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Friday, March 31, 2000
Congress marks 30 years in new Anaheim Convention Center

By Mike Nelson

THE FIRST RELIGIOUS Education Congress of the new century will include a new look Anaheim Convention Center and a triumvirate of keynote speakers.

The Convention Center, host to Congress since 1970, has undergone massive renovation and expansion which boosts the facility's total space by more than 40 percent to 1.6 million square feet.

Massive street repairs and renovation in the area around the Convention Center and Disneyland have been underway for more than two years and are almost complete. However, commuters to Anaheim are nonetheless advised to allow extra travel time and to carpool if possible.

As for Congress itself, the April 8 keynote talk will address "Voices of Hope: Building a World of Communion and Justice." The speakers are Sister Elizabeth Johnson, a theologian and consultant to the U.S. bishops' Committee on Women in the Church and Society; Arun Manila Ghandi, grandson of Mahatma Ghandi and founder of an institute for nonviolence; and Craig Kielburger, 16-year-old leader of a world movement aimed at promoting nonviolent conflict resolution.

Two keynote talks addressing nonviolence will be presented April 9, by Ghandi in English and by Bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia of Chiapas, Mexico, in Spanish. Among the 200-plus workshops in English, Spanish and Vietnamese will be talk on forgiveness by Bud Welch, father of a 19-year-old daughter killed in the 1995 Oklahoma City federal building bombing, and by Linda and Peter Biehl, whose daughter Amy was murdered during South Africa's struggle for democracy.

The entertainment portion of Congress will include an April 9 lunchtime performance of "Late Night Catechism" starring Mary Pat Donovan as "Sister." A 30-year retrospective of liturgical music used at Congress will be led by John Flaherty and Gary Daigle on April 7; liturgical composer Marty Haugen will present his newest musical theater piece, "Luke, the Feast of Life" on April 8; and lunchtime performances will feature Rory Cooney, Donna Peña, Theresa Donohoo, Grayson Warren Brown and Peter Rubalcava.

Congress will begin April 6 with Youth Day for high school age students. For information, call (213) 637-7674.

On April 7, the "adult" portion of Congress will open with an event combining musical celebration and spiritual reflection led by Cardinal Roger Mahony and Sister Edith Prendergast, director of the Office of Religious Education. Throughout the weekend, eucharistic liturgies and prayer services will be celebrated in a variety of languages and cultural forms (including Hispanic, African American, Native American, Asian Pacific, charismatic and Hawaiian).

Bishop Tod Brown of Orange and Cardinal Mahony will preside at the morning and afternoon Masses on April 9. This year's Congress theme is "Awaken Hope – Shout Jubilee," taken from the readings of the day, the fifth Sunday of Lent.

For information on Congress, call (213) 637-7346.

Copyright 2000 The Tidings -- March 31, 2000


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