A trio of Redemptorist missionaries – Vocation Directors Fr. Luong Uong and Fr. Lamar Partin, and Br. John (Son) Tran – participated in the Religious Education Congress, the largest gathering of Roman Catholics in the United States held every year in Anaheim, CA. Now in its 51st year, the Congress offers participants a unique opportunity to grow in faith, take part in formational workshops and inspiring liturgies, and connect with the worldwide Church. More than 40,000 people – including visitors from as far away as Australia and the United Kingdom – attended the event held on February 24-26. “The spirit, energy and enthusiasm of the priests, religious sisters and brothers, and laity who dedicate their gifts to serve the Church in faith formation for children shows great hope for the future,” Fr. Luong said.
The Redemptorists enjoyed a steady flow of visitors at their booth, where they distributed vocation materials and took advantage of the opportunity to promote devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help and Blessed Francis Seelos. “We spoke with quite a few vocation prospects, but we shared Perpetual Help Jubilee novena prayer cards and pins with many others, and gave special blessings with a first-class relic of Blessed Seelos to anyone who asked. After receiving the blessing, many people wrote prayer intentions that will be placed at the tomb of Blessed Seelos in New Orleans,” Fr. Luong said. Interaction at the booth so impressed a lady working at another booth that she exclaimed, “These three Redemptorists in their habits are such witnesses of joy: not only in their faces, but also in their ministry. They live and respond to the words of Pope Francis: to be a Christian is to be joyful always.”
Sponsored by the Office of Religious Education of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the three-day event featured more than 300 workshops on topics ranging from personal growth to music, presented in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. A total of 16 Eucharistic liturgies were offered, including: Celtic, Care of the Earth in the Hawaiian tradition and Contemplative in the Filipino tradition, as well as Preservation of Peace & Justice in the African-American tradition, a Mass of Healing and distinct Masses for Immigrants, Exiles and Refugees. More than 500 booths in the free exhibit area showcased companies ranging from religious art and music to publishing houses and educational institutions. Participants also enjoyed a variety of free entertainment, including concerts from contemporary Christian bands and leading Latino composers and artists.
Article and photos submitted by Fr. Luong Uong and Fr. Lamar Partin