Sr. Lorena V. Briones participated in the Virtual 65th Religious Education Congress held in Los Angeles, California last February 18-21, 2021 with the theme, “Proclaim the Promise.”
Normally attended by about 45,000 delegates, this year’s RE Congress was held virtually due to Covid-19, hence gave the opportunity for us here in the Philippines to participate. The Office for the Promotion of New Evangelization/Philippine Conference on New Evangelization (OPNE/PCNE) offered one scholarship per congregation to join the event, permitting Church leaders in the Philippines to experience and benefit from the plenaries, workshops, liturgies, exhibits and other events of the Los Angeles RE Congress 2021, for their continuing formation.
The Congress observed Pacific Standard Time (PST). Live content was available for viewing at time of broadcast and On Demand once the live broadcast is finished. On demand content can be accessed any time after release but only until February 22, 2021.
Pope Francis gave the Opening Remarks livestreamed on the first day of the congress. Each day has a Keynote Address delivered both in English and Spanish except on the last day, which was given in English only.
There were thirty workshops in English for the three (3) consecutive days which are the following: Social Media and Catholic Culture of Contempt by Bishop Robert Barron, Getting to Know Jesus by Maggie Craig, We Are Not Alone: Receiving & Proclaiming the Promise in Our Suffering by Becky Eldredge, New Models of Faith Formation by Margaret Matijasevic, How to Teach, Feed and Save Your Family: Finding God In Our Family Meals by Fr. Leo E. Patalinghug, IVDei, Family Formation Meets Digital: Pandemic Response On New Evangelizing New Wineskin by Paulette Chapman & Tom Quinlan, Where Is God When…by Dr. Alex Gotay, Jr, Loving All Our Neighbors: Four Challenges in Multicultural (Multilingual) Parishes by Brett C. Hoover, PhD & Bro. Rufino Zamora, OFM, Surviving COVID 19: Spiritual Practices That Helped Me Heal in Mind, Body & Spirit by Anne Kertz Kernion, Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future- Pope Francis Looks Beyond the COVID Pandemic by Fr. Thomas Reese, SJ, Impact of Climate Change: New Alliance Between Science & Religion by Bishop Robert W. McElroy & Dr. Veerabhalran Ramanathan, The Catholic Way: Immigration Reform in a New Era by Linda Dakin-Grimm, Post Pandemic Faith Formation: Accompanying Families in New Ways by Paulette M. Chapman, Navigating the Psychological Toll of COVID, Wildfires and Other Crisis by Amy Florian, The Place Itself: Communities that Cherish in Our Inner Cities by Fr. Gregory J. Boyle, SJ, Faith & Science by Robert Feduccia, White, Fright, “Riot” by Matt Harper, From Womb to Tomb by Valimar Jansen, Re-imaging Tradition by John M. Rinaldo, Marketing, Branding and Positioning Your Parish Ministries in Our New Reality by Donna A. Heckler, At the Table by Fr. Joshua Johnson, 1, 2, 3, God Loves Me… by Anne Frawley Mangan & Michael Mangan, Learning to Pray by James Martin, SJ, Faith Formation in Blended or Virtual Catholic Environment by Paul Sanfrancesco, At the Digital Banquet by Rev. Ricky Manalo, CSP, Logging In for RCIA by Maichael Ruzicki, Mental Health in Ministry: A Healing Presence in the Lives of People Living with Mental Illness by Deacon Ed Shoener, Unleashing Your Team’s Potential: Cultivation A Culture of Discipleship and Leadership Development by Julianne Stanz, Accompanying Those Who Accompany Others: What the New Directory Says About Formation of Catechists by Dr. Joseph D. White.
There were also four workshops in Vietnamese Language. The speakers were all experts in their fields and gave stimulating content. Other activities were Sacred Space that highlighted various artists and their beautiful art and music to help the participants be inspired and drawn to prayer and reflection by their stories and works of art. Virtual Exhibit Hallwas available and one of the many exhibitors were the Daughters of St. Paul (Los Angeles), Live Concert & Youth Day. The day always began with Morning Rise and ended with Evening Calm, both intended to draw the participants into a contemplative experience. Another significant feature was the live Click. Connect. Converse – Zoom Rooms and Live Liturgies: Mass in Spanish, Indigenous and First Peoples Prayer Service, Filipino Celebration of 500 Years of Christianity (Liturgy of the Word: “We Give Our Yes” From Generation: Honoring our Ancestors in Faith, from the Vietnamese Perspective, A Sankofa Celebration of African American “Saints”; Black Culture Prayer Experience and a Trilingual Closing Liturgy.