2019 RECongress Period 8

Religious Education Congress
Sunday, March 24, 2019

1:00 - 2:30 pm



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8-01  Thirsting for Justice: Teaching Virtues as Tools for Change      Arena

Pope Francis is drawing the attention of the Church to the great virtues. Among others, to be grateful, to be glad, to be merciful is not only satisfying but is also a means to effect change in those around us. In this session, David Wells uses Scripture, stories and illustrations to rediscover the great virtues and how we might best teach them in our parishes and schools. Without these virtues, the Church teaches that the world won’t believe us. Let us explore how our virtue can speak for us and ultimately help us to bring about a more just society.

David Wells

David Wells began his career as a teacher, before becoming a research assistant for the Bishops’ Conference in England and Wales, and now serves as Religious Education Consultant and Advisor to the Diocese of Salford, England. His work as a consultant involves assisting dioceses, parishes and schools to rethink their approach to missionary discipleship. Wells has also contributed numerous articles for magazines and compilations. He is author of two books, “The Reluctant Disciple” and “The Grateful Disciple,” and the recently produced a DVD series, “Beloved Disciples.”

8-02  Is Your Parish Ready to Grow Young?  

What do parishes that intentionally engage their young people have in common? What can we learn from their experiences? Explore six core commitments you and your parish can make to engage your young people, positively evangelizing them – and transforming your parish in the process. Learn to help your parish “grow young.”

Leisa Anslinger

Leisa Anslinger is a frequent presenter at parish leadership days as well as diocesan and national conferences. She is Associate Department Director for Pastoral Life in the Cincinnati Archdiocese, and Director of Catholic Life and Faith, a center for pastoral leadership development. A former adjunct faculty member at the Athenaeum of Ohio, Anslinger is a contributing author to The Living Word publication and has written several books, her latest includes “A Vision for Conversion” and “30 Days on Stewardship, What Can I Do?”

8-03  Justice to and from the Peripheries  

In this workshop, we will look at how to evangelize those on the margins. We will also look at how and why Christ calls us, as church, to transform – and be transformed – by ministry with those on the margins.

Dr. Ansel Augustine

Based in his hometown of New Orleans, Dr. Ansel Augustine has worked for over 18 years around the country. He is currently Residence Minister for Student Leadership and Faith Formation at St. John’s University and is on the faculty of the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana. Dr. Augustine serves on the Board for the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry. He has presented at various national conferences and has written for numerous publications related to ministry.

8-04  The Care and Feeding of Catechists: 7 Simple Strategies to Honor, Inspire and Motivate Your Catechists!  

The General Directory states that nothing is as important as the person who is a catechist. Even Pope Francis supports the vocation of catechists when he says, “More than ever we need you and your catechetical ministry, so that with your creative gestures, you may, as David did, bring music and joy on your journey with God’s tired people.” Join us as we share strategies to affirm the courageous call to this vocation and inspire catechists on their formative journey.

Nancy Bird

Nancy Bird has been involved in religious education as a catechist, parish catechetical leader and youth minister. She has been a featured speaker, workshop presenter and retreat facilitator across the United States and Canada, with appearances at the National Catholic Educational Association and the RECongress, among others. Presently, she serves as Director of Training and Professional Development for RCL Benziger Religion Publishing Company, resides in Tallmadge, Ohio, and continues to be a volunteer catechist.

8-05  Wine and Dine with Jesus: The Greatest Invitation of Your Life  

Jesus is the ultimate host and invites us to the table desiring to wait on us. Jesus modeled for us hospitality of the heart. We cannot sit at the table to relax and enjoy each other without recognizing how we are all part of the entire human family. How do we wait on each other? We are called by Jesus to widen the space of our hearts. Hospitality of the heart expands our horizons beyond our present biases and prejudices. How do we thirst for our hearts to be expanded into the heart of Christ where each person is welcome?

Sr. Kathleen Bryant, RSC

Sr. Kathy Bryant, a Religious Sister of Charity, is a former teacher and missionary who now ministers as a retreat facilitator, spiritual director and workshop presenter. She has authored numerous articles and books and has presented workshops in Australia, Ireland and Africa as well as throughout the United States. Sr. Bryant’s special interests are in spirituality, formation, women’s spiritual development and the abolition of human trafficking.

8-06  Sing for Justice: Songs Proclaiming God’s Love and Mercy  

We are disciples called to manifest God’s Kingdom of justice, peace and mercy. Yet, the world our children see and experience is often the complete opposite. In this workshop, internationally renowned composer and educator John Burland will proclaim the Good News of God’s mercy and justice through song and movement for elementary students. Learn how song, gesture and joy increase learning and understanding in the hearts of young disciples. Come ready to raise your voice and be renewed!

John Burland

John Burland is an educator and composer of religious music for children and adults and has over 250 songs and has published 14 music collections internationally. With an extensive career in school and parish communities, Burland currently is the Education Officer for Liturgy and Music for Sydney Catholic Schools in Australia, and the National Music Consultant for Bayard, Inc. He is a regular speaker at conferences and gatherings across Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and North America.

8-07  Follow the Leader? The Bible on Who’s Boss  

Leadership styles come and go. From patriarchs, priests and kings to modern-day rulers and celebrities, we follow the leaders we invent and choose. Is there a better way to decide who gets the scepter, the microphone and the say-so? A quick swing through Scripture offers both choices and challenges.

Alice Camille, MDiv

Alice Camille is a full-time freelance lay Catholic author and retreat leader, religious educator and conference presenter. She is a Scripture columnist and contributor to “Give Us This Day” daily prayer guide. She is also author of many articles, serials, audio materials and books, including her most recent, “For Everything There is a Season.” Camille’s work has received numerous awards, including the Catholic Press Association Book Award and their Best Regular Column Award, in addition to the Midwest Independent Publishers Association Award.

8-08  Apprentice-Based Formation for Cate­chesis and Evangelization  

The Catechetical documents of the Catholic Church have been asking us since 1978 – and re-emphasized in the National Directory of Catechesis – to shift our focus toward application-based learning, viewing all formation through the lens of formation as an apprenticeship not “depositories of facts.” This workshop will focus on the step-by-step process of what an apprenticeship-based approach looks like throughout the parish, how to organize a new approach, how to implement the shift in mindset, and where to begin.

Rich Curran

Based in Appleton, Wis., Rich Curran is founder and Executive Director of Parish Success Group, a Catholic nonprofit for missionary-focused parishes and schools. He is a regular presenter of parish missions and staff leadership days, he has keynoted 30 diocesan leadership conferences, and speaks at national Catholic conferences, including the National Catholic Youth Conference, the National Conference on Catholic Youth Ministry and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership as well as numerous regional conferences.

8-09  Miracles: The Intersection of Science & Faith  

In this presentation, learn how an understanding of science can lead to a deeper relationship with God. Starting with evolution and creation, this presentation will tackle head on the apparent contradiction between science and miracles. The talk will focus on miracles as God’s direct actions in the world and the transformational elements of deep experiences of God. This will provide a context for understanding miracles within a modern scientific worldview and for exploring the social justice call inherent in Jesus’ miracles. Come prepared to discuss your favorite miracles!

Prof. Michael Dennin

Michael Dennin has served for 21 years as Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Irvine, where he is also Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning. He has regularly engaged schools and adult education forums on science and superheroes for the past 18 years as well as appearing on numerous television programs, YouTube series and podcast/radio shows. Prof. Dennin is a popular speaker at churches and schools, building on his book: “Divine Science: Finding Reason at the Heart of Faith.”

8-10  Combatting Stigma: HIV/AIDS, the Latinx Community and the Catholic Church  

The Latinx community in the United States is disproportionately affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. While HIV incidence has decreased among whites, blacks and even Latinas, the epidemic is worsening for gay and bisexual Latino men – a population experiencing stigma even within the Latinx community. Dr. Arthur Fitzmaurice will discuss how stigma leads to negative health outcomes such as HIV infection, AIDS diagnosis and death. Given the strong correlation of Catholic and Latinx identities, we will discuss how Catholic clergy and laity are uniquely poised to minister to this population and alleviate the HIV/AIDS epidemic by combatting stigma.

Arthur Fitzmaurice, PhD

Dr. Arthur Fitzmaurice is a freelance speaker who currently lives in Tanzania, in east Africa. He has served 13 years in ministry with LGBTQ Catholics as Chair of the Los Angeles Archdiocese Catholic Ministry with Lesbian and Gay Persons and has received the Archdiocese’s Lumen Christi Award. Dr. Fitzmaurice has spoken at various professional and religious conferences and for the Gay Christian Network. He also appears on several YouTube episodes produced by the Ignatian News Network.


St. Augustine said, “Love God and do whatever you want.” The hard part is the first half: to love God! In this workshop, we will talk about what it means to fall in love with God, and the freedom that will follow. Fr. Rob will use music and story to create a workshop to remember.

Fr. Rob Galea

Fr. Rob Galea is a parish priest and university chaplain in the Diocese of Sandhurst, Victoria, Australia. He is also founder and Director of FRG Ministry and, in 2008 (with the late Australian Bishop Joseph Grech), founded the Stronger Youth Program “By God’s Grace.” Fr. Galea speaks and sings at schools, churches and conferences across Australia and around the globe. The singer/songwriter has seven CD releases and has written a number of songs for various conferences. His latest book is entitled “Breakthrough.”

8-12  Redeeming Conflict  

Tension is a part of every normal church community. How we choose to manage the tension, however, will either fragment our communities or mature them, enabling our parishes and schools to more fully live their mission. Speaking out of her own experience as an educational administrator and conflict mediator, Ann Garrido will share a framework for understanding the conflicts present in church life today and concrete practices to constructively engage the tough conversations that need to be had.

Ann M. Garrido

Ann Garrido is Associate Professor of Homile­tics at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, Mo., and Director of their Spiritual Formation for Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies-Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Program. She also serves as a Consultant with Triad Consulting Group, a conflict mediation and communications team based in Cambridge, Mass. Garrido is a recognized formation leader for the National Association of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Her books include “Redeeming Conflict,” “Preaching to the Choir” and “Redeeming Administration”


The Gospel according to Luke devotes much more attention to themes of justice than any of the other Gospels, often using the imagery of food and drink, of meals and parties. Since Luke’s Gospel is read on most Sundays of 2019 (Lectionary Year C), this workshop will explore how Luke presents the teachings of Jesus related to hunger and thirst, wealth and poverty, war and peace, racial and gender equality, and other themes of justice still highly relevant today.

Fr. Felix Just, SJ

Jesuit priest Fr. Felix Just is Minister of the Loyola House Jesuit Community in San Francisco, Calif. He formerly taught at all three Jesuit universities in California – Loyola Marymount University, the University of San Francisco, and Santa Clara University. He conducts adult faith formation programs and leads biblically-based days of prayer, parish missions and retreats. Fr. Just has produced seven audio-CD programs with Now You Know Media and maintains the internationally recognized website Catholic-Resources.org.

8-14  Tradition and the Thirst for Change  

The reference to “tradition” in the context of the Church is often heard as code for why things cannot change. “Tradition” seems to mandate the need to continue doing what we’ve “always” done, and to do it in the way we’ve always done it. Despite such attitudes, is it possible to think of tradition as a stimulus for change? This workshop explores the ways to consider tradition as the work of the Holy Spirit leading us into the future, a future that will not be simply a repetition of the past or present.

Fr. Richard Lennan

Fr. Richard Lennan, a priest of the Diocese of Mait­land-Newcastle, Australia, is currently Professor of Systematic Theology in the School of Theology and Ministry at Boston College. His research and teaching focus on the theology of church, the theology of ministry and fundamental theology, with a special interest in the work of Karl Rahner. Fr. Lennan is author or editor of seven books. He has also served as President of the Australian Catholic Theological Association.

8-15  I’ve Been at This a Long Time Now  

Jesse Manibusan

Jesse Manibusan, founder of Jesse Manibusan Music Ministries, has 32 years of experience as a liturgical music minister; youth worker, cate­chist and parish mission director. He has presented at all the major youth conferences, including the L.A. Religious Education Congress, the National Conference on Catholic Youth Ministry and World Youth Days in Denver, Toronto, Rome, Cologne, Sydney, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro. Manibusan has performed at various conferences worldwide and has several CDs published with Oregon Catholic Press.

Many of us have been ministers for many years ... many, many years! The needs of ministers who have had long careers of ministry in the Church are very different than those who are newer. Come experience a touch of inspiration, of healing, of invigoration and of hope.


Pope Francis recently reminded that “every man and woman is a mission; that is the reason for our life on this earth” (message from World Mission Day 2019). Embracing this idea requires a profound shift in the principles and practices that help us bear witness to love in a world that cries out for love. Sponsored by Maryknoll Lay Missioners, an organization of lay women and men serving around the globe for over 40 years, this interactive workshop explores ideas for “mission laboratories” in which we and our companions can see our lives as mission.

Ted Miles

From his formative years as a Jesuit Volunteer in Belize to his current role as Executive Director for Maryknoll Lay Missioners, Ted Miles has spent nearly 30 years exploring the social mission of the Church. Prior to arriving at Mary­knoll, he served for 12 years at Catholic Relief Services, coordinating their youth and religious education outreach. Miles has presented in numerous diocesan, regional and international parish/school settings and in addition to published articles he has developed educational, prayer and retreat materials.

8-17  A Ministry of Presence: Accompanying Those Who’ve Suffered the Death of a Loved One to Homicide  

In the wake of homicide, the thirst for justice experienced by surviving family members and friends is overwhelming, the depth of injury to the heart often seems unbearable and the existence of a loving and merciful God is often lost in the suffering. Accompanying those whose loved one has been intentionally killed by another requires the ability to be present in the darkness, to listen compassionately and to love without judgment. It requires a deep connection to one’s own faith and an awareness of personal fears and limitations. This workshop will address ways to more effectively accompany the bereaved in their grief and minister to their needs.

Suzanne Elaine Neuhaus

Suzanne Neuhaus, a retired parole agent and Victim Services Specialist, now lives in Yorba Linda, Calif., and serves as a consultant in restorative justice. Having been employed with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for over 20 years, she served as a trainer for the Department of Corrections, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the California Catholic Conference on Restorative Justice. Neuhaus focuses on bereavement ministry and remains actively involved in youth and adult ministries in her church.

8-18  Technology Evangelizers of the Gospel  

Like the original evangelists, today’s four technology evangelizers offer ways to present the Gospel message for different purposes to varied audiences. This session introduces the four technology evangelizers making them your means for proclaiming Jesus Christ: YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

Paul Sanfrancesco

Paul Sanfrancesco is a National Technology Consultant for William H. Sadlier, Inc. For over 24 years, he has worked in Catholic, private and public education, including as Director of Technology for the 200-plus schools of the Philadelphia Archdiocese and in teaching at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Sanfrancesco has been featured in several publications and presents at local and national convocations.

8-19  Athirst is My Soul for God: Prayer and Children with Disabilities  

Created in God’s image, all children have a capacity to encounter God in deep and meaningful ways through prayer. This workshop will explore teaching prayers and praying with children with learning disabilities and other intellectual disabilities. Participants will discover ways to awaken an intuitive awareness of God that leads to prayer as well as adapt materials and strategies to enhance teaching both formal and informal prayer.

Sr. Kathleen Schipani, IHM, MEd

Sr. Kathleen Schipani, a sister of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, is Director of the Office for Persons with Disabilities and the Deaf Apostolate in the Philadelphia Archdiocese. She formerly served as Board Chair for the National Catholic Partnership on Disability. Sr. Schipani has 39 years of teaching experience with children and adults of all abilities. She has collaborated in national and international projects related to disabilities, presented workshops and trainings and co-authored teacher guides and DVD curricula to prepare individuals who are deaf for the sacraments of initiation.

8-20  Whose Reflection Do You See in the Mirror?  

Self-image issues rob many of us of the joy God intends for us. In our beauty-obsessed culture it’s difficult to know our true worth. Despite finding success as a Broadway performer, Stacey Sumereau struggled with self-image issues that led to an eating disorder. Through spiritual healing, she came to true understanding of her God-given worth that enabled healthy relationships and lasting joy. She learned to stop fearing the judgment of the world and to embrace her true identity as a daughter of God. Her accessible and encouraging journey will provide the link you need to see yourself as God sees you.

Stacey Sumereau

Stacey Sumereau serves as Program Coordinator for the Avila Institute of Gerontology, the educational arm of the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm, based in New York, where she also coordinates mission trips. Sumereau has spoken to groups ranging from local young adult, youth and middle school to national youth conferences in addition to TV appearances on the “Today Show,” “Access Hollywood” and “Fox & Friends.” She is a contributor to “The Living Word: Sunday Gospel Reflections and Activities for Teens.”

8-21  Youth and Young Adult Ministry in 2019 and Beyond: What Awaits Us?  

In 2019, the Church in the United States experienced a tremendous focus on examining both the needs of young people as well as our collective ministry to and with youth and young adults. Much thought and input have been gleaned from the Fifth Encuentro, the National Dialogue on Youth and Young Adults and the recent Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment. What have we heard through these collective efforts and, more importantly, what does it mean for how we accompany young people in faith? Let’s consider the possibilities as we explore this future together.

Michael Theisen

Michael Theisen has been involved in youth ministry and faith formation for over 30 years, authoring numerous articles and more than 15 books. His experience as a speaker, trainer and ministry leader ranges from parish to diocesan and national levels. Theisen serves as Director of Ministry Formation for the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry in Washington, D.C., where he also is the National Coordinator for their Strong Catholic Families Initiative. He resides with his family in Rochester, N.Y.

8-22  Digital Discipleship: Becoming Cultural Mystics  

How can we integrate our faith within a media culture? By becoming mystics! Through theological reflection and critical inquiry through a media mindfulness methodology, we can discover the needs of humanity present in the art of pop culture. To become inculturated evangelizers today, we are called to take a sacred look at what is expressed in the culture about humanity’s longing for that something more, for the supernatural, for God. Only then can we be and propose the true joy of the Gospel.

Sr. Nancy Usselmann, FSP

Sr. Nancy Usselmann, a Daughter of St. Paul, is Director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies in Los Angeles. She is a national speaker, theologian and retreat presenter who leads faith formation workshops/catechesis days in dioceses across the state. Sr. Usselmann annually teaches an advanced course in media literacy education. She is a film reviewer and blogger for BeMediaMindful.org and author of the book “A Sacred Look: Becoming Cultural Mystics.”

8-23  Countering the “Fake News” About RCIA  

Let’s get our facts straight. Neophytes do not disappear after Easter. Newly made Catholics are better at practicing their faith than cradle Catholics. The Catholic Church in the United States is not dying. And Catholics are actually pretty good at evangelizing. Come discover why the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is the Church’s best model for all catechesis.

Nick Wagner

Nick Wagner is co-founder and Co-Director of the online resource TeamRCIA.com. He has spoken at numerous parish, diocesan and national training events for over 25 years, and has been an active team member with the North American Forum on the Catechumenate. He is also on the faculty at the Institute for Leadership in Ministry in the Diocese of San Jose, Calif. Wagner is author of “Field Hospital Catechesis: The Core Content for RCIA Formation” and “Seek the Living God: Five RCIA Inquiry Questions for Making Disciples.”

8-24  Transforming the Ordinary into the Extraordinary  

Stewardship as a way of life is about taking the ordinary gifts of an ordinary day and creating something extraordinary. It is about transformation and reclaiming our baptism. These are characteristics that need cultivating in our lives to help us on this journey of transformation. We will discuss those characteristics and identify a pathway toward mature discipleship and an overwhelming life of generosity.

Tracy Earl Welliver

Based in Milwaukee, Tracy Welliver is Director of Parish Community and Engagement at Liturgical Publications Inc. (LPi). He has experience as an author and Gallup-certified strengths coach. For more than 25 years he has served as a catechist and public speaker, speaking across North America, New Zealand and Australia. Welliver also serves on the Board of Directors for the International Catholic Stewardship Council, which awarded the Archbishop Murphy Award for stewardship excellence to St. Pius X Catholic Church in Greensboro, N.C., the parish where he served for 22 years.

8-25 Mary, Our Mother: Spirituality Through a Mother’s Eyes  

Motherhood takes many forms: child-bearer, teacher, guide, a welcome space for God to live. Walk with the women of Scripture to unfold the nourishing gifts of motherhood. How might we pray with Mary to be co-creators with God of God’s Kingdom here on Earth?

Kate Williams

Kate Williams is a musician and workshop leader who presents workshops and conferences in the Chicago area as well as nationally. In her role as Senior Managing Editor at GIA Publications, Inc., she is an integral member of the editorial and manuscript teams, cultivating relationships and coordinating projects with composers. Williams also serves as a music minister in parishes around the Chicago Archdiocese, most recently as Director of Music Ministry at St. Nicholas Church in Evanston, Ill.

8-70  Gia Đình là Linh Ảnh của Lòng Thương Xót  

Giám Mục Louis Nguyễn Anh Tuấn

Giảng khóa về Linh đạo về Gia đình, như là hình ảnh của Thiên Chúa – Tình Yêu Lòng Thương Xót. Hành trình nên thánh của Gia đình, Hội Thánh tại gia, phản chiếu Lòng Thương Xót của Thiên Chúa như là cội nguồn của mọi gia tộc trên trời dưới đất. Hành trình ấy diễn ra qua những sinh hoạt thường nhật trong đời sống gia đình: các bữa cơm gia đình, kinh nguyện gia đình, lao động, giải trí, và và đời sống phục vụ xã hội qua nghề nghiệp và tông đồ bác ái.

            Family: The Icon of the Divine Mercy  

Bishop Louis Nguyên Anh Tuan (xem tiểu sử 2-70)

This session will focus on the spirituality of the family – the icon of Divine Merciful Love. The holiness of the family (the domestic church) reflects the Divine Mercy of God, the source of all families in heaven and on Earth. This journey to holiness takes place through the everyday activities in family life: family meals, family prayer, work, recreation, service and charity.

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