2017 RECongress Period 5

Religious Education Congress
Saturday, February 25, 2017

1:00 - 2:30 pm



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5-01  Voices of Angels    Arena

Here in Los Angeles, the “City of Angels,” this session gives us an opportunity to reflect on the place of angels in our lives and how God communicates to us through them. Based on Holy Scripture, the Catechism of the Church and the writings of the saints and mystics, the role and presence of angels is explored through Word, music and prayer, inviting the participants to embrace and renew our relationships with this beautiful gift of God.

Liam Lawton

Liam Lawton is a priest of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, Ireland, where he serves as Director of Music. He has recorded 16 collections of music and has written two books. Fr. Lawton has recorded a number of TV specials including two on PBS. He has presented at conferences in Europe and across the United States, and is one of the most frequent L.A. Congress presenters.

Tony Alonso

Tony Alonso, a prominent voice in contemporary liturgical music, presents at workshops and conferences across North America and Europe. His latest release is “A House of Prayer” with GIA Publications. Alonso formerly served as Director of Music at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and at St. Nicholas Church in Evanston, Ill. He is currently a doctoral candidate at Emory University in Atlanta.

Jeanne Cotter

Based in St. Paul, Minn., Jeanne Cotter is a liturgical composer, author, speaker and founder of Mythic Rain. She is also Artist in Residence at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Naperville, Ill. Cotter has directed parish missions and retreats throughout the United States and has presented at diocesan events and at major national gatherings. Her latest works are “Tender Hearted” and “The Old Gravel Road.”

Chris de Silva

Chris de Silva is a composer, arranger and recording artist with GIA Publications and has appeared at national conferences and dio­cesan and parish retreats around the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. De Silva has served several parishes in the Los Angeles Archdiocese and is presently Associate Director of Music and Liturgy at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

Fr. Rob Galea

Fr. Rob Galea serves in the Diocese of Sandhurst, Victoria, Australia. Apart from his series of recordings and CD releases, the singer/songwriter has also written a number of songs for various international conferences. He is co-founder and Director of “Stronger,” a regional youth movement. Fr. Galea was selected to sing in the English version of the 2017 World Youth Day song, “Blessed Are The Merciful.”

5-02  The Francis Mission: Progress Report on a Populist Pope and His Historic Reform   

Crux’s John Allen will review the latest twists in the Pope Francis story, bringing into focus the overall strategy of this populist pope for a renewed and evangelically dynamic Catholicism. The session will examine reform moves by Francis on financial transparency, sexual abuse, the family, and ecumenism and inter-faith dialogue, suggesting what they mean not just for Rome but for the Church at all levels and in all places.

John L. Allen Jr.

John Allen is Editor of Crux, an independent Catholic news site in partnership with the Knights of Columbus, and Senior Vatican Analyst for CNN. He previously served as both Associate Editor for the Boston Globe and Senior Correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter. Author of 10 best-selling books on the Vatican and Catholic affairs, Allen is also a nationally and internationally known speaker on the Vatican and Catholic affairs. He divides his time between Rome and his home in Denver.

5-03  Rituals, Symbols & Prayer Services   

You are a catechist and you’ve been given the task of creating a prayer space and service. What do you do? Join us as we discuss the rituals and symbols of our Catholic faith and the ways in which they speak to our life experience. Time will be given for participants to learn how to write prayers and design prayer services and sacred spaces for their students.

Dr. Mary Amore

Dr. Mary Amore is Executive Director of Mayslake Ministries, based in in Lombard, Ill. The monthly blogger and magazine columnist is author of a book and creator of the DVD series, “Eucharist: Pathway of Transformation, Healing and Discipleship.” A Cardinal Bernardin Scholar and distinguished member of the North American Academy of Liturgy, Dr. Amore has been a presenter at the L.A. Congress, the University of Dallas Ministry Conference, the Diocese of New Hampshire Ministry Conference, as well as conducting parish missions, retreats and adult faith formation programs.

5-04  The Role of Liturgy in Youth Ministry   

Leisa Anslinger (bio 2-04)

The 2013 document, “For Ages Unending: The Ministry of Liturgy with Adolescents,” produced by the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, describes the ministry of prayer and worship as “an essential part of comprehensive youth ministry.” This workshop will invite those leaders involved in parish youth ministry to deepen their understanding of the Sunday Mass and its role in the entire life of the parish so they can (and lead the youth to) serve the Church and the world with the power found in the Word and the Eucharist.

5-05  Let Go … Trust: Music, Movement, Breath Work and Prayer   

Allow yourself to be in the moment, letting go of all that pulls you down. Step out of your comfort zone and experience release and joy while moving through a series of movement improvisations, dancing our prayers and renewing our spirits. (Please wear comfortable clothing that will allow you to move!)

Donna Anderle

Donna Anderle is an accomplished dancer, teacher and choreographer. The nationally known liturgical dancer is on the teaching faculty of the Cincinnati Ballet and Midwest Theatre ballet and is involved in Cincy Dance, an outreach program for Cincinnati inner-city schools. Anderle has choreographed for major conferences including the National Catholic Youth Conferences and the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry. Her work is compiled in four books of choreography and a video with Oregon Catholic Press. She continues to give workshops, keynote presentations and dance in concert.

5-06  Trusting in God: Helps, Hindrances and Traps   

Like Abraham, Moses, the prophets and the saints, every disciple has moments of distrust in God for diverse reasons. This workshop draws on the spiritual wisdom of the Catholic tradition, especially the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits and the spiritual guide of Pope Francis, to understand those moments of desolation and how to overcome them with God’s help.

Rev. Claudio M. Burgaleta, SJ, PhD

Fr. Claudio Burgaleta is Superior (Rector) of the Jesuits of New Jersey. The Cuban-born priest has taught at several Jesuit universities, including Fordham University in New York, St. Peter’s University in New Jersey and Loyola Marymount University in California. He is a frequent presenter on theological and spirituality topics at pastoral conferences in across the United States and abroad. Fr. Burgaleta has also served as a spiritual and retreat director, formator of lay ecclesial ministers, and as a weekend assistant for various Spanish-speaking parish communities.

5-07  Pregnancy Loss and Unresolved Grief   

This workshop will explore a trauma sensitive perspective on how women and men cope with pregnancy loss. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder as they relate to the loss of a child through abortion will be described as we explore how unresolved grief and repressed feelings can be acted out through self-destructive behavior, broken relationships, obsessions, eating disorders, parenting difficulties, faith struggles and other emotional problems. Indeed, every symptom tells a story! This workshop will give you insights to unravel the mystery, the drama and the repetition of trauma that frequently accompanies this hidden epidemic of forbidden grief.

Theresa M. Burke, PhD

Dr. Theresa Burke is founder and Executive Director of Rachel’s Vineyard, a post-abortion ministry model that, since 1993, has spread to 49 states and over 70 countries. She has lectured and trained professionals internationally on the subject of post-abortion trauma and healing and has developed “Grief to Grace: Reclaiming the Gift of Sexual Dignity,” a five-day program for healing sexual abuse. Dr. Burke serves as a Pastoral Associate of Priests for Life and presented as an expert for the 2011 Pontifical Academy of Life’s General Assembly.

5-08  Bullying Out – Formation In   

Frank A. DiLallo (bio 1-06)  - SESSION CANCELED

5-09  Catechesis for Children with Special Needs   

Sacred Scripture and church documents call us to form the faith of all the baptized, especially those with special needs. And although we echo this view, we wonder how do we invite? How do we welcome or we include them? Where do we start? What are the most effective strategies out there? How do we know if we are ready to work with children with disabilities? In this session, we will discuss the vision of the Church in the United States for catechesis with people with special needs and the effective implementation of that vision. We will share valuable resources to help start and build a more creative catechesis.

Peter Joseph Ductram

Peter Ductram is Director of Catechesis for the Miami Archdiocese. Born in Lima, Peru, he has served in ministry in Peru, Chile, Brazil and the United States. He served in the Chicago Archdiocese for 12 years as Coordinator of Hispanic Ministry, Director of Religious Education, and Coordinator of Evangelization. Ductram currently serves as Co-Chair of the ENAVE National Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Cultural Diversity and as a member of the writing team of the National Initiative for Adolescent Catechesis.

5-10  “But YOU Said … !”   

Relationship. Young children need to know they can depend on the adults entrusted with their care. At this stage in their development, it can be challenging for them to communicate their needs and, more importantly, their feelings. Effective communication skills are essential in building that trust and require us to be fully present. Join the Early Childhood Advisory Board as we offer practical ways and creative ideas that build trusting relationships between young children and the catechists, teachers, parents and caregivers who have been blessed and called by God to provide this care.

Early Childhood Advisory Board

Continuing the vision that has spanned over 40 years, the Los Angeles Early Childhood Advisory Board, a group of talented catechist educators and professionals, strives to serve the needs of the parish and school communities of the Los Angeles Archdiocese. The board members offer hands-on, engaging and creative training for adults working with young children. These workshops are crucial to the proper development and implementation of age-appropriate programs for children ages 3, 4 and 5.

5-11  Rebalancing the Power: Finding Common Ground Between Lay Minsters and Clergy   

Whether a volunteer or employed ecclesial minister, whether a visiting clergy or pastor, often clergy and laity have differing views about how the parish should operate, events should unfold or liturgies should be enacted. Sometime those differences devolve into personal confrontations or unseemly machinations. But there are other ways. Frank dialogue will explore the potential for creating common ground despite the power differential, educational disparities and differences in social location that often exist between laity and clergy.

Edward Foley, OFM Cap

Capuchin priest Fr. Edward Foley is the Duns Scotus Professor of Spirituality, and Professor of Liturgy and Music at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, where he was founding Director of the Ecumenical Doctor of Ministry Program. He is past President of the North American Academy of Liturgy. The award-winning author has written over 300 book chapters, articles and reviews, and has 23 books in print, most recently, “Theological Reflection Across Faith Traditions.”

John Angotti

Based in Memphis, Tenn., John Angotti is a fulltime music missionary providing concerts, workshops, retreats and worship. He is a frequent presenter at parish missions as well as regional and diocesan conferences across the United States and abroad. Angotti is an accomplished composer, with numerous publications under the World Library Publications label. His latest work is the John Angotti Music Mission (JAMM) original musical, “Job: The NOW Testament.”

5-12  A Sower Went Out to Sow: A Spirituality for Young Adults in Ministry   

Tom East (bio 3-09)

Ministry leaders and catechists draw upon wells that are full and help others grow in faith and friendship with Christ. This workshop will provide a “mini-retreat” for young adults who are catechists and ministry leaders. We will look at the Scripture of the Sower and the Seed in new ways that remind us of our call to be close to the Sower, to become the Seed of Good News and to take time to nourish the Soil of our personal prayer and spirituality.

5-13  Teachers, Transformation and Technology: How Can Teachers Help Their Students Change the World?   

Dan Friedt (bio 1-10)

What does it take to be an effective teacher in today’s Catholic school classroom and parish? How can your pedagogy and the tools of technology support effective learning for every child in your school and parish community? In this interactive presentation, Dan Friedt will encourage you to examine your teaching practice. Are you a connected educator? Are you teaching students who want to make a difference? With powerful “in the trenches” stories, Friedt will teach simple, effective peda­gogical shifts to transform your teaching practice and infuse technologies to stretch your teaching and make a difference in the learning of every student.

5-14  Missionary Discipleship as Authentic Christianity   

Anthony J. Gittins, CSSp (bio 2-15)

Pope Francis is echoing Jesus when he insists that true discipleship is outgoing, always seeking to encounter, never to coerce, and deliberately moving from our comfortable center to the edge, the boundary, the margin, where many of our sisters and brothers are to be found. “Missionary discipleship” is bold, risky and necessary today.

5-15  In the Midst of the Storm: Grace!

Whatever form it may take, the storms of life test all people. Life-altering illness, sudden financial instability, the death of a loved one or a 1,000-year rain storm: all bring a level of unnerving vulnerability that forces us to face the fragile nature of our existence. Yet, living through such events, as opposed to simply surviving, is dependent on an unseen factor that Christian’s refer to as “grace.” This session will offer an overview of the Church’s theology of grace, including an analysis of the pastoral and catechetical implications of the Church’s teachings. This session is recommended for all those engaged in catechetical and pastoral ministries.

Dr. Greer G. Gordon

Dr. Greer Gordon is a Roman Catholic theologian, author and lecturer. She served in administration at the University of Massachusetts and at Regis College in Weston, Mass., and was a diocesan director in Washington D.C., Oakland, Boston and Baton Rouge, La. Dr. Gordon was one of eight American women invited by the Vatican to respond to John Paul II’s encyclical on women. The first woman to deliver a Baccalaureate Address for Boston University, Greer is a frequent speaker at RECongress. She is currently a theological consultant for a social service collective in South Louisiana.

5-16  Living the Fruit of the Spirit (When We’re All Nuts)   

In the Book of Galatians, Paul gives us a beautiful – if not lofty – litany of what the yield will be when we live a “life in the spirit.” Love, joy, peace, patience … all at the same time? Easier said than done! In this workshop, join Sarah Hart and come delve more deeply into these words of Paul, illustrated by the life of Jesus, with singing, praying and storytelling. Be prepared for laughter, tears, sharing and general joyful frivolity.

Sarah Hart

Sarah Hart of Nashville, Tenn., has been a singer, songwriter, retreat author and keynote speaker for more than 20 years. She has performed at countless conventions and events, and for Pope Francis at St. Peter’s in 2013. The Grammy-nominated songwriter has songs recorded by numerous artists and has appeared in TV, film and commercials. Hart’s writing is visible in hymnals across the globe. She has authored four retreats for parish missions, women’s retreats and adult catechesis, which she presents nationally.

5-17  Franciscan Spirituality of Creation   

In the age of Laudato Sí, we are mindful of the need for an integral ecology that joins together our faith with a proper relationship to the rest of creation. Drawing on the wisdom of St. Francis of Assisi and those who follow him, this workshop focuses on the contributions that the Franciscan spiritual tradition offers to contemporary women and men for better incorporating the teachings of Laudato Sí in both faith and action. This session provides insights that are helpful in the parish, school and other ministries concerned with engaging the Church’s teachings on creation with the modern world and natural sciences, recalling our place within the broader family of God’s creation.

Rev. Daniel P. Horan, OFM

Franciscan friar Fr. Daniel Horan, a theologian and columnist at America magazine, has lectured across North America and Europe. He teaches theology and spirituality at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago; he previously taught at Boston College as well as at Siena College and St. Bonaventure University, both in New York. Fr. Horan is author of numerous academic and popular articles. His recent books include “God is Not Fair and Other Reasons for Gratitude,” “The Franciscan Heart of Thomas Merton” and “The Last Words of Jesus.”

5-18  If You’re Green, You Grow!   

“To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often,” wrote theologian John Henry Newman. Based on biblical, Indigenous and 12-Step spirituality, Marriage Encounter, contemporary authors and 40 years of pastoral ministry and spiritual direction, this presentation will explore the many dimensions of personal growth and human development such as self-awareness, emotional intelligence, achieving intimacy, effective communication, forgiveness, grieving and healing life’s hurts, all aimed at living life more fully and freely. Expect a session that is informative, formative and transformative.

Archbishop Sylvain Lavoie, OMI

Archbishop Sylvain Lavoie is a missionary Oblate who has spent over 30 years ministering among the aboriginal peoples of north and central Saskatchewan, Canada. In 2006, he became Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Keewatin-Le Pas. Now as Archbishop Emeritus, he has a new role as a chaplain and spiritual director at the North Retreat Center in St. Albert, Alberta, Canada; his ministry includes lectures, workshops and retreats. He is author of “Walk A New Path.”

5-19  The Storm Before the Calm: Learning to Embrace Trust Using Lectio & Visio Divina   

This workshop is designed to give an introduction to beginners on how to use lectio divina (sacred reading) and visio divina (sacred seeing) in both communal and individual prayer. We will follow the process of listening, meditating, seeing, praying and contemplating God’s call to trust using Sacred Scripture and images. Lectio and visio divina provide a wonderful faith-sharing experience for small groups in parishes and schools. Once the process is explained, Dr. Josephine Lombardi will facilitate/demonstrate a lectio and visio divina reflection based on the theme of trust.

Josephine Lombardi, PhD

Dr. Josephine Lombardi is an author, retreat leader and workshop presenter who has worked in a variety of ministries. She is currently Associate Professor of Pastoral and Systematic Theology, Professor of Field Education, and Director of Lay Formation at St. Augustine’s Seminary in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada. Dr. Lombardi has worked in television and radio and has hosted a weekly radio show on the New Evangelization. Her book, “Experts in Humanity,” has been well received and featured on Salt and Light Television.

5-20  “BEING” a Catechist vs. “WORKING” as a Catechist   

Patricia M. McCormack, IHM, EdD (bio 3-18)

John Paul II wrote, “People today put more trust in witnesses than in teachers, in experience than in teaching, and in life and action than in theories” (Redemptoris Missio, 42). Enrich your personal commitment to Jesus and affirm your calling as catechist by reflection on the threefold vocational call of catechists: 1) to witness to personal faith; 2) to mentor by sharing life experience of continual personal conversion; and 3) to teach matters of faith and morals.

5-21  Unleash the Spiritual Gifts of Your Parish   

Peggy O’Flaherty (bio 3-20)

Scripture tells us there are many gifts, but the one same Spirit. Come explore meaningful and effective ways to unleash the spiritual gifts of your parishioners in your quest to grow discipleship and shape your parish ministries. You’ll learn from real life parish experiences where intentionality and the power of the Spirit has been used to discover, cultivate and share the gifts of members of the community. You’ll also learn how those gifts are used serve others in transforming ways.

5-22  The Dustbowl Bible: Reading the Old Testament Exile in California   

What does it mean to read the Old Testament in California? Does this place change things? In this experiment, Dr. Daniel Smith-Christopher suggests that it does! By thinking about the famous Dustbowl Migration to California in the 1930s, and making comparisons to the Exile period of the Old Testament, strange and yet interesting comparisons come up. Sometimes these kinds of comparisons raise interesting questions. A special welcome to attendees from Central California – Bakersfield to Salinas – since we will refer to your histories and locations in this session. Come find out what Merle Haggard and Woody Guthrie have to do with the Psalms, for example!

Prof. Daniel L. Smith-Christopher

Dr. Daniel Smith-Christopher has taught for 27 years at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where he is Professor of Old Testament Studies and Associate Graduate Director of Theology, and Director of Peace Studies. He has been honored with numerous awards for research and has published over 40 scholarly articles and 14 books. In addition to his primary focus on Old Testament, Dr. Christopher also maintains particular interest in theological issues related to African-American and Native-American history and experience.

5-23  The Culture of Life & Social Justice   

Robert J. Spitzer, SJ, PhD (bio 3-23)

Perhaps more than any other world institution, the Catholic Church has been responsible for developing the institutions and principles leading to social justice and a culture of life. Fr. Robert Spitzer will discuss not only the remarkable impact of the Church’s three great institutions – public education, public health and public welfare – that led to our Declaration of Independence and the U.N. Charter on Human Rights, including the principles of universal inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (Francisco Suarez, SJ), the equality of persons (Bartolomé de las Casas, OP), and the dictum that an unjust law is no law at all (St. Augustine).

5-24  The New Evangelization and the Extra­ordinary Mission of Our Times

Dr. Edward Sri (bio 3-24)

Though there is much talk about the New Evangelization, most Catholics don’t understand what it really means. And even fewer knew how it affects their daily lives. In this session, Dr. Edward Sri will offer a clear explanation of what exactly the New Evangelization is and how it should shape every Catholic’s life – at home, at work, at the parish and in the world. Learn from Popes John Paul II, Benedict and Francis how to make the New Evangelization not just a Catholic “buzzword” but a reality that transforms your parish, your family and your own personal life.

5-25  Transformative Adult Faith Formation: The Discipleship Check In   

Within the process of conversion and ongoing conversion, identifiable stages of faith are evident as people grow in faith. In light of these stages of conversion, ministry should adapt and flex to accommodate those in the beginning stage of their discipleship journey to becoming a missionary disciple. Understanding this process and how to identify and accompany people on their discipleship journey will be the focus of this session, including sharing practical and concrete frameworks that you can incorporate into your ministry.

Julianne Stanz

Julianne Stanz is Director of New Evangelization for the Diocese of Green Bay, Wis., and a consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Catechesis and Evangelization. The nationally known speaker, retreat leader and storyteller is co-author with Joe Paprocki of “The Catechist’s Backpack: Spiritual Essentials for the Journey.” Stanz presents workshops and retreats in addition to numerous diocesan and national gatherings.

5-26  Five Concrete Ways to Reach Millennials and Their Children   

Millennials are defined as 18 years of age through 35. Their children – called “click babies” – are growing up in a completely new digital, virtual world. Many forces in our culture are competing for their attention, their energy and their talents. The church, as statistics tells us, is not a place where they are engaging their time and energy. They are being referred to as the “nones” because when asked about religious affiliation they write down none! This workshop will focus on how we got to this point with millennials and, more importantly, will offer some strategies to better work with them. Concrete hands-on ideas will be discussed and shared.

Victor Valenzuela

Victor Valenzuela is an independent catechetical consultant based in Northern California. He has been in ministry for 30 years including classroom teaching, youth ministry, teacher training and writing and development of new materials. Valenzuela has presented workshops to numerous groups both regionally and nationally. Born in Arizona to parents of Mexican descent, he is fully bilingual and bicultural. He is currently enrolled in a doctoral program at Barry University in Miami.

5-70 Vietnamese Workshop: Lead Like Jesus, the Servant Leader   

Jesus said, “I did not come to be served but to serve” (Mk 10:45). As members of the Church, we are called to live out our Christian life of service. Through service, we can lead people to God and empower them to lead others to creating an environment of harmony, trust and love. This workshop will provide leadership skills of a servant leader like Jesus who is the Perfect Leader of all time.

Sr. Vuong Minh Do, FMA

Sr. Vuong Do is a Daughter of Mary Help of Christians (Salesian Sister). In 1979, she and her family fled communist Vietnam to find freedom. Moving to America, she has worked with Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth in Orange County for several decades and over 10 years in pastoral ministry at St. Bonaventure and Holy Spirit Churches before joining the Salesian Sisters. Sr. Do is currently Chief Executive Officer at Mary Help of Christians School and Superior of her community in Laredo, Texas.


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