January 26, 2021  |  By:   |  Press Releases  |  

— From the comfort of their home, Catholics across the U.S. and the world will be able to celebrate the 65th Anniversary of the Religious Education Congress and 50 years of Youth Day by joining the virtual event featuring presentations by a roster of renowned Catholic leaders, virtual musical concerts and art exhibits–

Faithful from across the U.S. and from other parts of the world will have the opportunity to virtually attend the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress 2021 (RECongress) from Feb. 18-21. Due to Covid-19 safety measures and restrictions on large-scale gatherings the largest Catholic event of its kind, which has previously drawn thousands, will offer presentations, liturgies, a dynamic virtual exhibit hall, and scheduled broadcasts, live workshops and on-demand content. The virtual event will include presentations from leaders such as Bishop Robert McElroy of the Diocese of San Diego, Jesuit priest Fr. Gregory Boyle, international Catholic speaker and award winning author Katie Prejean McGradySister Norma Pimentel named one of Time Magazine’s Most Influential People of 2020, and virtual liturgies and prayer services, concerts and art exhibits.

“This year, the theme of the Religious Education Congress ‘Proclaim the Promise!’ is an invitation to believe that our lives and our world are sustained by God’s promise. Now more than ever, we need hope and a vision for our future,” said Sister Rosalia Meza, senior director of the Archdiocese’s Office of Religious Education. “We invite the faithful to explore and live this call to Proclaim the Promise! Our world is in much need of a future filled with hope! What a wonderful and historic way to celebrate our 50th anniversary of Youth Day and our 65th year of Adult Days!”

The Religious Education Congress virtual event will feature the following virtual presentations and liturgies beginning on Friday, February 18, with a special welcome from Archbishop José H. Gomez. The virtual event starts on the first Friday of Lent inviting faithful to reflect and draw closer to God as the Lenten season commences. Registration is $35 per participant and is available on until February 21, with all content available on the online platform through March 21. 

·         Friday keynotes – 6-6:20 p.m. PST

English-language: Auxiliary Bishop Fernand J. Cheri of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, Louisianawill develop his message behind The TILL Ministry. How do we hold to God in the midst of present realities “TILL” Jesus comes again? Are we willing, working, waiting, “TILL” Jesus returns as promised? Are we beholden to God’s plan and purpose? Do we believe the Holy Spirit’s power will sustain us? Are among the questions he’ll be answering.

Spanish-language: Former president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Sister Teresa Maya will invite the faithful to reflect on the testimony of faith that current times urge us to show during her presentation, “Fidelidad frente a la incertidumbre: Creyentes que proclaman al Dios de la alianza,” (Fidelity in the face of uncertainty: Believers who proclaim the God of the covenant) After hearing Sister Maya, attendees might be able to answer the question, “How do we proclaim hope in the here and now?”

·         Saturday keynotes – 9-9:20 a.m. PST (9:20-9:30 a.m. PST – responders to keynote addresses)

English: Bishop Robert W. McElroy of the Diocese of San Diego will deliver the keynote, “What is truth?” Truth is the only sure foundation for hope, he states. And hope is the understanding that God stands with us at moments of our greatest suffering and loss and will always find a way to accompany us even in the darkness.

Spanish: In his keynote address, “Dichosa tú porque has creído (Lucas 1, 45)” (Blessed are you because you have believed – Luke 1, 45), Noel Díaz, founder of Catholic broadcaster El Sembrador Nueva Evangelizaciónwill invite the faithful to walk the way of the Virgin Mary, who leads us to see the glory of God if we believe and hold on to His promises, based on the Bible account when Elizabeth praises Mary’s faith when she tells her, “Blessed are you because you have believed.”

·         Sunday closing keynote – 9-9:30 a.m. PST

During her keynote, “Hope in the promise; Hope for the world!” Sister Carol Zinn, an expert on community health and transitionwill stress how current challenging times urge us to focus on the life of Jesus and to remain faithful speaking his Spirit’s transforming presence and power through our own lives.

·         Liturgies – the event will feature Misa del Campoa virtual Mass in Spanish dedicated to immigrant farmworkers, who risk their own lives to keep our families nourished, and the Filipino Celebration of 500 Years of Christianity in the Philippines. Four prayer services will be dedicated to African Americans, Indigenous and First Peoples, Vietnamese, and to children and grandchildren of immigrant parents.

·         The Youth track will include presentations by Fr. Joshua Johnson, vocations director for the Diocese of Baton Rouge, and pastor of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Louisiana, and Katie Prejean McGrady, author and one of the three delegates for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to the 2018 Pre-Synod Meeting on Young People, Faith, and Vocational Discernment in Rome.

During the on-demand Sacred Space, artists Angelica Sotiriou, France White, Linda McCray and Dennis Doyle will invite the public to enter their art and music studios, and there they will share how their relationship with God inspires their artwork and music. The virtual event will also include on-demand virtual music concerts with renowned Catholic singers and musicians will be held each night from Feb. 18-21, featuring the Saturday night concert, “Looking back and looking forward: A Celebration of 65 years of Adult Days and 50 years of Youth Day.”

The event will include a total of 34 workshops in English (including “Social media and the culture of contempt,” with Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron for the Santa Barbara Pastoral Region; “Surviving COVID-19: Spiritual Practices That Helped Me Heal in Mind, Body and Spirit” with artist and professor Anne Kertz Kernion; and “The place itself: Communities that cherish in our inner cities,” led by Jesuit Father Gregory Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries) 17 workshops in Spanish, including one delivered by Sister Norma Pimentel on her own experience accompanying refugee families in times during the pandemic, and four in Vietnamese. The on-demand virtual exhibit hall will be open 24/7.

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