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Posted by on Mar 16, 2011

Where Two or More Are Gathered … Los Angeles Religious Education Congress

Where Two or More Are Gathered … Los Angeles Religious Education Congress

Los Angeles Religious Education Congress 2011

Tonight and through the weekend, thousands of Catholics and members of other faiths will be converging on the Anaheim, California Convention Center for the largest annual gathering of Catholics in the United States. The Los Angeles Religious Education Congress begins with Youth Day on March 17. The theme for Youth Day is “Godbook: Everyone Invited.” Speakers address topics of interest to teens, including prayer, sharing faith, social justice, and interpersonal relations. Youth Day includes workshops, liturgies at three locations within the Convention Center and and concerts with artists including Jesse Manibusan and Pedro Rubalcava. Several of the workshops also feature music.

Congress for adults begins with Opening Prayer on March 18 and continues through a final liturgy on Sunday afternoon. This year’s theme is “Hold Firm … Trust.” Like Youth Day, the days are filled with opportunities for prayer and learning. Speakers from around the world come to Congress, many with  large groups of fans who look forward to hearing them each year. Workshops are offered in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. Opportunities abound for prayer, reconciliation, learning, sharing, enjoying contemporary music, and just generally enjoying the presence of the Lord in the community of the faithful.

Knowing that many people would like to be among the approximately 40,000 present at Congress but must instead attend to family and work responsibilities elsewhere, Congress planners have arranged for live internet streaming of events on Youth Day and during the rest of the weekend. Naturally, the majority of events will not be available live, but recordings of many presentations can be purchased through the Congress website.

I hope many of you will join in the fun and inspiration of Congress through the internet. I’ll be there too!


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Posted by on Mar 18, 2010

Where Two or More Are Gathered … Los Angeles Religious Education Congress

The Wonders of Cyberspace – Religious Education Congress On-Line

2010 Religious Education Congress

Religious education/faith formation is a critical part of the mission of the Church. Another term for it is evangelization. As faithful followers of Jesus, we are all called to share our faith and experience of God’s love with those around us. We begin with our families and reach out from there to our friends, fellow believers and society in general.

Beginning in 1962, the Diocese of Los Angeles has had regular formal gatherings to provide on-going education and support for catechists and others involved in ministry within the parish communities. By 1970, the location of the gathering, now called the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) Congress, was moved to the Anaheim Convention Center. “Congress” has taken place there annually since that time. The first youth rally ocurred  in 1971. “Youth Day” today draws approximately 20,000 teens from across the United States for a day of prayer, workshops, music and fellowship.

The name of the gathering changed in 1973 to its current “Religious Education Congress.” Most people just call it “Congress.” Congress is the largest gathering of Catholics in the United States, drawing participants from all over the country and visitors from around the world. It’s a three day extravaganza, with liturgies, workshops, musical programs, Reconciliation opportunities, prayer and meditation spaces and exhibitor booths where nationally recognized vendors present their resources for use in teaching, liturgy and personal growth. Entering the Exibition Hall is like going to the County Fair, but all exhibits are focused on resources for liturgy, faith development and personal spiritual growth. Workshop presentors, authors, musicians and artists are there as well, ready and waiting to meet all who come by their booths. I feel like the proverbial “kid in a candy store” when I’m there.

This year’s theme is “Incredible Abundance.” Liturgies and workshops are offered in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. Booths in the hallways will showcase the many ethnic groups and languages of Catholics in the archdiocese. A variety of styles and themes of liturgy will occur throughout the course of Congress. The concluding Mass will be multi-lingual, including English, Spanish and Vietnamese, with a interpreter signing for the hearing impaired. Cardinal Mahoney has preached in English, Spanish and English Sign Language in the past and I expect he’ll do so again this year.

Speaking of Cardinal Mahoney, he’s a great fan of the internet and will be on-line himself, answering questions in a chat room on Friday from 11:15 – 12:00 pm. You can submit a question in advance at: or check in personally through the Tech Center link on the Congress home page:

I’ve only been able to attend Congress twice, but for many years I’ve enjoyed listening to tapes and CDs of the presentations that my parish has purchased for our parish library. This year, I’m again unable to attend personally, but I’ll be able to listen in on the “doings” via my computer. Selected events from Congress will be streamed live at beginning Friday morning at 8:00 am PDT.

I’ll be there! Hope you will too!

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Posted by on Jul 31, 2009

Where Two or More Are Gathered … Los Angeles Religious Education Congress

Following in the Footsteps of St. Ignatius Loyola

Company - Summer 2009 Cover

Company - Summer 2009 Cover

On the feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, AKA “The Jesuits,” it seems fitting to look at one of the many ways the men (and women) who have come after him and his first group of followers have continued to serve God’s people – bringing the fruits of their experience of God’s presence in our world (a contemplative experience) into the messiness of everyday active life. This approach has been called “contemplation in action” and is a fundamental of Ignatian spirituality.

Ignatius and his friends, like many young men of his day, thought it would be a great idea to go to the Holy Land and convert all to Christianity. They had taken the standard vows of poverty, chastity and obedience that are common in religious orders. But they also took a vow to do whatever the Pope needed them to do. They suggested to the him that they go to the Holy Land on this mission and he turned down the offer. Instead, he asked them to preach and teach in Europe. It was a time of much upheaval in the Church. The Reformation/Protestant Revolution was in full swing. The Church was divided. Much of what we would call faith education was needed, along with basic education in reading, writing, mathematics and the other classical subjects. So the Jesuits got started in the education business and have continued their schools and universities to this day!

Then as now, people with money can afford excellent schooling for their children. People with fewer resources have fewer choices. Recently, members of various provinces of the Society in the United States have embarked on a program to provide high quality Catholic education for children of families whose income is under 75 percent of the median per-capita income of their city. These children would not ordinarily have the option of attending a private high school or even dreaming of attending college. Yet in 22 schools around the country, the dream is being realized.

The schools started in 1996 with Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago. The great challenge for any private school is how to fund the costs of providing the educational program. How can the faculty be paid? Where will classes be offered? How can the rent be paid? At Cristo Rey, a unique solution was proposed. Corporate sponsors would provide entry level pay for students that would cover about 70% of tuition. Four students would share each job – each working one day per week. The other days the student would attend classes. Class days would be a bit longer than normal and the students would have a longer school year, but they would get a full year of education that way. Families that could afford to pay some tuition would do so. Others would receive additional financial aid to make their education possible. Students would also receive intensive training in the basics of functioning in the corporate world during the summer before their first year in the school, so they could be successful in their work. The combination of academics and real-world work experience in meaningful jobs has proven to be a key to the success of the school. It has been so successful, in fact, that other schools have been opened in other cities.

In 2008-09 the Cristo Rey Network  included 22 schools. Another two are opening this fall. In cities across the country, young men and women who would not have had much of a chance even to finish high school, are not only graduating from high school, but most of them are going on to colleges and universities. From there they are going out into the corporate world and entering successful careers in business, science, education, etc. The Ignatian charism (vision) of education of all students, both rich and poor, continues to bear fruit in our day.

Cristo Rey’s story has been told in a new book, More than a Dream: How One School’s Vision is Changing the World. 

Cristo Rey and other schools in the network are also featured in the Summer 2009 issue of the Jesuit magazine, Company, the world of Jesuits and their friends. The Summer issue is not online as of this date, but it should be there within a few weeks.


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Posted by on Apr 29, 2009

Where Two or More Are Gathered … Los Angeles Religious Education Congress

Emmaus: Pre and Post Christian

The supper at Emmaus' (1958) by Ceri Richards (1903-1970)

The supper at Emmaus' (1958) by Ceri Richards (1903-1970)

My favorite story is the Disciples on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24: 13-35). Michael Traynor of the Lesscoolthanyou Channel captures the experience of the disciple before the Breaking of the Bread in a way that evokes a very current state of affairs.

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Posted by on Dec 9, 2008

Where Two or More Are Gathered … Los Angeles Religious Education Congress

A Report from the NCCYM by Jesse Manibusan

Kenda Creasy Dean, Ph.D.

Last week the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministries had their annual conference in Cleveland, Ohio. Theologika Trusted Authority Jesse Manibusan attended the conference and has sent us this quick report.

Hey Kathy -
Just got home late last night. [12/7/08] Happy to give you a report.

(NCCYM, National Conference for Catholic Youth Ministries.
Sponsored by the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministries)

Just returned from the NCCYM held in Cleveland, Ohio. Among the many
bright lights of hope and challenge was Kenda Creasy Dean, a United Methodist
pastor and professor of youth, church and culture at Princeton Theological
Seminary. Find a way to see and listen to her. Read her books!

Thanks for your report, Jesse.

Find Dr. Dean’s books tagged in our search engine.

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