Two years after its last full in-person attendance and a year removed from an all-virtual presentation, this month’s Los Angeles Religious Education Congress will be a hybrid event for the first time in its history. [Click here to see past controversies.]

“A lot of energy, heart, and mind has gone into Congress’ logistics,” said Sister Rosalia Meza, senior director of the Office for Religious Education….

Speaking to Angelus News, Sister Rosalia acknowledged the 2022 Congress will be held on a smaller scale and will be a “bit different” from past Congresses….

In-person attendance, once as large as 40,000, will be closer to 5,000 this year, Sister Rosalia estimates. Identification, proof of vaccination, and indoor masking will all be required. All transactions are cashless at the Convention Center — debit or credit cards only….

Live participants will be able to attend the opening event, keynote talks, workshops, liturgies, sacred space, art exhibits, film showcases and wander the exhibit hall. Other years have seen as many as 280 workshops. This year’s will have just shy of 100 one-hour sessions (available in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese), down from the previous 90-minute format.

Congress favorites like Father Greg Boyle, Bishop Robert Barron, Father Robert Spitzer, and Sister Norma Pimentel will be among those speaking in person. The pool of in-person speakers purposefully focused on those able to come from nearby LA, Orange County, and other states.

This year’s Thursday “Youth Day” ($35/person registration, which closes at midnight March 13) will welcome high school students March 17 with the theme, “Let God Take the Wheel,” the subject of a talk by keynote speaker Ansel Augustin from Vagabond Missions in New Orleans.

Linda Dakin-Grimm of the Southern California Catholic Task Force on Immigration will return for a Sunday afternoon workshop for her annual talk on the intersection of faith with immigration law and practice. She admits she’s curious to see what the smaller crowd will be like….

More than 10,000 signed up for the all-virtual event in mid-February 2021….

Sister Rosalia explained that when planning the 2022 REC, there was a period of time when no one overseas could count on flying in to participate. That meant the virtual option platform was geared to focus more on international speakers. Virtual workshop hosts this year include John Allen Jr. and the Catholic Faith Network’s Msgr. Jim Vlaun….

The above comes from a March 14 story in Angelus News.