POPE FRANCIS TO SEND MESSAGE TO PARTICIPANTS OF THE LARGEST CATHOLIC GATHERING THAT THIS YEAR WILL BE HELD BOTH IN-PERSON AND VIRTUALLY
— The 66th edition of the Religious Education Congress will feature presentations by renowned Catholic leaders on evangelization, social justice and theology, an art exhibit honoring late sacred and social justice artist John A. Swanson, and a photo collage of pandemic “hidden heroes” at the Sacred Space—
Pope Francis will be present through a video message at the 66th annual Los Angeles Religious Education Congress (RECongress 2022) that this year will be held both in-person and virtually from March 17-20, at the Anaheim Convention Center, 800 W Katella Ave, Anaheim, CA 92802. The event begins with Youth Day (March 17), when high school aged young people will hear powerful keynotes and participate in workshops and in a liturgy that challenges them to Let God Take the Wheel of their lives. The weekend continues with the Adult Days, themed Living Waters of Hope, which offer adult participants nearly 100 workshop options in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese. Participants will also have access to the opening event, Liturgies, entertainment, Sacred Space, Art Exhibit, the 2022 Film Showcase, and the Exhibit Hall.
“We are very happy that we are able to offer you a beautiful and enriching program, either attending the in-person or virtual event, where our faith and hope will be renewed,” said Sister Rosalia Meza, senior director of the Archdiocese’s Office of Religious Education. “The invitation is to quench our thirst with ‘Living Waters of Hope’ and let God’s grace to do its work!”
A special welcome will be delivered in-person by Archbishop José H. Gomez during the opening ceremony at the Arena of the Anaheim Convention Center on Friday, March 18 in the morning. RECongress 2022 will include presentations from leading experts in the field of catechesis and evangelization, such as Auxiliary Bishops of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Robert Barron and Alex Aclan, immigrant ministers Bishop Mark Seitz of the Diocese of El Paso and Sister Norma Pimentel —named Time Magazine’s Most Influential People of 2020–, Jesuit Father Greg Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries, Becky Eldredge, a lay minister presenting in the Arena, and Loyola Marymount University’s Father Allan Figueroa-Deck, expert in pastoral theology and Latino studies.
Registration for in-person participation is $35 for Youth Day (available until March 13) and $75 for the Adult Days, available until March 16. People can register for the virtual event and receive content for both Youth Day and Adult Days, including 35 on demand workshops, livestreamed events, entertainment, Sacred Space, and opportunities for networking. Cost is $35 and registration is open until March 31. Access to virtual content will be available until
· Thursday, March 17- Youth Day Keynote – During his keynote, “Let God take the wheel,” Dr. Ansel Augustine will share with teenagers how to let God take control of their lives. Dr. Augustine has worked for more than 20 years in his hometown of New Orleans and around the country in the fields of youth, young adult and black Catholic ministry. He is currently the director of Vagabond Missions in New Orleans, which provides Catholic youth ministry to urban and inner-city communities.
· Friday, March 18 workshops –English: The workshop “What we have done and failed to do: Catholic responses to systematic racism,” led by Franciscan Father Daniel Horan, director of the Center for Spirituality of Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN, will highlight how Catholics can learn, reflect and respond to racism in our society and Church, based on Catholic church teaching.
Spanish: Katherine Angulo Valenzuela, director of programs of Thriving in Ministry Initiatives at the University of Notre Dame’s McGrath Institute, will share how to rely on God to find hope in all aspects of our lives during the workshop, “Cómo llevar las aguas vivas de esperanza a todos los aspectos de nuestra vida” (How to bring the living waters of hope to all aspects of our lives).
· Saturday, March 19 – Keynote in English – In his keynote, “Harboring hope before high hurdles,” Franciscan Father Albert Haase, will explore the stories of six people, three of whom were messengers of hope and the other three harbored hope because of envoys they encountered. According to Fr. Haase, “Hope is a gift and grace that is given to us, we cannot instill it in ourselves. We can, however, be couriers and envoys of hope for others.”
· Saturday – Keynote in Spanish – Sister Norma Pimentel, named one of Time Magazine’s Most Influential People of 2020, who is a member of the Sisters Missionaries of Jesus and has served as Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley for more than 12 years working with migrant families and children, and Bishop Mark Seitz of the Diocese of El Paso, TX, will share their experience of finding Jesus and new sources of hope for the Church and the world in their ministry with migrant families and children during their presentation, “Encontrando aguas vivas en la frontera: una espiritualidad de acompañamiento,” (Finding living waters at the border: A spirituality of accompaniment).
· Sunday, March 20 – English: Bishop Mark Seitz of the Diocese of El Paso, will share his experience of encountering Jesus and new sources of living hope for the Church and our world, in his ministry with people on the move at the U.S.-Mexico border, during his presentation, “Finding living waters on the border: A spirituality of accompaniment.”
Spanish: During his workshop, “Cómo manejar el enojo y liberarnos del resentimiento,” (How to handle anger and free ourselves from resentment) Author and Psychologist Dr. John Yzaguirre, director of the Prosocial Institute of California, will share tools to learn to set oneself free from anger and resentment.
· Liturgies – Four of the eight liturgies celebrated throughout the 3-Adult Day event will highlight the life and work of St. Joseph, featuring and honoring religious communities and ministries that have based their work on the example of the patron of workers and fathers. The religious communities honored include, The Josephites, whose work is focused on the African American community, and the Sisters of St. Joseph, celebrating 100 years serving and accompanying disenfranchised communities. A Mass will be dedicated to fathers and workers, and another will be dedicated to St. Joseph from the Vietnamese perspective.
RECongress 2022 will include nearly 100 workshops in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese, more than 150 exhibitors at the Exhibit Hall, which will open on Friday, March 18.
All in-person participants will be required to be fully vaccinated and show proof of vaccination along with photo identification. Masks covering both mouth and nose will be required to be worn while indoors. For more information, visit recongress.org/2022, facebook.com/RECongress, twitter.com/LACongress, and youtube.com/RECongress.
Under the spiritual leadership of Archbishop José H. Gomez, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is the largest in the United States, serving the counties of Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara, covering approximately 9,000 square miles in 120 cities. The nearly 5 million Catholics in the Archdiocese come from some 70 countries and from every continent. Weekly Masses are celebrated in 42 languages throughout 288 parishes, and more than 73,000 students attend an Archdiocesan Catholic elementary or high school. For the latest news, events and to subscribe for media alerts, visit media.la-archdiocese.org.