March 6, 2018  |  By:   |  Press Releases  |  

The 2018 Religious Education Congress will feature a Mass celebrated by El Salvador’s Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chávez and Mass for the Immigrant Community celebrated by Bishop Gerald Kicanas from Tucson

More than 40,000 faithful from across the United States and other parts of the world will attend the 2018 Religious Education Congress (RECongress) – the nation’s largest annual gathering of Catholics – the weekend of March 16-18 at the Anaheim Convention Center, 800 Katella Ave, Anaheim, 92802.

“In the midst of darkness and fear, Jesus calls us to Rise Up! out of our tombs and into new life,” said Father Christopher Bazyouros, director of the Archdiocese’s Office of Religious Education, spearheading the event. “Join us at the LA Religious Education Congress to encounter Jesus and grow in faith.”

With the theme “Rise Up!” (¡Levántate! in Spanish), the event will feature the following interactive discussions, Masses, and workshops:

• A Mass in Spanish will be celebrated by Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chávez of El Salvador, and concelebrated by Archbishop José H. Gomez on Friday, March 16 at 5:15 p.m. the Mass will be dedicated to immigrants and to the memory of Blessed Msgr. Oscar Romero, Archbishop of El Salvador, who was killed on March 24, 1980 during the civil war in the Central American country. Cardinal Rosa Chavez will be the speaker at two workshops in Spanish about social justice, forgiveness, and peace.

• Cardinal Luis Tagle of the Philippines will celebrate a Mass in the Arena on Friday, March 16 at 5:15 p.m. dedicated to the care of the Earth in the perspective of the Filipino Culture.

• Front Row with Archbishop José H. Gomez. Archbishop will host an interactive discussion with Congress participants about modern missionary discipleship on Saturday, March 17 at 10:30 a.m. at the Performance Stage in Hall A, and online via Facebook Live. The event will be moderated by Julianne Stanz, director of New Evangelization for the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin, and a consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Catechesis and Evangelization.

• “Misa del pueblo inmigrante,” (Mass of the immigrant people) will be celebrated by Bishop Gerald Kicanas of the Diocese of Tucson, Arizona on Saturday, March 17 at 5:15 p.m. Various groups will process up during the beginning of the Mass, including DACA and TPS recipients.

• A death penalty and immigration rally organized by Catholics Against Death Penalty-Southern California, led by Father Chris Ponnet, leader of Pax Christi and St. Camillus Center in Los Angeles. Will be held on Saturday, March 17 starting at 11:45 p.m. on the East sidewalk of the Anaheim Convention Center. The rally has been held for two decades to advocate for the death penalty.

• Resilience! – A meditative walk with stories of resilience illustrated in art, written in scripture, read in poetry and spoken in the sharing of personal stories. Using the Gospel story of the rising of Lazarus, the Sacred Space in the Convention Center’s third floor (Room 304) will offer a prayer experience featuring abstract painting by artist Angelica Sotiriou; and design of sacred space by artist Valerie MacRae. It will include a multimedia art exhibition: As people walk through the sacred art exhibit, they will be invited to listen on their phones to stories of people who have risen above their suffering, including the disabled, domestic violence survivors, Dolores Mission Church mothers’ whose work and commitment led to the founding of Homeboy Industries, recovered alcoholics, the homeless, and a Dreamer facing deportation. The Sacred Space includes a prayer Labyrinth, a Chapel and live musical performances.

During the four days, nearly 185 speakers will conduct more than 330 workshops in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. The event will feature 524 booths in Hall A, representing more than 240 exhibitors, including the offices and ministries of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and the Dioceses of Orange, San Bernardino and San Diego.

More than 40,000 participants hailing from all parts of the United States and nearly 22 countries in Latin America, Europe and Asia, include Catholic school teachers, Catholic school principals, campus ministers, chaplains, directors of religious education, parish administrators, members of youth and young adult ministries, among others.

For more information, visit All Masses celebrated during the four days, as well as keynote speeches and workshops in the Arena will be live streamed via!

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