« A quiet weekend with the monks | Main | Down in Florida »

February 21, 2005



Amy, I was one of the commentators from a previous post. Your books were prominently on display as were the classics.

I heard John Allen speak about the Four Papacies,Four Futures for the Church, which refers to four distinct "political parties" that he sees among the current College of Cardinals. Then he described what it might mean for the future of the Church if each groups were to produce a pope. He made it clear that this is speculation on his part based on oportunities he has had to interview Cardinals and engage them in conversations.
One interesting piece is that he has asked many cardinals what they consider to be the major issues facing the Church today. Three top issues that emerge are: governance and decision-making, secularization and how to engage the secular world--or not, and Islam an its relationship with Christianity.

I had the opportunity to listen to Fr. James Martin, an associate editor of America magazine, speak about the return of devotions in the Church. He discussed devotions in a postive way and explained their possibilites as well as some pitfalls. He brought out the ideas that the Mass and devotions are not mutually exclusive; they do not conflict with one another. Devotions flow from liturgy and lead back to liturgy. He said that among young people two "cool" devotions are adoration of the Eucharist and pilgrimages.

Another fine speaker was Fr. Ron Rolheiser who is now the president of the Oblate School of Theology. His topic was "pondering." He was refering to the Hebrew meaning of the word, not the Greek. Pondering means to "hold, carry, and transform tension so as not to give it back in kind." In this way we enter into deeper discipleship with Jesus and participate in His redemptive suffering, thus, helping to take away the sins of the world. In pondering we don't just admire Jesus; we imitate Him.

I also liked speakers Bill Heubsch, who talked about teaching adults prayer, and Fr. Richard Sparks, who discussed virtue.

Most of these talks are on tape and can be purchased through the L.A. R.E. Website for a reasonable price, if anyone is interested.


P.S. I forgot to mention the OSV booth. Yes, your books were also prominently on display there.

Why don't you plan to go to the next year's Congress as a visitor or maybe as a speaker? It's tentatively scheuduled for the end of March-beginning of April. It's a great experience. No one in my group of 12 had a anything negative to say.


I also attended LA Congress after a 20+ year hiatus and had a positive experience. I heard Bill Huebsch who is a talented presenter as well as having an excellent product to offer. Also Mary Rice Hopkins, a children's Christian musician, again with a product I want for my programs.

I attended the Young Adult liturgy on Saturday which was full of drama, lights, dance. The dynamic priest (from Louisiana) most definitely proclaimed Jesus both at the homily and at the Consecration and made an appealing pitch for vocations at the end. We opened Mass with a "all are welcome" litany and procession followed by liturgical dance (here and there throughout the liturgy) done by dancers in blousy tunics and pants - not a distraction as so often can be the case. Along the way I occasionally felt something niggling at me and it took 24 hours to figure it out - all the music was about us - we are welcome, we are changed, we are the body of Christ, we are sent as a blessing. Not bad thoughts but I think that was the source of my vague unease - since I am here to worship - let's talk about Jesus - the core message was indeed about Jesus - but I'd like to see the music be more vertical and less horizontal. I've recognized this emphasis in other diocesan RE events - and that's what it is - an emphasis - not anything heretical per se - but well, I guess I like my Christology high.

I did stop by Loyola and check for your books, Amy. They were featured prominently - didn't remember that you had done a bible study booklet for a study they offer...nice booth.

Zhou De-Ming

Went in 2003. The program, photos, etc are available at www.recongress.org

Sessions attended--

Donald Senior, CP; Biblical Vision of the Christian Vocation--not an exciting speaker.
Rev. J. Patrick Mullen, Ph.D.; Doing Beginning Bible Studies--very good; understands that Catholics don't bring a Bible to Bible study
Laurence Freeman, O.S.B.; Christian Meditation--"Ma-ra-na-tha-Ma-ra-na-tha"

James Finley, Ph.D.; A Beginners Guide to Contemplative Prayer--sit quietly, let thoughts come and go...
Dr. Richard R. Gaillardetz; New Foundations for a Theology of Ministry--still no idea what to do with laity...
Rt. Rev. Francis Kline, O.C.S.O.; Praying the Psalter--my favorite talk of the whole thing.

Rt. Rev. Francis Kline, O.C.S.O.; Taking the Eucharist Into the World--on the great commission at the end of the Eucharist, and also my last session before the giant closing liturgy.

The Congress is gigantic enough that a group of 15 people can attend from a parish and all have completely different experiences, some focusing on music, some on liturgy, some on youth, some on religious education, some on spirituality. There are typically 8 class sessions with 20 or so simultaneous sessions going. And simultaneous liturgies (black, jazz, contemplative, native american healing, etc.) in the evenings, and concerts in the arena in the evening. One evening went to "Celtic Vespers" taught by Dr. Megan McKenna; another evening went to "Contemplative Eucharist" presided at by Fr. Cyprian Consiglio, OSB Cam, and included chants in some language of India.

The great "coming together" is the closing liturgy with the Cardinal and bishops in the arena.

I'm not fond of convention exhibits, so I spent most of my time hanging out with the Trappist monks, with whom I also had dinner and concert one evening. I spent a long time talking with Abbot Francis Kline--probably the best part of the conference for me. He introduced me to author Michael Downey.

Everyone's experience will vary. There are about five years of program information on the website--enough to decide if you want to go. If you were musical, you could do this schedule in 2003:


Jesse Manibusan; Mass Confusion in the Music of Mass
Marty Haugen; Turn Our Hearts: Praying & Singing Our Faith Through Lament into Healing
Arthur Zannoni and David Haas: Come and Follow Me: Biblical and Musical Reflections on Discipleship


Marty Haugen: The Role of the Arts in Faith Formation of Young Adults
Jaime Cortez: Teaching Good Liturgy and Music Skills to Our Young Generation
Chris Walker: You Are the Music!


Bob Hurd with Anawim: Holy Is The Temple
David Haas: The Ministry of Liturgical Music: An Expression of the Spiritual Lif

Obviously, a Congress attendant who attended these 8 session with a musical emphasis would not have a single session in common with what I attended. Very different experiences for different people.



Gotta love it. LA's RE Congress is notorious for being the most liberal and "progressive" congress around, with liturgical anarchy and talks bordering on (or beyond) heresy.

I see that they had Fr. Sparks again this year - the Paulist priest who loves to talk (explicitly) about how homosexual acts and masturbation are "normal." He also loves to degrade the liturgy (as I've witnessed myself as a server at one of his Masses) and knock-down anyone who smacks of being "JP II".

And Haugen. Lovely. Let's dumb down the music some more shall we?

And of course, Bishop Trautman was there (or should I say Trautperson? LOL!), the one who is all for any changes in the liturgy, except the ones that Rome would prefer.

Lovely. Sounds like a blast. Another grand job by Cardinal Mahoney... :)

Grant Gallicho

Umm, were you actually there, "+veritas+"--or do you just like to lob from the sidelines?




I was waiting for the veritas comment. I went once about 8 years ago or so. I just haven't been able to take the time off work since then, but lots of people I know go, and I'd love to go back. I remember there being protestors there, objecting to the new language of the Mass (celebrant instead of priest, etc.) So, considering how many uber-conservatives there are here, I was waiting for the LA RE Congress thrashing and swipes at Mahoney.

And I wasn't disappointed! ;-)

Grant Gallicho

A couple observations that could complicate the idea that the Congress is an all-liberal affair:

The youth Mass included the Greek of the Kyrie and the Latin of the Agnus Dei.

There were at least two booths promoting chastity to young Catholics, one of which included free copies of the magazine "Love One Another."

Zhou De-Ming

And at one morning prayer that I attended in the Arena, there were antiphons and refarins in Latin!

Of course, having learned the Classical Latin pronunciation in school, and the Ecclesial Latin pronunciation in church, I was amused to learn the Valley Girl Latin pronunciation at the Congress. Fac me cocleario vomere!

Claude Muncey

I did check in at the booths and not only were your books promiently displayed, Amy, but the booth weasels, er, sales staff assured me that your titles were moving briskly.

(I have already posted my own reactions so far, including a longer discussion of John Allen's presentation on Opus Dei.)

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)