Learning in Faith for All Ages
-- Embracing the theme "Clothed in Love, Summoned Beyond," more
than 20,000 religious educators will gather at the Anaheim Convention
Center February 16-18 for the 31st annual Los Angeles Religious Education
Congress. Additionally, approximately 10,000 high school students in
grades 9-12 will participate in Youth Day, which kicks off the four-day
event on February 15.
workshops, multicultural liturgies, prayer services, and entertainment,
the Congress seeks to spiritually revitalize, enrich and educate
participants who journey from all parts of the United States and Europe.
Congress is for all people involved in religious education," said
Ruth Bradley, Director of the Office Religious Education for the Diocese
of Orange. "From the beginning catechist to the accomplished
professional teacher, the Congress offers a setting for spiritual
uplifting, and an opportunity to hear top-notch speakers in the field of
Day will begin with morning music by the Irish pop-rock group Ceili Rain,
and the Ohio-based group Who Do You Say That I Am?, followed by comments
from Father Tony Ricard, the pastor and parochial administrator of two New
Orleans parishes-Our Lady Star of the Sea and St. Philip the Apostle.
Father Ricard will address the theme of the Congress. A total of 13
offerings each in the morning and afternoon workshops will
such topics as "The 411 on `R-U-Saved?"' with Msgr. Ray East, a
nationally known inspirational speaker, and "Scripture Rocks!,"
an interactive presentation on utilizing the Bible in our daily lives,
featuring Carole Goodwin, Director of Youth Ministry for the Archdiocese
of Louisville, Ky.
Roger Mahony will preside over the Youth Day liturgy, with music from
parish and school choirs from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles under the
direction of Ed Archer of St. Monica's Parish in Santa Monica. Two rallies
will close the day, highlighting the day's speakers and musicians.
only does Youth Day unite Catholic youth, but it is a great day of
evangelization and witness to our Catholic faith," said Nancy Hormuth,
Director for Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of Orange.
"It is a powerful day for our youth, who spiritually take away not
only many insights, but also a strong feeling of connectedness to their
remainder of the weekend will be designed for religious educators, who
will have the opportunity to participate in three 90-minute workshops
daily, with 27 sessions during each time period.
Rembert Weakland, O.S.B, Archbishop of Milwaukee, will give the keynote
address, titled "Leading Through Service," which will emphasize
ministry as a service that involves teaching and leading.
workshops and speakers will include:
Rev. Msgr. Thomas J. Hartman and Rabbi Marc A. Gellman -- regular Good
correspondents who are popularly known as the "God Squad" --
will speak about the spiritual dynamic of forgiveness and its impact on
our spiritual and physical well being.
"Dead Klan Walking-The Journey Continues": Portrayed by Academy
Award-winner Susan Sarandon in the film Dead Man Walking, Sister Helen
Prejean, C.S.J., will share her experiences inside prisons, most notably
with death row inmates. Her book Dead Man Walking has been translated into
10 languages and is currently being made into an opera.
"Abortion: Soul Wound of the World": Victoria Thorn, founder and
Executive Director of ~the Milwaukee-based National Office of
Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Healing, established Project Rachel in
the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Thorn has overseen the formation of similar
programs in 100 Catholic dioceses. She will discuss the impact of abortion
in the lives of Generation X.
`I Like Being Catholic": Michael Leach, a leader in Catholic book
publishing, and Therese Johnson Borchard, author of several books on
Catholic traditions, base this workshop on their book of the same name.
The speakers asked American Catholics from all walks of life to share
their stories and traditions.
addition to workshops, there are several opportunities to attend
multicultural and group-oriented liturgies throughout the three days,
including Byzantine, Hispanic, Jazz, Asian, Healing, Hispanic (Mariachi),
Nigerian/African-American, and Young Adult.
the entire operation of the Congress is Adrian Whitaker, Congress
Coordinator. From booking speakers (some up to two years in advance) to
organizing liturgies to finalizing workshops and overseeing between 500
and 600 volunteers and 160 vendors in 350 booths, Whitaker plans the
Congress a year in advance. To her, though, all of the organization is
well worth it when Congress comes to its fruition.
is a presence at [the] Congress that I don't think can be matched anywhere
else in the United States at any other conference, " she said.
"When I walk through the Congress area, I see people coming out of
workshops and sometimes you can tell that they have been emotionally
touched-they are holding each other, crying and sharing parts of their
lives as they open up.
I see the Congress, I say, `This is church.' " OCC
Copyright 2001 Orange County Catholic -- February 2001