2020 RECongress Period 6

Religious Education Congress
Saturday, February 22, 2020

3:00 - 4:30 pm



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6-01      Unsettling Settled Ideas: Gang Members and the Marrow of the Gospel    Arena

This workshop proposes a new paradigm of faithful living, born of standing with the excluded: moving from forgiveness to mercy. Join Fr. Greg Boyle as he shares the stories of those who live the Gospel.

Rev. Gregory J. Boyle, SJ

From 1986-92, Fr. Greg Boyle served as Pastor of Dolores Mission in Los Angeles and, in 1988, along with parish community members started Homeboy Industries, now the largest gang rehabilitation program in the world. The author and speaker has received the California Peace Prize and been inducted into the California Hall of Fame. In 2017, Fr. Boyle received the University of Notre Dame’s Laetare medal, the oldest and most prestigious award given to American Catholics.

6-02      God’s Forgiveness  

God can work wonders through us, even when we ourselves have trouble forgiving others … and ourselves! In this session, Catholic musician John Angotti shares his music and faith testimony on the meaning and challenge of forgiveness, healing and reconciliation.

John Angotti

Based in Nashville, John Angotti is a music missionary who travels worldwide presenting at concerts, workshops, retreats, missions and conferences. He is an accomplished composer with numerous publications under the World Library Publications label. John Angotti Music Mission (JAMM) debuted his original musical, “Job: The NOW Testament” in 2013. He is also a full-time Director of Music and Liturgy at St. Philip Catholic Church in Franklin, Tenn.

6-03     Teaching Mercy and Compassion in the Family  

Our families are not just “domestic churches,” they are also “domestic schools” in which we learn how to love. A large part of that learning comes in the practice of mercy and compassion as we live them out with our parents, children, spouses, and brothers and sisters. How can we raise compassionate kids? How can we grow in mercy and love in our marriages, in our sibling relationships, and in our parenthood? In what ways does God call on us to know him better through the practice of mercy in a family? Participants will discover that we truly do God’s work in the small but meaningful ways we love and learn as a family.

Danielle Bean

Based in New Hampshire, Danielle Bean is Brand Manager for CatholicMom, part of the Holy Cross Family Ministries, and former Publisher and Editor-In-Chief of Catholic Digest magazine. She is author of several books for women, including “Momnipotent,” “You’re Worth It!” and her newest books, “You Are Enough” and “The Manual for Women.” Bean is also creator and host of the Girlfriends podcast and a popular speaker on a variety of subjects related to Catholic family life, parenting, marriage and the spirituality of motherhood.

6-04     Can the Natural World Afford a Just War?  

The Church upholds the principles of “a just war.” However, these principles were formulated hundreds of years ago, well before we became aware of eco-sensitive issues. Might it be time to give that theory a new look?

Dianne Bergant, CSA

Sr. Dianne Bergant, a Sister of St. Agnes of Fond du Lac, Wis., is the Carroll Stuhlmueller, CP Distinguished Professor Emerita of Biblical Studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. She was President of the Catholic Biblical Association of America and has been an active member of the Chicago Catholic-Jewish Scholars Dialogue for the past 30 years. For more than 15 years, Sr. Bergant was the Old Testament book reviewer of The Bible Today, and wrote the weekly column “The Word” for America magazine in 2002-2005.

6-05     The Theology of Suffering  

The agony of betrayal, loss, grief and sorrow are often overwhelming and can so easily consume us. By faith, we know that the Incarnation of Jesus Christ gives new meaning to our every experience of suffering. How do we allow God’s mercy to heal us and God’s grace to bring order to our emotions? How do we find Christ in our experiences of suffering, and how can we make sense of his words, “My yoke is easy and my burden light”? What does it look like to bear our wounds with dignity and carry the cross with Christ? This session will explore the nature of emotional pain and examine trust, surrender and emotional healing.

Rev. John Burns

Rev. John Burns, a priest of the Milwaukee Archdiocese, is a promoter of vocations and of women’s religious and consecrated life. He speaks at national men’s and women’s conferences, preaches missions and directs retreats throughout the country and has appeared on Relevant Radio’s The Inner Life. Fr. Burns is author of “Lift Up Your Heart: A 10-Day Personal Retreat with St. Francis de Sales.” He also works extensively with the Sisters of Life and the Missionaries of Charity, giving retreats and conferences for them.

6-06     Immigration: Who, Why and the “Catholic Way” to Respond  

In this workshop, we will explore why people migrate to the United States, with and without documents. We will look at the actual U.S. immigration law and the system migrants must navigate. Finally, we will examine longstanding Church teaching on welcoming the stranger, including its natural law basis and why it is often a “life issue.”

Linda Dakin-Grimm

Linda Dakin-Grimm is a Senior Consulting Partner at the Los Angeles office of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, LLP who practices law in California, New York and Washington, D.C. Commencing in 2016, Dakin-Grimm concentrated her practice on pro bono matters in the area of children in immigration proceedings. Dakin-Grimm speaks widely on faith and immigration-related issues in schools and parishes throughout Los Angeles as well as at legal conferences across the United States, Bermuda and London.

6-07     The Gift of the Inner Chapel  

We carry a chapel within us – a sacred space, where God dwells. The gift of this inner chapel is that we are never alone: God is always with us and goes where we go. It is in this space we learn the promises of God so that we can share the Good News of these promises with the world. Becky Eldredge, an Ignatian-trained spiritual director, will offer ways to visit your inner chapel daily – amid the busyness – to harness the fuel and inspiration to go forth and spread the Good News!

Becky Eldredge

Becky Eldredge is a spiritual director, retreat facilitator and author of the book “Busy Lives & Restless Souls.” With two decades of ministry experience, she has led youth and young adult retreats, parish missions, Ignatian retreats and days of reflection. Eldredge has presented at the Spiritual Director’s International Conference, the Ignatian Spirituality Conference, and has appeared as a panelist at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Convocation of Catholic Leaders.

6-08     From Book Learning to Faith Living!  

Ever wonder how to motivate children to live their faith every day? Then don’t miss this workshop! We’ll dive in and look at creative classroom activities and engaging ways to make lessons come to life so that children have a whole new energy for faith and take it out into the world!

Steven Ellair

Based on the East Coast, Steven Ellair is Editorial Director and a national speaker with Saint Mary’s Press. He has been involved in catechetical ministry for nearly 30 years and has served as a parish catechist, youth minister, Catholic schoolteacher and archdiocesan educational consultant. Ellair has been involved in Catholic publishing for 16 years and continues to write and speak nationally on issues related to catechesis. He has presented at national religious education events for the past 25 years.

6-09     Of Popes & Bishops: Re-Imagining Church Leadership in a Non-Hierarchical Key  

In Roman Catholicism the term “hierarchy” is synonymous with a Catholic understanding of the gift of apo­stolic office exercised by the pope and bishops. This workshop will explore how we might continue to affirm the gift of an apostolic office in a non-hierarchical key.

Dr. Richard Gaillardetz

Dr. Richard Gaillardetz is the Joseph Professor of Theology at Boston College. He has authored or edited 14 books and over 150 pastoral and academic articles. He previously taught at the University of Toledo in Ohio and at the University of St. Thomas Graduate School of Theology in Texas. His most recent book is titled, “By What Authority: Foundations for Understanding Authority in the Church.” In 2018, Barry University in Florida conferred on Dr. Gaillardetz the Yves Congar Award for Theological Excellence.

6-10     Faithful Presence: Prayer

Prayer is a relationship of faithful presence. In and through the faithful presence of God, believers are invited into a life of holiness. Still, we struggle to balance family life and work demands with our pursuit of God. We want to be faithful to God, but we just cannot seem to pull it all together. This workshop will offer practical insights on how to balance everyday life and the practice of prayer.

Dr. Greer G. Gordon

Dr. Greer Gordon is a Roman Catholic theologian who has served on the faculties at Regis College in Massachusetts and at the University of Massachusetts, and was a diocesan director in Washington, D.C., Boston and Baton Rouge. Her publications include “Symphonies of the Heart,” “Heritage and Vision,” the video program “Church and Ministry” and numerous articles for Give Us This Day. Based in Baton Rouge, Dr. Gordon is a theological consultant for a social service collective in South Louisiana.

6-11     The Liturgy as Artwork

Based on contemporary theories of ritual communication, this workshop will encourage liturgical planners and participants to deepen their appreciation for sensate aspects of liturgical worship and their interaction.

Marty Haugen  (originally co-presented with Marty Haugen and Fr. Jan Michael Joncas)

For nearly 40 years, composer Marty Haugen has presented concerts, workshops and presen­tations across North and Central America, Europe, Asia and the Pacific Rim. His music appears in hymnals for United States, Canadian and Australian Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians and other Protestant denominations. His latest works are “Choose to Hope” and “The Liturgical Ensemble.” Marty and his wife, Linda, live in Minnesota.

6-12     Reimagining Ministry with Young Adults  

In his Apostolic Exhortation, Christus Vivit, Pope Francis notes that ministries and programs for young adults around the world aren’t always working (#202). Instead, we need new and creative models for the Church’s outreach, pastoral care and formation efforts with young adults – and help them become merciful protagonists and missionaries in the world and in the Church. This session, designed for active Catholics – including pastors, lay leaders, youth and young adult ministers and parents – will explore some ideas that the Holy Father is asking us all to consider in our work with and engagement of young adults.

Paul Jarzembowski

Paul Jarzembowski is Assistant Director for Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat for Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth and is the National Coordinator for World Youth Day for the United States. He previously served as Executive Director of the National Catholic Young Adult Ministry Association. Jarzembowski has presented to over 300 dioceses, parishes and Catholic organizations in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, and at the Vatican.

6-13     Please DON’T Forgive. Seriously. Unless ...  

Everyone hurts. Sometimes, the wounds are awful. Why do so many people tell us it is important to forgive? What does that even mean? What helps the pain get better? Are there times we should NOT forgive? From his vantage point as a priest, Fr. Joe Kempf sees both the suffering of God’s people and the goodness of those who choose life-giving ways to deal with their hurts. In this presentation, Fr. Joe offers concrete suggestions, real-life stories, much-needed perspective and hope for each of us as we make our way through all that life throws at us on the journey.

Fr. Joe Kempf

A diocesan priest from St. Louis, Fr. Joe Kempf is founder and President of the non-profit Gospel Values, Inc. He is author of “Don’t You DARE Forgive. Unless ... ,” “No One Cries the Wrong Way” and a number of books for children, including “My Sister is Annoying,” “Don’t Drink the Holy Water” and “Sometimes Life Is Just Not Fair.” Fr. Kempf has also published a CD of guided prayer reflections as well as several videos.

6-14     A Contemporary Mission to Compassionate Holiness

By enjoying some media presentations on forgiveness and mercy, Fr. Richard Leonard will lead us in an exploration of the eight elements of Pope Francis’ call for the Church to be merciful, and its implications for our pastoral practice.

Rev. Richard Leonard, SJ

Jesuit priest Fr. Richard Leonard is Director of the Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting, based in Sydney, Australia. He has been a Visiting Professor at the Gregorian University in Rome and a Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles. A popular speaker at the Religious Education Congress, Fr. Leonard is author of 10 books, including his latest, “Hatch, Match & Dispatch: A Catholic Guide to Sacraments.”

6-15     Three Great Women of the Hebrew Bible  

While the Hebrew Bible text is dominated by men, there are several important women who shape critical parts of the text and the teachings of the sacred message. We will focus on three: Hagar, Sarah and Rebecca. Hagar is not an Israelite, yet she is very important to our understanding of the lessons and insights of Genesis. Sarah seems to break the cultural norms of Israelite life and at the same time makes the story happen as it must. Rebecca also directs events to turn out the way the Israelite story has to unfold. We should not overlook these women of the Hebrew Bible, and paying attention to their stories provides critical understanding of the Israelite saga.

Rabbi Michael Mayersohn

Based in Orange County, Calif., Rabbi Michael Mayersohn is a Reform Rabbi who teaches the Bible, both Hebrew and New Testament, offering Jewish insights into Sacred Scriptures. Since 2003 the rabbi has taught and spoken at over 20 churches in Orange County, San Diego and Arizona, teaching Jewish roots of Christianity and Bible studies. He has presented at the Religious Education Congress since 2010. His latest book is entitled, “I Was There: The Jewish Olive Grower Who Knew Jesus.”

6-16     BEING a Catechist vs. WORKING AS a Catechist  

Enrich your personal commitment to Jesus and affirm your catechist vocation. Consider the threefold aspects of your call: 1) witnessing; 2) mentoring; and 3) teaching. This presentation will consider the example of Pope Francis for each characteristic and suggest practical ideas for personal application. The session may be replicated as a staff retreat.

Sr. Patricia M. McCormack, IHM, EdD

Dr. Patricia McCormack, a member of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, is an international formation-education consultant and serves as the Program Director for the IHM Office of Formative Support for Parents and Teachers. Her experience in education includes both classroom and administration experience at the elementary, secondary and college levels. In addition to publications, Sr. McCormack’s ministry includes parent presentations as well as workshops, retreats and days of in-service to the educational community.

6-17     Applying Brain-Based Learning to Make Learning Stick and Faith “Sticky”  

There are so many things competing for our attention every minute of every day. As those forming faith, how can we grab the attention of our learners and use the limited time we have to make what they learn stick? One solution is to examine the science behind “brain-based” learning. In this workshop, we will explore how does the way our brain works inform how we teach, and what does research tell us about having “sticky” faith? Finally, we will examine the impact of digital technology on the way the current generations learn, as well as, the important role adult relationships have on making faith “sticky.”

Charlotte McCorquodale, PhD

Louisiana native Dr. Charlotte McCorquodale has been President of Ministry Training Source since 2000. Her professional career in Catholic youth ministry and lay ecclesial ministry has spanned almost four decades serving in parish, school, diocesan and university ministry settings. Dr. McCorquodale serves as an international educator, researcher and consultant for the fields of certification standards, youth ministry and e-learning, and has been awarded for her contributions nationally to the field of Catholic youth ministry.

6-18     The Mercy of Marriage in a Hookup World  

Young adults fall in love in a hookup world. The hookup isn’t just about sex. Instead, it’s a fear of real communion, sharing a life with another person, beyond the briefest physical encounter. In this session, we’ll explore the various characteristics of a hookup culture and why young adults participate in it. We’ll also turn to the sacrament of marriage, showing how the liturgical rite for this sacrament can serve as a medicine for a hookup culture. In marriage, we discover a restoration of communion that is fundamentally about friendship.

Timothy P. O’Malley, PhD

Dr. Timothy O’Malley is Director of Education at the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana and holds a concurrent position as teacher and researcher in their Department of Theology. Dr. O’Malley has made numerous public presentations at university, diocesan and national conferences. He is author of “Liturgical Formation in the RCIA” and “Off the Hook: God, Love, Dating, and Marriage in a Hookup World.”

6-19     The Real Obstacle to Holiness: Our Path­ologically Complex Nature  

Spirituality tends to blame our struggles for holiness on original sin, on concupiscence, and then blame Adam and Eve. A closer examination, however, of both Scripture and Christian tradition places the roots of our struggles not in what’s wrong with us, but in what’s right with us. We are born with divine fire inside our souls and that fire does not find easy peace in this world. Our own over-charged nature is the real reason why we struggle “to will the one thing.”

Fr. Ronald Rolheiser, OMI

Fr. Ronald Rolheiser, a Roman Catholic priest and member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, is President of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas. He is a community-builder, lecturer and writer. His books have been translated into many languages, and his weekly column is carried by more than 80 publications worldwide. Prior to his present position, Fr. Rolheiser taught at Newman Theological College in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and served as Provincial Superior of his Oblate Province and on the General Council for the Oblates in Rome.

6-20     Renew, Refresh, Restore: Tending to Your Soul as a Minister  

Jesus continually strived to heal the whole person: mind, body and soul. Oftentimes, we are so busy caring for others that we forget to fill up with spiritual fuel and food that sustains and nourishes us. When ministry seems overwhelming, we can find ourselves drowning as administration descends into “administrivia” and we can lose sight of our own needs. We might not want to think of ourselves as administrators but there is a reason that the word “administration” has “ministry” imbedded within it. Combining humor with practical insights, this workshop is a “mini pilgrimage” for your soul so that you can emerge renewed, refreshed and restored.

Julianne Stanz

Julianne Stanz is Director of Discipleship and Leadership Development for the Diocese of Green Bay, Wis., and a consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Catechesis and Evangelization. Born in Ireland, Stanz is a nationally known speaker, retreat leader and story­teller. She has extensive workshop and presentation experience both locally and nationally and is author of several articles and books, including her latest, “Start with Jesus: How Everyday Disciples Will Renew The Church.”

6-21     What Do We Tell the Catechumens About the Scandals?  

Yet another scandal about the Catholic Church starts blowing up Facebook and Twitter. And you have a meeting with the catechumens and candidates tonight. What are you going to say to them? Why would anyone what to join the Church right now? How do we keep proclaiming Good News in the face of all the bad news? Come discover how to be a sign of hope and a guiding light in troubled times.

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. Wagner also serves on the faculty at the Institute for Leadership in Ministry in the Diocese of San Jose, Calif. He is author of “Field Hospital Catechesis: The Core Content for RCIA Formation” and “Seek the Living God: Five RCIA Inquiry Questions for Making Disciples.”

6-22     Live Mercy – Teaching Virtue in Cynical Times  

It is easy to give in to cynicism. Cynicism can sound intelligent and wise. The problem is that with time cynicism can turn us into dour and unattractive people. Pope Francis is calling us to revive and then teach through the great virtues. Let the virtues of joy, tenderness, mercy and courage be our aim and our means. These virtues can help restore our enthusiasm and give credibility to our message. In this session, we will look at the virtues Pope Francis calls forth, what they might mean to us today, and how we might teach them to others. Let us live mercy and be holy.

David Wells

David Wells is a religious education consultant whose career began as a teacher before becoming a research assistant for the Bishops’ Conference in England and Wales. Since then, his work has taken him all over the world, speaking at more than 500 conferences worldwide and guest lectures in three English universities and two seminaries. Wells has published two books: “The Reluctant Disciple” and “The Grateful Disciple,” and recently produced a DVD series titled, “Beloved Disciples.” His new book is due out this Lent.

6-23     Seasons of Faith: Sharing the Liturgical Year with Young Children  

The seasons of the Liturgical Year give us a wonderful opportunity to immerse ourselves in the mysteries of our faith. Even our youngest learners can experience the Liturgical Year when we present it in a developmentally appropriate, multi-sensory context. Join us as we discuss how to explore the colors and seasons of our Church with preschool and kindergarten children.

Joseph D. White, PhD

Based in Austin, Texas, Dr. Joseph White is a child and family psychologist as well as Director of Catechetical Resources for Our Sunday Visitor Publishing and Curriculum. He previously worked as a parish catechetical leader and spent seven years as Director of Family Counseling and Family Life in the Diocese of Austin, Texas. A frequent guest on Catholic radio and television, Dr. White is author of 11 books and numerous articles on catechesis and ministry and co-authored the ­“Allelu!” and “Alive in Christ” catechetical series.

6-70     Gia Đình – Mái ấm của Lòng Thương Xót  

Gia đình là nơi mà chữ tình luôn được vun đắp, là cái nôi của lòng thương xót, là mái ấm cho những trái tim mang đầy thương tích. Một gia đình có lòng thương xót khi các thành viên luôn biết nhạy bén, quan tâm tới cảm xúc của nhau. Ở nơi ấy, hạnh phúc không xuất phát từ tiền của, danh vọng, nhưng xuất phát từ một đời sống cầu nguyện và thực thi thánh ý Chúa. Bình an cũng không phải là “chăm ấm, nệm êm,” nhưng là bình an nội tâm gắn kết với thánh giá qua mọi chiều kích của cuộc sống.

               The Family: Home of Divine Mercy  

Family is a place where love grows, a cradle of mercy and a home for wounded hearts. God has a never-ending willingness to show mercy. If God’s mercy can save the world, it can certainly save our families. By practicing mercy within our relationships, we will not only survive but our love will grow stronger. Our happiness does not come from money or fame but from a life of prayer and the exercise of God’s will. It is then that the inner peace given by God comes to us. As Paul notes, “Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:7).

Soeur Maria Nguyễn Thị Hồng Quế, OP

Sơ thuộc Dòng Đa Minh Tam Hiệp, Việt Nam – Đặc trách Chương Trình Chuyên Đề Giáo Dục, Ban Mục Vụ Gia Đình TGP. TP.HCM. Sơ tốt nghiệp Thạc sĩ Tư Vấn tâm lý tại Manila, Philipines; Cử nhân Công tác xã hội – Thần học tại, Việt Nam. Với hơn 230 chuyên đề, các khóa huấn luyện, tĩnh tâm, Sơ luôn đồng hành và khuyến khích giáo dân trong và ngoài nước tích cực sống đạo giữa đời.

Sr. Mary Hong Que Nguyen, OP

Sr. Mary Nguyen, a member of Tam Hiep Dominican Sisters based in Bien Hoa, Vietnam, is Director of Education for Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) Archdiocese’s Family Ministry Committee. She earned degrees in theology and social work in Vietnam, and a master’s degree in psychology/counseling in the Philippines. Sr. Nguyen is a marriage guidance counselor, giving talks on leadership, living skills, psychological problems and marriage throughout the United States and abroad, including Australia and Canada.


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