Every year the Archdiocese of Los Angeles hosts the Religious Education Congress better known as #RECongress. It is the largest gathering of Catholics in the United States, drawing more than 30-thousand attendees from all over the world. This year there will be 308 sessions covering 40 topics of interest. 12 liturgies reflecting the universality of the church with masses for the Black, Vietnamese, Spanish and Byzantine communities.
For many people who are in the thick of Lent at their parishes, attendance at this year’s event proved to be challenging. That’s what inspired this post to let those of you who can’t make it this year in person know you can still experience “Congress” virtually.
You can watch a variety of events via Livestream in English and Spanish! This would be an awesome opportunity for you to host a watch party at your parish. If you are a catechist this is a great way to bring the catechumens together to hear from some of the young evangelist speaking to this generation. Featured speakers via Livestream will include keynotes from, Fr. Mark Schmitz "Unstoppable Confidence: Trust in a World Where Everyone Dies in the End", Katie Prejean McGrady "She Said What? Mary, Our Mother". The other option is to watch the replays via the #RECongress You Tube Channel if you click the subscribe button each time a video is uploaded you will receive a notification with a link to the new video.
Some of the most popular speakers at Congress are Bishop Barron, Fr. Tony Ricard, Fr. Ronald Rolheiser, Fr. James Martin and Dr. Kathy Bryant all of which will have their presentations available via Livestream. The opening and closing liturgies will also be available to you virtually.
With over 30-thousand people registered to attend #RECongress this hashtag will definitely be trending across all social media platforms. So whether you are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, SnapChat or even Whisper. A search of the hashtag will reveal how people are experiencing the conference. Following the hashtag will provide a plethora of insight, tips, pictures and valuable pieces of content that can be used for your personal or parish social media to share with followers beyond the weekend.
You can also follow the#RECongress Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages for what’s happening each day of the event and share it on your personal and parish pages.
The #RECongress App
There is an app that is available via both app stores for you to reach out to speakers, track the daily schedule and even check out who is exhibiting. For those of you attending the conference you may design your schedule for the day. Most of us will bring business cards to exchange, but with the volumes of people that you will encounter over the weekend it is simply overwhelming to keep track of them and remember why you took the card in the first place. When you create your profile your contact information is uploaded and accessible to everyone who downloads the app. The profile information includes: Name, Title, Diocese, Parish or Company Name, Phone Number, Email Address and a Short Bio to outline who you are and what you do! Just make sure to set all your privacy settings to allow others to see the information you would like available. So imagine going to one place and all your connections are in one place. Not everyone will download the app and that discussion would be another article, but this will lower the number of physical pieces of paper to keep track of. There are two ways to add workshops to your personal calendar. The first is if you are in the speaker tab and tap a workshop listed in their details then in the top right corner tap the star icon and then the calendar icon next to it. Tap Save and it will be added to your personal calendar associated with your phone. The other option is to go to the schedule tab and tap the schedule at a glance option for English or Spanish. Here you can toggle between the days by taping the date you are interested in and again tap the option you are interested in and tap the star icon and calendar icon to add it to your personal calendar. It even allows you to write notes attached to the session, like the session and leave a comment or question.Another important tab labeled exhibitors on the app allows you to find companies or business contacts for various aspects of religious education who will be exhibiting at Congress. You may scroll the list that will be in alphabetic order to quickly find the booth assignment number or tap the search icon and type in the entity you are looking for. When you find the entity you are looking for tap it and detailed contact information will be provided and also allows you to endorse them with a thumbs up!You can easily post to your social media via the app directly to your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest pages and don’t forget to use the official hashtags #RECongress #TrustGodsGotchu #ThirstingforJustice #LAYouthDay to generate positive posts about our Catholic family, friends and FAITH.Those are just six of the 17 tabs available in the app to help you navigate your Congress experience. So download the app today!
I will be there in person and if you want to meet me I will be serving as a volunteer at the following sessions:
Friday - Reforming Church Governance: What Pope Francis Has Done and What He Needs to Do presented by Fr. Thomas Reese
Saturday - #PrayingWithHashtags presented by Margaret Matijasevic and Douglas Leal
Sunday - Sign of the Times: A Review of the Worldwide Catholic Landscape presented by John Allen Jr. and Youth and Young Adult Ministry in 2019 and Beyond: What Await Us? presented by Michael Theisen
And I will lector at both the closing masses on Sunday and at the Black Culture Mass on Saturday.
Hope to see you at #RECongress!