CORRECTION: FIESTA LATINA ON FEB. 25 AT THE LARGEST CATHOLIC GATHERING OF ITS KIND THAT RETURNS TO ALL IN-PERSON WORKSHOPS, A FIESTA LATINA AND A VIETNAMESE CELEBRATION
— The 67th edition of the Religious Education Congress will feature presentations by renowned Catholic leaders, including the youngest bishop in the US and first one of Dominican-descent, specialists who work with homeless people in LA and other parts of the country, and others who serve young people with disabilities—
The 67th annual Los Angeles Religious Education Congress (RE Congress 2023) this year is back totally in-person from February 23-26, 2023 at the Anaheim Convention Center, 800 W Katella Ave, Anaheim, CA 92802. The event begins with Youth Day (Thursday, February 23), when hundreds of high school aged young people will gather to celebrate their faith and hear powerful messages and participate in workshops and in a liturgy that will challenge them to “Strive for Life.” The weekend continues with the Adult Days, themed Embrace Grace!, which offer adult participants 120 workshop options in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese, presented by 110 speakers. Participants will also have access to the opening event, Liturgies, entertainment, Sacred Space, Art Exhibit, the 2023 Film Showcase, and the Exhibit Hall, with nearly 200 vendors.
“‘Embrace Grace,’ the theme of the 2023 Religious Education Congress, is an invitation to experience God’s unconditional acceptance, deep nourishment and transformative power in our hearts, our minds, and in our actions,” said Sister Rosalia Meza, senior director of the Archdiocese’s Office of Religious Education.
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, February 24 in the morning. RE Congress 2023 will include presentations from leading experts in the field of catechesis and evangelization, such as Adult Days Keynote Speaker, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of New York Joseph A. Espaillat II, the first Dominican-American and the youngest Catholic bishop in the United States, appointed by Pope Francis in January 2022, and still remains as the pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Church in the Bronx, NY, and Youth Day Keynote Speaker Maggie Craig, a gifted humorist and storyteller, who will provide tips on how to remain focused on the main source of joy and peace.
Also during Youth Day, Matt Harper, a community member of Los Angeles Catholic Worker, where he helps run a Skid Row soup kitchen and a house of hospitality, will share his experience serving homeless people during the workshop, “My reason to stay: Finding God in service to and relationship with the unhoused of Los Angeles.” Youth Day draws youth groups from parishes and Catholic and public high schools, many of whom participate in the event through graduation year and are inspired to return as workshop speakers or leaders.
Presenting a workshop in Spanish will be the Vatican Ambassador in the US (position known as Apostolic Nuncio) Archbishop Christophe Pierre.
Other speakers include Ana Barraza, a mental health First Aid and special education teacher, who heads the Ministry for Catholics with disAbilities, Karen Luna and Ellie Hidalgo will share about women’s role and gifts they bring to the Church, upon their experience leading the first phase of the synodal process in the Archdiocese of LA and in other states, and in the workshop, “Women’s leadership in the Catholic Church: Oxymoron? Token? Reality?” Dr. Carolyn Woo, former CEO and President of Catholic Relief Services, will talk about leadership in the Catholic Church.
Other workshop presenters include Congress regulars, Jesuit Fathers Greg Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries, and Father Allan Figueroa-Deck, a Loyola Marymount University specialist in pastoral theology and Latino studies, and Vatican specialist John Allen, with his workshops, “A decade of Pope Francis,” and “What’s hot and what’s not: A 360 degree review of the global Church.”
- Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023 – Convention Arena – 8 p.m. – Fiesta Latina: featuring an all-female mariachi band, and singers Anna Betancourt, former Spanish choir director at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Estella Garcia-Lopez and Donna Pena. The Fiesta is an “evening of sight, sound and spirit.”
- Vietnamese celebration at the Anaheim Convention Center’s plaza – A celebration led by Orange County’s Vietnamese community with Vietnamese drums and dancers dressed in their cultural celebratory attires.
- Art Exhibit – Arena Lobby – will feature unique paintings of the Virgin Mary as the timeless Madonna of Color, a colorful celebration from Brother Mickey McGrath’s latest book.
- Sacred Space – an exhibit of sacred art designed to illustrate the Eucharist in action. The space offers a silent time for contemplative walk through a Labyrinth and prayer opportunities.
- Liturgies – in different languages dedicated to and organized by different cultural communities in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and other dioceses of Southern California.
For more information, and to register to both Youth Day and Adult Days, visit https://recongress.org/register
Media interested in covering the event are provided credentials, which you can request here.
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.