The National Catholic Review

America was one of the many participants in the 2012 Los Angeles Religious Education Congress.  For those who haven't experienced "Congress," it's hard to describe the sheer magnitude of the event: tens of thousands of Catholics (both clergy and lay) from around the world doing almost every type of ministry in the church; scores of speakers (e.g., Ronald Rolheiser, OMI; Helen Prejean, CSJ; John L. Allen, Jr.); and hundreds of exhibitors, all coming together to help one another better promote the faith.  And Congress's Youth Day, the day before the adult participants arrive attracts thousands of young Catholics from Southern California. 

For me, Congress always a real shot in the spiritual arm, reminding me of the underlying health of the Body of Christ.  (This year the "Mid-Atlantic Congress" revived the tradition of the East Coast gathering.)  For most attendees, it's an opportunity to learn more about their own fields of interest--e.g., Scripture, sacramental theology, young adult catechesis, music ministry, pastoral counseling, and so on, from some of the country's leading scholars and practioners  It's also a chance to learn about unfamiliar fields, and to worship with great and enthusiastic crowds of fellow believers.  Finally, it's a chance to catch up with friends and professional colleagues.  As I said, it's always hard convey the sheer size and spirit (or rather Spirit) of Congress, but this video from Loyola Productions (also a participant) gives you a glimpse of the vastness of "Congress." 



Bill Mazzella | 4/2/2012 - 11:05pm
Why does Los Angeles get this conference and not New York. Does NY have anything similar?
Jim McCrea | 4/1/2012 - 5:41pm
JM, SJ - that's good to know.  Maybe His Lordship isn't into smiling in public very much.
Jim McCrea | 3/31/2012 - 6:36pm
I am glad that the lies of John Hardon, SJ, Raymond Arroyo, "Mother" Angelica, "Fr" Robert Sirico, "Fr" John Corapi et al are not attendees nor presenters.
Jim McCrea | 3/30/2012 - 5:45pm
In watching some of the videos of the Congress, the new OD Archbishop looked anything but happy to be there and far from pleased with what he was being bombarded with.
ed gleason | 3/30/2012 - 5:18pm
What's really great too is that the vast  variety of speakers shout out loud that big tent Catholicism still lives. And any change will be a death panel.