This past week many of us from Franciscan Media had the opportunity to attend the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, held in Anaheim at the convention center. With approximately 180 speakers, countless workshops, many publishers and retailers on the show floor, and over 40,000 attendees, this was a spectacular gathering of Catholics. Each day ended with liturgies from around the world: Hawaiian, Nigerian, Urban Fusion, Celtic, Gospel, Spanish/Mayan, and Filipino.
I was struck by the sheer numbers, but also by the incredible diversity I saw all around me. It reminded me of what Mike Aquilina said in his recent book, Yours Is the Church, as he talked about what the Church of the future will look like:
“It will look like the human race – colorful, infinitely diverse, but all one family of God’s children. It will be truly Catholic – a word that means ‘universal.’ It will be enriched by beautiful traditions from all over the planet.”
During these days, when the world is watching as Pope Benedict steps down and a new pope is elected, it’s good to reflect on how universal and vital our Church really is. Events like the LA Congress are great examples!