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  • March 26, 2015
  • 2:05 pm

RECongress Wrap-up

At IPS, it is about working hard and having meaningful conversation, all while enjoying the company you are with. During this year’s Religious Education Congress, a few of our team members showed exactly how that is done!

IPS was well represented this year by our Director Brian Schmisek, Enrollment Advisor Chrissy Sofranko, Coordinator of Parish Leadership and Management Programs Mark Bersano, and Coordinator of Student Services Koonal Patel.

For everyone, the main goal of the event was to get as many people as possible interested in IPS. The numerical goal was set at 80 new prospects, and by the end of the second day, they achieved that goal! Moreover, by the end of the third and final day, our IPS team had almost 100 new prospects!
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“We wanted to have really engaging interactions with people who came to our booth. We wanted them to leave remembering us more than any other university they interacted with,” commented Chrissy. “Being in the booth with Koonal, Mark and Brian is a lot of fun. We are all extraverted and energetic, so we created interactions that made us memorable to the participants.”

“Talking to the prospective students also gives us a chance to discern what they are looking for career wise and if IPS would be a good fit for them,” added Koonal.

Mark and Brian also made it a point to showcase the new programs at IPS and connect with alumni and friends who attended. It was also important for them to network with people that IPS could create potential partnerships with in the future.

The annual RECongress event is indeed very beneficial to IPS.

“It has been the most successful RECongress we have ever been to in terms of the number of people who stopped by our booth, the number of people who liked us on Facebook, the people who showed up at the alumni event, and the people interested in the new programs we have to offer,” noted Brian.

“We already have a lot of established relationships with speakers and constituents, so we want to foster those relationships,” added Chrissy. “We also want to reach out to students who are interested in our online programs. IPS offers three different Master degrees that can be pursued entirely online.”

Koonal made a good point when he said, “It is good to know what people want to do and what they are interested in, so at IPS, we can tailor our programs and classes to what is needed.”

With over 40,000 people at RECongress, the energy in the room is dynamic and palpable.

“Everybody is represented there. You can find Catholic publishers, rosary vendors, universities, seminaries, religious orders and more. This allows for great conversation for how to move things forward in the church with energy,” commented Mark.

“It was great just meeting so many people that have shared values and are interested in ministerial education,” added Brian.

This year was even more special because Brian was asked to lead two sessions during RECongress. During his talks, he discussed “Resurrection Faith” and “Pauline Spirituality for Lent.”

“It was a bonus to have those,” said Brian. “IPS attends each year and being asked to speak this year was an honor. It was great to connect with people who are interested in those topics.”


Everyone agreed that the IPS alumni and friends reception was their favorite part of the trip.

“It was a wonderful chance to talk to people and hear about their experiences at IPS. We were also able to brainstorm how we could work together in the future,” said Mark. “We even rounded up people at our booth to come to the event.”

“It was a great way to connect with our online students, who we do not always get to meet in person,” noted Koonal. “The reception is also more laid back, so we can have longer conversations with people and hear what they have been doing or are interested in doing.”

At the end of the IPS reception, guests were treated to a nice view of the Disneyland fireworks show. In fact, the Disney fireworks were so nice, that a few of our staff members even found their way to the park for some fun after the busy weekend.

Overall, they said it was a successful and fun event, and they look forward to next year! Not to mention how nice it was to be in California in March.

With over 40,000 people in attendance, RECongress is the largest annual gathering of its kind in the world. It hosts a variety of workshops, exhibitors and more.


The theme for this year was “See” or “Ver.” It was chosen from the blind man’s encounter in John 9: 1-41.

The Congress says, “Reflecting on this amazing scenario, our imaginations are stretched, we are drawn to see beneath the surface and discover the paradox: the blind man is the one who sees while the seeing ones are entombed in their own darkness… Spiritual blindness is at the center of the exchange and the challenge for all is to see at a deeper level… We are encouraged then to renew our vision, open up to the life-changing Light of Christ, and lead others to See anew.”



Join the conversation by following @BrianSchmisek on Twitter and @LoyolaIPS on Instagram! Also, network with the Loyola Chicago IPS community on LinkedIn.