meeting on July 10.

Adrian Whitaker, Congress Coordinator

Name: Kevin Rush
Date: June 04, 2001

I attended Fr. Liam Lawton's presentation on the Celtic Soul and he sang a song he had just written called "There is Ever a Place." A friend of mine heard it and desperately wants it for her wedding, but it hasn't been published yet. Is there anyway I could contact Fr. Lawton directly and explain my friend's situation? All we need is the one piece of sheet music by December. Thanks.

Name: R. Phelps
Date: June 04, 2001

Our parish, St. Jude Thaddeus, in Sinajana, Guam, is planning to send two people to the Congress. Being so far away, questions like convenient hotel accommodations and ground transportation from LAX are important to us.

Reply (updated)

Hotel contracts have not yet been finalized. You can find maps, pricing and reservation forms through our Congress 2002 hotel information page

Date: April 23, 2001

When will on-line and/or hard copy registration be available for conference 2002? Don't want to miss out this year!

Elaine Morrow


Guidebooks for 2002 Religious Education Congress are schedule to be mailed beginning mid-October, 2001. Also, we send out periodic up-to-date information in our Congress E-Mailings -- sign up today!

Date: March 21, 2001

I've just read part of the "script" from a presentation at your Congress by Fr. Richard Sparks, entitled, "Catholic Sexual Morality: More Than 'Thou Shalt Not's." Most Catholic parents today live in the real world and are trying to raise children with a healthy attitude towards the beautiful (authoritative) Church teachings on sexuality. We don't want our kids to be overwhelmed by the "sexual diarrhea" of this culture. Unfortunately, Fr. Sparks appears to have a severe case of it. He's so obsessed with sexuality that it has affected his good judgment. I'm sorry that your congress chose to allow his presentation.


See comments for Congress 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002,  2001 2000 1999

Congress Year:
CONGRESS HOME PAGE  ABOUT CONGRESSReviews  •  Themes  •  Theme Reflections  •  Theme Songs  •  Sign Up  •  Congress Chats  •  Resources  •  Volunteers  •  For Exhibitors  •  Order Recordings  •  Download Recordings  •  Order Guidebook  •  Comments  •  Congress Milestones  •  History in Photos  •  Email Us  •  Contact Us 

CeJy ©1996-2015 Office of Religious Education,
a department of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles
Send bad links / information updates to RECongress

Espaρol   Franηais   Deutsch   Italiano