LARGEST GATHERING OF CATHOLICS IN THE UNITED STATES WILL DRAW FAITHFUL FROM AROUND THE WORLD TO ANAHEIM FROM FEBRUARY 20-23
–Religious Education Congress will feature a talk between Bishop Oscar Solis of the Diocese of Salt Lake City and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of LA Alex Aclan with the Asian Pacific Islander communities, and a Sacred Space featuring art created by local artist Valerie MacRae, inspired by the gospel story of Matthew 5 and lived out among various parishes and communities—
Faithful from across the United States and other parts of the world will attend the 2020 Religious Education Congress (RECongress) – the nation’s largest annual gathering of Catholics – the weekend of February 20-23 at the Anaheim Convention Center, 800 Katella Ave, Anaheim, 92802. The weekend begins with Youth Day, February 20, which focuses on high school age youth who come to renew, experience and celebrate their Catholic faith on a day full of fun, interactive and educational workshops, plus a special Youth Mass celebrated by Archbishop José H. Gomez.
“This year, the theme of the Religious Education Congress, Adult Days, ‘Live Mercy –Be Holy,’ is a radical invitation to create a more compassionate and loving world,” said Sister Rosalia Meza, director of the Archdiocese’s Office of Religious Education. “This year’s theme will not only restore our own hope, but inspire, transform and challenge us to continue seeing the face of Christ in ourselves and in our faith communities.
“On Youth Day, themed ‘20/20 Through God’s Eyes,’ we encourage our young people to acknowledge their faith and hopefully encounter a more profound connection with Christ,” said Jenny Guzman, coordinator of Youth Ministry Events of the Archdiocese’s Office of Religious Education. “We welcome all teens from different schools and parishes to come this day and leave with an inspiration to influence others to spread their faith among their peers and communities.”
In its 64th year, with the theme “Live mercy, be holy” (Vive la misericordia y la santidad, in Spanish; Sống Nhân Từ – Hãy Nên Thánh in Vietnamese) the event will feature the following interactive discussions, Masses:
- Spanish-language keynote speaker Bishop Daniel Flores of the Diocese of Brownsville, TX, will talk about God’s love and mercy towards us and Jesus’ grace within us, which is destined to turn us in agents of his mercy in the world, during his workshop, “Ojos abiertos, corazones vivos, manos a la obra: La Misericordia, acción de Dios en el mundo” (Opened eyes, live hearts, hands at work: Mercy, God’s action in the world) on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 7:50 a.m. at Hall B. He will share how faith moves us to seek Jesus in others in correspondence to His compassionate love towards us.
- English-language keynote, Sister Teresa Maya. During the workshop, “Called to compassion: Witnesses of God’s mercy in the world,” Sister Maya will encourage the audience to exercise compassion as an everyday, one person at a time, concrete step toward another human being. “Witnessing to God’s mercy requires a life of holiness, of constant striving to make God’s promise real today,” reads a brief description of the workshop, to be held at the Arena on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 7:50 a.m.
- Sacred Space – will offer a reflective art exhibit by local artist Valerie MacRae, featuring individuals, parish communities and organizations that have “gone the extra mile” and in doing so have found the face of God in the lived realities of everyday people, calling each one of us to discover what is ours to do, to build God’s kingdom on earth through ministries to the incarcerated, the homeless, immigrants and refugees. In the quiet of this space, God’s invitation awaits to reveal each person his or her way to live mercy and be holy. The Sacred Space, in the Convention Center’s North Building Lower Level, includes a prayer Labyrinth, a Chapel, and live musical performances.
- Liturgies – 11 liturgies will offer a particular intention in the context of a unique culture and needs within the Church and the world, including a Mass dedicated to the Pan Asian communities, a Spanish-language Mass dedicated to justice and peace, and a Mass concelebrated by the U.S. Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre and Archbishop Gomez. Other liturgies include Celtic Mass, Contemplative Mass, Mass for the evangelization of all peoples, Mass of charity in the African American perspective, Mystery of the Holy Cross in the Vietnamese perspective (In Vietnamese), Mass for young adults (English, Spanish and Vietnamese) and Russian Greek Mass.
- Spanish-language Mass concelebrated by the U.S. Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre and Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles – at Hall B on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 5:15 p.m.
- Youth Day – on Thursday, Feb.20, the day of fun interactive workshops, music and prayer for high school students in grades 9-12 from public and private schools starts at 7:30 a.m. with a General Session led by youth in the Archdiocese of LA and music by Sarah Kroger. Keynote speaker Doug Tooke, who is known for his presence in the digital world, will challenge the young audience to trust God in all circumstances, during his presentation, “20/20 Through God’s eyes.” A Youth Mass will be presided by Archbishop Gomez, with music by an Archdiocesan Youth Choir under the direction of Ed Archer from Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Santa Clarita.
- Multicultural exhibit – is a collaborative effort presented by the Archdiocese’s Office of Ethnic Ministry, which provides an opportunity for the public to interact with representatives of the diverse ethnic community of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Every Sunday, Mass in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is prayed in about 40 languages representing these communities. The exhibit, spread throughout the Convention Center’s workshop floors, features cultural and religious objects from Native America, Central and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia.
- Our Lady of Guadalupe expert, Father Eduardo Chávez Sánchez, Canon Law Doctor – will share his experience documenting the “truth of Guadalupe” in his workshop in Spanish, “La verdad de Guadalupe.” As the Canon of the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City, and as the founder and general director of the Superior Institute for Guadalupano Studies, Fr. Chávez continues his studies and contribution to the phenomenon of the Virgin of Guadalupe. He has published 55 books and documents. https://drive.google.com/open?id=1z2gk6u9rbRh8Beag8MsAOff28HTkEvUHkxw9xkh2wDE
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For more information, visit http://www.recongress.org/2020/. All Masses celebrated during the four days, as well as keynote presentations and workshops in the Arena will be live streamed via RECongress.org/LIVE!
Participants hailing from all parts of the United States and nearly 22 countries in Latin America, Europe and Asia, include lay people desiring to enrich their faith life, directors of religious education, members of youth and young adult ministries, Catholic school teachers, Catholic school principals, campus ministers, chaplains, parish administrators, among others.
During the four days, more than 200 speakers will conduct more than 300 workshops in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. The event will feature over 500 booths in Hall A, representing more than 200 exhibitors, including the offices and ministries of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and the Dioceses of Orange, San Bernardino and San Diego.