February 2009









Religious Education Congress Opens Feb. 26

Last year, the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress attracted more than 40,000 registrants -- some from as far away as the United Kingdom and Australia. Congress Coordinator Paulette Smith anticipates at least as many attendees for this year's four-day event. Youth Day is held Feb. 26. and Congress proper runs Feb. 27 – March 1.

Cardinal Roger M. Mahony along with priests and bishops will welcome the 40,000 delegates from the United States, Australia. Canada, Central America, England, Ireland, Mexico. South America, and Vietnam. An estimated 180 speakers and Catholic theologians will give nearly 300 workshops covering all areas of religious education and catechetical leadership.

While a good portion of the Congress Addresses Catholic issues such as biblical spirituality, adult catechesis, social justice, sacraments, and liturgy, many of the 282 workshops will also speak to contemporary social, cultural, family, and young adult is-sues, in keeping with this year's theme: "Love Unfolding...Igniting Our Yes!"

Among the workshop topics: "Raising Chaste Teens"; "Born to Dance: Live Life Fully from the Inside Out"; "The Paschal Mystery in Family Life": "What Do I Say When Life is Hard''": "Harnessing Student Power to Stop Bullying, Cruelty, and Violence"; "Emotional and Spiritual Resilience in Christian Marriage"; "St. Paul's Teachings on Love and Other Virtues"; "Win the World Without Losing Your Soul"; "The Popes and the Sexual Abuse Crisis": and "Living God's Dream." Workshops cover everything from hands-on tips for catechists to suggestions for living more joyfully; more than 50 workshops have been designed specifically for the Hispanic community. (It is difficult to convey the broad range of workshop topics that will be offered at this year's Congress; for details, go to and download a program.)

Bestselling author and theologian Jim Wallis is this year's keynote speaker. In his 8:30 a.m. speech on Feb. 28, he will discuss the call to bring a faith perspective to the challenges facing us in our world today. Throughout Congress, performing artists will provide a unique perspective through their performances; among them are Matt Maher. Jesse Manibusan, Josh Blakesley, and the Vietnamese Folk Dance Troupe.

Irish musician Liam Lawton is the featured artist for the Friday night concert "Sacred Shores," and Anna Betancourt, Eleazar Cortés, Donna Peña, and host Pedro Rubalcava will provide a mariachi musical celebration Saturday night.

"Love Unfolding... igniting Our Yes!" will conclude with Cardinal Mahony presiding at liturgy at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. occ

For registration information, contact Paulette Smith at 213-637-7332 or go to

Copyright 2009 Orange County Catholic -- February 2009