Not of the Washington, but of the Los Angeles sort. In a few days, the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress will set sail yet again, with tens of thousands of Catholics (and friends) on board for music, workshops, lectures, panels, liturgy, and all manner of Catholic revelry and reverie. In the multifarious peoples and their diverse practices gathered, this is the best annual snapshot of U.S. Catholicism. How many refrains of "One Bread, One Body" are hummed to pass the time! How many rosaries, scapulars, and holy cards are newly prized! How many Catholic deals go down! (And how many thousands will attend the popular sessions of Fr. James Martin, of this very blog and magazine?!)
This will be my ninth year of presenting at the Congress, and I’ll be offering two sessions. One is titled "Are Lay Catholics ’Secular’?", and will look at different meanings of secularity and their significance for lay Catholic practice. The other is a panel I’ll be moderating, "Spirituality and the Parenting of Lesbian and Gay Catholics," featuring four LA-area Catholics speaking about the topic. No doubt I will see many of you there, and I look forward to this annual Catholic carnival. It is the one time a year for me when hope for who Catholics are and may yet become is simply irrepressible.
Hastings-on-Hudson, New York