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For 25 years, Mount Saint Mary's students, alumnae and campus ministry team have played a supporting role in the largest annual gathering of Catholics in the world - Los Angeles' Religious Education Congress.

A quarter-century partnership: Religious Education Congress

This weekend marks a more than 25-year partnership between Mount Saint Mary’s University and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’s Religious Education Congress, the largest annual gathering of Catholics in the world. The event, which runs from Feb. 25 through Feb. 28, is expected to draw 40,000 people to California’s Anaheim Convention Center.

Since the late 1980s, the Mount has played a supporting role in the event, including four major liturgies that each involves an estimated 8,000 participants. While Campus Ministry is leading the Mount’s involvement, several other departments and affiliates, including Religious Studies, the Mount’s new CSJ Institute, Admissions and MSMU Online also are participating in the event.

This year’s program, which is sponsored by the Archdiocese’s Office of Religious Education, will feature more than 200 speakers and some 300 workshops focusing on a wide range of topics, including social justice, personal growth, religious music and dance, spirituality, sexuality, healthcare decisions, and couples, family and parenting issues. All sessions will be presented in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.

“In many ways, Congress complements what Mount Saint Mary’s is all about,” says Campus Ministry Director Gail Gresser, who is a long-time member of the Congress’ Liturgy Committee. “It offers an exceptional opportunity for spiritual enrichment and theological education, and a dynamic setting in which to experience the Catholic Church in its enormous diversity of perspectives and cultures. And it provides Mount students with the chance to develop their leadership and ministry.”

In addition to the approximately 30 student campus ministers who will serve in a variety of capacities at all the major liturgies, several University staff will fill a number of high-profile leadership roles at the event:

  • On Saturday, Feb. 27, President Ann McElaney-Johnson will host the annual President’s Reception for approximately 150 students, faculty and staff, Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, alumnae and friends of the University. Also on Saturday, Campus Ministry will co-sponsor the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress lunch symposium for campus ministers from around the country. 

  • Campus Ministry Assistant Director Gaile Krause will coordinate Friday evening’s Mass of Compassion while fellow Assistant Director Laura Gomez will direct the music for the Saturday morning praise service and Linda Nguyen, program coordinator, will serve as Sunday liturgies’ Vietnamese-language cantor.

  • Student Affairs Assistant Director Maryann Nguyen is helping lead the four largest liturgies to be held Friday through Sunday and will lead the two Youth Day liturgies. She will be assisted by Alexis Salazar, ’13, resident minister, and Alejandra Angel, ’12, Confirmation coordinator.


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