February 19, 1994


Re: L.A. Archdiocese Religious Education Congress flotsam

From:             Tom Kreitzberg (tomk@BUSHRAT.JPL.NASA.GOV)
L.A. Archdiocese Religious Education Congress flotsam 
1994-02-19 15:38:04 PST 

This morning at Mass, the priest mentioned that there was a religious education congress -- one of the biggest in the country -- going on this weekend at the Anaheim Convention Center. Having a free day (the computer backups can wait till Monday (I hope!)), I decided to drive down and check out the exhibitions.

Outside the convention center, I was handed a flier from "Catholics United for the Splendor of Truth," which warned that "this religious education congress may be damaging to your spiritual health." Some people were holding signs saying things like, "Error Has No Rights." As a regular reader of the Free Catholics list, I felt right at home.

Inside, I was headed for the exhibition hall when I heard the "Holy, Holy, Holy" being sung in an auditorium. I went inside, figuring to catch the last half of the Mass. Everyone was standing, singing along with a priest who had a very good voice. Recorded music played through the sound system. The congregation sang, "Ah-ah-men. Ah-ah-men. Ah-ah-ah-ah-mennnn," the priest said, "Thank you," and everyone burst into applause. It was about then that I realized, with some relief, that this wasn't a Mass. I'm not really sure what it was, because it ended right then, with no final benediction. People seemed to like it, though.

There were well over a hundred booths in the exhibition hall, and I can say with some assurance that bad Catholic art is alive and well. Principally on book covers. Actually, there was plenty of good Catholic art, too, but merely good art doesn't seem to move the soul quite as powerfully as truly bad art.

It being a religious ed congress, many of the booths were stocked with religious ed stuff. I looked for some obviously teen-aged stuff for Elizabeth, but nothing struck me as particularly geared for that age. A lot of younger kids stuff, though.

I passed up the collected works of St. John of the Cross and a collection of Newman's writings (both of which I now wish I had). Someone got to a copy of the Latin Vulgate before I could scope it out, but it sold for $80, so I wouldn't have bought it anyway. (This wasn't the one you get from Rome, which costs $130.) I did buy the following:

St. Peter Julian Eymard, _Holy Communion_
Rev. Randall Paine, ORC, _The Angels are Waiting_
Peter Kreeft, _Prayer: The Great Conversation_
Thomas Merton, _Praying the Psalms_
Joseph A. Grassi, _God Makes Me Laugh: A New Approach to Luke_
(what would the C.U.S.T. say about this last?)

Boy, looking at them now, that's barely enough books to see me through two weeks of Lent.

I also bought a set of figurines called The Listeners. Seven unpainted clay figurines, in a basket, representing the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. Very cute. I'm hoping they'll make my wife overlook the books I've bought (...some promises about reading books I've already one really believes those promises anyway... you'll understand if you understand...).

Here is a catalog of the paraphernalia I lifted from the booths.
If anyone is interested in more information, let me know.

1. A flier from Catholics United for the Splendor of Truth; see
2. A free issue of "U.S. Catholic" magazine.
3. A free issue of "Salt" magazine, "for Christians who seek
social justice." From the publishers of "U.S. Catholic."
4. Spiritual Book News, from the Spiritual Book Associates
bookclub. Join now and get Thomas Keating's _Intimacy
with God_ and Max Oliva's _Free to Pray, Free to Love_
free. ( Oy, another bookclub? So soon after joining the
Mystery Guild? Doubtful.)
5. Volunteer Opportunitied Directory, Catholic Network of Volunteer
Service. Nationwide. Call 800-543-5046.
6. A catalog from Sheed and Ward (their motto is "the tradition
continues," not, as has been suggested, "mere modernist
7. A flier on the Sister Parish program. Jim McIntosh already
dished the skinny on this; the N.A. coordinator is
Ms. (o tempora, o mores!) Vicki Schmidt, in Fargo,
701-282-0480. (Jim's friend Sr. Rita Studer is also
pictured on the flier.)
8. 1993-94 Campaign for Human Development catalog.
9. A prayer card of St. Anthony Claret, founder of the Claretians.
The prayer is a prayer for vocations; the card was compliments
of the Claretian Vocation Office, one of several religious
orders which eyed me closely as I wandered about. And I though
wedding receptions were dangerous places for young, unmarried
10. A business card from a counsellor at the Claretian Vocation Office.
11. A flier on the life of St. Anthony Claret.
12. A vocational brochure from the Claretians (how _did_ that get
in there?).
13. A brochure on Liturgy Plus pastoral planning software. Their free
demo disk costs $20; call 1-800-736-7600. (There was a free
free demo disk for some other software for parish management,
but I didn't really need that.)
14. Informational fliers on the Campaign for Human Development.
15. Literature on the L.A. Archdiocesan Office of Justice and Peace
Legislative Network.
16. Flyers and an order form for St. Andrei Rublev icons. They're
quite nice. From greeting cards ($1.50) to 16x20 inch
plaques ($109.95). Designed by a New Mexican artist in a
traditional style.
17. A catalog from Ave Maria Press.
18. A sale catalog from Orbis Press.
19. A flier for what looks like a great game, "Divinity." More
properly, it's a "Catholic Catechism learning system...
that plays like a game." It's played on a board like
Monopoly, with squares you land on where you have to answer
questions on belief, the sacraments, Christian living and
prayer (there's no "Go;" you start at "Alpha" and you
end at "Omega;" no, it's not tacky at all). What I like
most about it is that it's the first board game I've seen
that comes with an Imprimatur.
20. A flier on "Classics of Western Spirituality, complete title
21. A St. Anthony Messenger Press catalog.
22. A copy of the "St. Anthony Messenger" magazine.
23. "Catholic Update" tracts on "The Fundamentalist Challenge"
and "Celebrating Lent in Your Home." From St. Anthony
Messenger Press.
24. A Servant Book Express catalog.
25. A brochure on the Lay Mission-Helpers Association.

I had a good time, didn't spend too much money, and believe I survived the experience without damage to my spiritual health.


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