L.A. Religious Education Congress – Closing Liturgy

This past weekend was the L.A. Religious Education Congress. Having attended the congress, I strongly encourage everyone to go at least once. Hundreds of booths, dozens of speakers, and liturgies of all kinds are celebrated in an uplifting and hopeful environment. At the L.A. Religious Education Congress around 35,000 youths and adults gather together. Their passion, faith, and love for God and the Church is palpable. I have never experienced anything like it before.

Just to give you a taste of what congress is like, here is this year’s video of their famed Closing Liturgy. Enjoy!



  1. From my perspective this was a beautiful and inspiring liturgy. I can only wonder, however, how the temple police will see it. The liturgical dance will surely come under scrutiny. What about the lack of hymns from Worship 4? What about the ban on flagons being consecrated and then having the Precious Blood poured into individual cups? Hmmmm.
    I was impressed with Abp. Gomez who seemed serene throughout. Are Opus Dei bishops supposed to be comfortable with contemporary liturgies? Did you see Cardinal Mahony on his right and Cardinal Rodriguez Madariaga on his left? All in all, very interesting. Thanks for the post, Chase.

  2. Ah, but don’t ya know that only old hippies who never grew up participate in contemporary styles of liturgy? All those young faces in the crowd must have been forced to attend. And the looks of joyful celebration on their faces must have been photoshopped in. Or else they’re all secularists who are just having a fun time being entertained at the party. Everyone knows that the kids all want Latin, chant, polyphony, ad orientam, smells and bells–if they ever get to experience it you won’t be able to keep them away!

    1. @Scott Pluff – comment #5:

      Scott, it all depends upon POV, perspective. Testimonials from individuals there, in the moment, are still from individuals. Video excerpts from any of the major Masses show, or could be edited to “prove,” that FCAP was just as incoherent at LAREC as would be from passers-by coming into a Missa Solemnis closing Mass at a CMAA colloquium.
      I won’t hitch my wagon to either experience as indicative of “grass-roots” practicum and philosophy at the parish level.

  3. I honor the place of highly-ritualized (high church) liturgical worship, alongside of other equally good paradigms of worship. It’s just that I have grown weary of young adherents of the R2 movement, some of whom I know personally, who make sweeping statements about contemporary forms of worship being dead. They cite anecdotal evidence of a few dozen young people attending a chant conference or a weekly Latin Mass as proof that this form of worship is on the verge of a resurgence. They overplay their hand, and they are not doing any good for their cause in their over-exuberance.

  4. Bill, that sort of commentary is at best obtuse, unnecessarily directed, and unhelpful towards advancing discussion. You know this.

    Scott, I know you have some presence over at MSF occasionally, but I’ve been singing your same song for many years regarding tolerance/intolerance in the Lit/music Wars at and within CMAA. I even posted my esoteric thoughts about what LAREC Masses might portend over there to little response, which is fine by me.
    I suspect that most of us geezer/lifers in this biz would have been more like our young friends like Ben, when we were their age, in their zeal. Rather than condemn that zeal from afar, I suspect that keeping lines of communication open to and with them is a much better strategy towards “Et unum sint” than further alienation. And regarding the scope of anecdotal evidence, folks like Ben aren’t handed the pre-fab opportunities to witness to 35K’s worth of catholics as are yearly provided to John Angotti and Tony Alonzo. The closest LAREC comes is the offering of a Byzantine Divine Liturgy; they seem totally disinclined to admit any of the various modes of novus ordo or vetus ordo of the ROMAN Rite. Why?
    The politics of divergence and division are alive and well within the Body of Christ, and it is now becoming frighteningly close to irreconcialible differences. And it’s all so needless….

    1. @Charles Culbreth – comment #10:
      “The politics of divergence and division are alive and well within the Body of Christ, and it is now becoming frighteningly close to irreconcialible differences.”

      A few things on this …

      1. It’s nothing new. The difference today is that critics no longer have recourse to the secular arm to punish dissent. The internet seems especially frustrating, especially for people who ban commenters. They can’t do anything more than that.

      2. The internet also magnifies this. It’s why it’s a good thing for us to have parishes and cultivate unity.

      3. Many people, notably many traditionalists, and even some bishops, don’t distinguish between unity and uniformity.

      “And it’s all so needless….”

      Well, it’s human nature.

      My long suggestion, which has landed on largely deaf ears is to engage in dialogue. That CMAA declines to participate in such dialogue results in an organization that marginalizes itself from the mainstream. They congratulate themselves on young people like Ben, but a few dozen? Compared to LAREC? And I don’t even like big conferences.

  5. I had several students in my high school choir who attended this congress, and I know they appreciated it. These same students are singing Palestrina in choir and loving it. And they also know that the music for an event such as this is not necessarily the same as a typical parish Mass. The divisions are not always as clear as we think they are among our youth.

    There was also what amounted to a post-communion performance, the concept of which has been decried many times on this blog.

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