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.
Aww yes the freak show comes back to life!
At least the speakers are no longer chosen by Sister Edith Prendergass, who came too close to the line of promoting heresy and indeed may have crossed it. Good riddance to her, and, hopefully, to the REC altogether. Archbishop Gomez is a good, faithful shepherd. Why doesn’t he act more decisively to rein in the aberrations from the likes of James Martin, Bryan Massingale, Greg Boyle, etc.?
By his inaction the good archbishop confuses and disappoints us.
I hope it dies. Please, God, may this be the last year of the REC.
only 5,000 to go
Good news that interest in this has dropped so significantly.
All of the old, gray-haired Religious Ed, coordinators are shuffling off this mortal coil.
And because of 50 years of nothing but C.C.D. (“Cut, Color and Draw”) younger people have no interest in replacing them.
Mainly because they have no interest in the Catholic Faith.
Gomez has been such a disappointment.
Did Covid kill that many elderly Catholics who used to attend this event?
Oh my goodness, ashamed to admit my husband and I went to this about 15 years ago before we knew better. But it was the beginning of waking us up. There was just one old lady protesting outside and holding a grim reaper. I will never forget her and thank God for Catholics like her and for the SSPX priests and the good they are doing preserving the Faith for those who can find it.
One of the very few good things to come out of this “pandemic” is the reduced number of souls exposed to this atrocity.
Want to hear the Congress theme song?
Here, Friend. These are also used at church.
Sarah Hart writes some of the most horrid music. I can’t understand why so many post-menopausal women like her dreck. I can’t understand why so many parish music programs perform her stuff at Mass.
Thanks for posting this. It is a great song and a great video. Especially for those anticipating Baptism on Easter and those who give of themselves all year to prepare them.
Please pray for every person in the world to come to know Christ and accept baptism.
All the Catholic modernists are still involved in their personal covid paralysis.
Thanks be to God for the decline in attendance. It should wake up the instigators to see how far off the beam they are. Fr. Spitzer is wonderful, however, and brave to present. There are probably orthodox speakers besides Fr. Spitzer, but overall, the couple of times I was obliged to attend this LA conference were painful. While cringing, I noted some foreign-born catechist friends of mine, women of deep faith, who seemed inspired and not at all bothered by the distressing things that were being implied or taught outright. God bless the resiliency of their faith. The bad stuff seemed to bounce off them and leave them unscathed. I assumed that they did not in fact comprehend it and were hearing what the Holy Spirit wanted them to hear.
At 52 seconds there is a mention of the word “Savior” and at 1:50 a mention of the word “God.” The rest is “living waters.” This sounds as if the song was meant as a gentle invitation to non-Christians to consider baptism. When I say “gentle” I mean very indirect. No mention of Jesus, the cross, or the atonement for sins and forgiveness of sins. But we know this song is the theme song for Catholics meeting to further their religious education, who presumably understand baptism well enough. This song, therefore, reaches out to an audience that is not likely to come to the Congress, but is clearly intended for Congress. Make of that what you will. That aside, it is a catchy tune and IMO enthusiastically presented. Some skill is evidenced in its writing and arrangement. May it be used by our Lord to strengthen Catholics who hear this and just need encouragement, for that is the only use I see of it as the theme song for the REC.
Your observations are correct. What I’ll add to your remarks is that OCP, the publisher behind this particular composer and song, has for the past twenty years attempted to refashion Catholic music for Mass in the style of soft rock, such as this song, and has tried to compete with Evangelical Christian bands such as Hillsong. The song lyrics are typically vague on references to God or matters of faith and heavily emphasize “welcome,” “love,” or other emotions or unobjectionable pablum. You’ll find a lot of this music creeping into OCP’s “Breaking Bread” hymnals, which are used in the vast majority of Catholic parishes nationwide and in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. So OCP is very influential in determining what music Catholics hear at Mass.
After listening to this song, myself, I concluded that it has no place being sung at Mass.
With fewer than 5,000 people attending the weekend convention this year, it will be interesting to see how empty the arena is for the liturgies.
Hope you mentioned your musical preferences when filling out your synodal survey.
No one understands baptism well enough. Keep working at it.
Love the crucifix and the rosary in the video.
I always rejoice at faith.
“No one understands baptism well enough. Keep working at it.” What a strange statement. What are we to work at? We have doctors of the Church and catechisms that have explored baptism quite well. We have clear teaching in Scripture on which the Church has plumbed the depth of for 2000 years. I believe these sources represent an adequate understanding of baptism, don’t you think?
Nope. God is infinite and beyond our understanding.
But the sacrament of baptism is finite and capable of being understood.
The Education Congress should be about the protection of all life from conception to a natural death. It should also be about the protection of the traditional family of a mother and father and all natural born children. Protect the Sanctity of all life and family now and forever.
I think you have the RECongress confused with the old SCRC Convention that also used to be held at the Anaheim Convention Center.
This is a religious education congress for catechists. Those things should be included but it should be catechetical methods and review of Catholic truths and whatever needs the catechists themselves have run into.
Catechists in LA probably get different questions than catechists in the Bible Belt.
Even though the event originated as being for catechists, it’s now a catch-all for anything pertaining to Catholic parish or school life.
Mostly, though, it’s a commercialized extravaganza where publishers and singer-songwriters showcase their newest materials for purchase.
The liturgies, for example, are commercial showcases for new music.
Speakers have new books to peddle, and you can get your book signed by the author.
It’s shameful how brazen the promotions are.
I know. I attended for years.
Apparently you’ve never been a catechist, religion teacher, RCIA coordinator, involved in sacrament prep, etc. imagine if you will teaching a first communion class through your lens?
Fr. James Martin is a speaker at the RECongress, although only in the virtual option this year. Has been for years. Despite the past five or six years of his blatant LGBT activism for the church to change its teaching. Enough said about the event.
All of the protests about it have been concerning the choice of speakers or the liturgy.
I do not live in LA or work for their diocese. I do know that when a protest on the Internet and social media arises in our diocese (they have been minor), there is an immediate bunker mentality that arises.
I had an experience where I complained about a speaker (elsewhere). The next time when I went to confession, after I confessed my sins the priest said “and judgmentalism.”
Maybe the Holy Spirit told him to add that to my list of sins.
My dad worked in HR and taught us to never complain to the boss. He only wants to hear the good stuff.
The church loses people year after year. Sure, don’t complain. Soon there won’t be anyone left in the church.
The true faithful will be left.
I heard the youth day today was empty.
Perhaps you heard wrong?
Archdiocese posted a video: shows a room that’s pretty empty of “youth” for it being a youth day even though they did their best to hide the low attendance.
Look at the Facebook posts. Hardly anyone.
There are a lot of people at the Mass but it is dark so it is hard to tell if it is full.
The youtube video is after it is over.
I would love to see the R.E. Congress completely transformed into a real Catholic event than see it demolished. It could be a very powerful event with great experiences. I’ve been to this on a couple of occasions when I was a young Priest and found that the best part of the event was seeing friends and conversing with folks I’d never met before. I don’t remember even one good talk.
The Liturgies I attended were more “Stage Play” than anything else. Even the Youth Day Mass, which was meant to be a copy of some Calvary Chapel event, didn’t seem to move the young people. They looked as bored as possible, much like they do at most Sunday Masses.
The times where I have seen the young people really be effected at Liturgy was when we’ve had a silent adoration, without someone strumming a guitar and singing some goofy Neo-Protestant hit, complete with heresy in the message. The silence and the simple beauty of Exposition, Adoration and Benediction brings them to something they’ve rarely seen in a Parish, and that’s “Dignity and Reverence in Liturgy”. It’s a foreign concept in many R.E. and Confirmation Programs and also in a lot of R.C.I.A. events.
Imagine if the R.E. Congress were turned into a three day event of orthodox Catholic teaching Liturgy with Dignity, Reverence and the real Tradition of the Church. Now THAT could be an extremely spiritual experience!
Anyone interested in watching the events can see the official videos from the archdiocese here: