March 2002





"Gift Overflowing: A World Transformed"

ANAHEIM -- The sports and RV show never had a chance.

Somewhere in the Anaheim Convention Center, over the weekend of Feb. 15, exhibitors were showing fishing poles, tents and campers and wondering where all those Catholics came from.

The answer: just about everywhere. A total of 21,000 educators, ministers, young people and other delegates arrived in Anaheim from throughout the country and the world for the annual three‑day Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the largest gathering of its kind in the nation.

A combination educational enrichment event, celebration of youth and liturgy, and a trade show displaying all things Catholic, the Congress featured 210 workshops in English, 51 in Spanish and seven in Vietnamese, dozens of exhibitors, and played host to 13,500 young people and their chaperones on a special Youth Day on Feb. 14.

Sponsored by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Office of Religious Education but held in the Diocese of Orange for more than 25 years, the Congress showcased ethnic -- inspired liturgies, including African-American, Celtic, Hawaiian, Hispanic, Vietnamese and Caribbean. Bishop Tod Brown presided at a Mass opening the final day of the Congress on Sunday, Feb. 17.

'Bishop Brown and Bishop Jaime Soto also joined bishops from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the Diocese of San Bernardino at a special demonstration against the death penalty that was held in front of the convention center on the second morning of the Congress. An estimated 200 participants, led by Father John McAndrew of St. Angela Merici Church in Brea, sang, prayed and listened as the bishops and other speakers called for an end to capital punishment. Bishop Brown thanked the demonstrators and told them that they were opposing an "anti-Christian" practice.

The theme of the Congress was "Gift Overflowing: A World Transformed," and hundreds of speakers, performers, clergy and lay people explored the workings of the Holy Spirit in the modern world.

A sampling of workshop topics: Breaking the Isolation of Gangs: "Community" as a Response to Youth Violence, Gen-X Catholics: The Latest Findings and Their Implications for Ministry, Divorce and Remarriage in the Catholic Church, When Grief Comes to School, Moral Questions in the Black Community, and What Happened to June and Ward Cleaver: Ministering to Families in Crisis. OCC


Copyright 2002  Orange County Catholic -- March  2002