RENEW International, a Catholic not-for-profit organization based in Plainfield, N.J., will begin celebrating its 40th anniversary by honoring four bishops who have demonstrated their dedication to evangelization. The Champions for Evangelization award will be presented during a reception at the United State Conference of Catholic Bishops Fall General Assembly in November to Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley. OFM, Cap, archbishop of Boston; Most Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio, bishop of Brooklyn; Most Rev. Michael Pfeifer, OMI, bishop emeritus of San Angelo; and Most Rev. Michael Sis, bishop of San Angelo.
Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, will offer an invocation before Joseph Cardinal Tobin, archbishop of Newark—RENEW’s home diocese—addresses the guests regarding his own experiences with a RENEW process when he was a pastor. Sister Terry Rickard, OP, president and executive director of RENEW, will present the awards to the four prelates who have partnered with RENEW in the work of evangelization, sponsoring RENEW small-group evangelization processes to deepen faith.
Cardinal O’Malley established the decade-long relationship between the Archdiocese of Boston and RENEW International. Boston was the first dioceses to participate in ARISE Together in Christ/LEVÁNTATE. Unámonos en Cristo. The partnership was so successful that, once it completed the process, the diocese immediately moved on to a deeper exploration of faith in Why Catholic? Many of the small groups established through these efforts are continuing with other RENEW resources. Throughout the years, RENEW was aided by Mary Ann McLaughlin and Ann Cussen from the archdiocesan Office of Spiritual Life who attended all of the hundreds of workshops held in the archdiocese throughout the years.
Bishop DiMarzio, a native of RENEW’s home archdiocese of Newark, was instrumental in bringing ARISE/LEVÁNTATE into the ethnically diverse Diocese of Brooklyn. The diocese asked RENEW to provide workshops in three languages—English, Spanish, and Haitian-Creole. Small groups in the diocese are also working in Chinese, and Braille editions have been provided. Theodore Musco, the Secretary for Evangelization and Catechesis who works closely with RENEW in the diocese said, “Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio's energetic promotion and sincere support of RENEW'S ARISE/LEVÁNTATE small faith-sharing groups in Brooklyn and Queens has made all the difference in its success. The people of the diocese have been renewed and evangelized thanks to his stellar leadership.”
Bishop Pfeifer introduced small groups into the Diocese of San Angelo with RENEW for the 21st Century. After the success of that program, Why Catholic?/¿Por que ser catolico? brought a deeper understanding of the faith to parishioners throughout the diocese. They then moved forward with the ARISE/LEVÁNTATE process. After Bishop Pfeifer’s retirement, Bishop Sis, seeing the success of the programs, decided to make the diocese one of the first to adopt RENEW’s newest process, Be My Witness/Sean mis testigos., which was inspired by Pope Francis’ landmark document, The Joy of the Gospel. Both bishops give credit for the success of the programs to Sister Hilda Marotta and Sister Adelina Garcia who head the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis. Bishop Sis commented, “While I do not consider myself to merit such a claim, I will be happy to receive the award on behalf of our diocese, along with Bishop Michael Pfeifer. In reality, the ones who deserve to be considered as RENEW Champions for Evangelization in our diocese would be Sister Hilda Marotta and Sister Adelina Garcia.”
The reception at the bishops’ assembly will be the first in a series of events celebrating RENEW International’s 40th anniversary of fostering renewal within the Catholic Church world-wide. On April 19, 2018, in partnership with the Center for Catholic Studies at Seton Hall University and America Media, RENEW will host the Monsignors Thomas Kleissler and Thomas Ivory Symposium on Parish Renewal at Seton Hall in South Orange, N.J. The event is named after the co-founders of RENEW. Father Matthew Malone, SJ of America Media will moderate the symposium which will feature William Simon of Parish Catalyst as the main speaker. Panelists will include best-selling author Chris Lowney; Leisa Anslinger of Catholic Life and Faith; Father Bismarck Chau, pastor of St. Patrick’s Pro-Cathedral in Newark; and Sister Terry Rickard of RENEW.
RENEW International will continue the celebrations with its 40th Anniversary Gala on June 7, 2018 at which several key figures in the founding of RENEW will be honored. In September, a group of RENEW supporters will make a pilgrimage to the spiritual capitals of Italy guided by Sister Terry and Father Anthony Randazzo of The Church of the Holy Trinity in Westfield, N.J. The year will end with a celebration of a Mass of Thanksgiving followed by a reception on November 4 at Our Lady of Mercy Church in Park Ridge, N.J., the first parish assignment for RENEW co-founder Father Tom Kleissler.
To learn more about RENEW’s 40th anniversary celebrations visit www.renewintl.org/celebrate40.
RENEW International, a Catholic not-for-profit organization based in Plainfield, N.J., will hold its eighteenth annual fundraising gala on June 8, 2017 at 6 p.m. at the Pleasantdale Chateau, West Orange, N.J. Sr. Terry Rickard, O.P., RENEW International’s president and executive director, will present awards to four notable Catholics whose lives reflect the values embodied in RENEW’s mission of empowering communities and individual women and men to live out their faith in daily life.
Honorees at this year’s Gala include former U.S. Representative Tony Coehlo, Sue and Dave Janazzo, and Msgr. Ed Ciuba.
The following are witnesses from participants in ARISE Together in Christ/LEVÁNTATE Unámonos en Cristo in the Diocese of Monterey, California. A total of 178 small groups in the diocese took part in the five-season process from RENEW International:
“ARISE has been a blessing for my parish community because I see the growth in our apostolic groups and because that people seem to be more sensitive in regards to their treatment of others people in the community. Some small groups put their faith into action, cooking food and distributing it to the homeless in the park areas. The sense of belonging among them was great, and the people receiving the food showed a great deal of appreciation.”
A Texas priest who is now pastor of a church in The Woodlands discerned his calling to holy orders while he was participating in a RENEW faith-sharing process.
Fr. Patrick Garrett, pastor of Sts. Simon and Jude Church in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston has said of RENEW 2000:
“That really is the source of my vocation.’’
“I am a late vocation,’’ Fr. Patrick explained. “I have been a priest for six years; I worked in industry for twenty years.’’
The pastor said he had participated in the original RENEW process in the early 1990s at St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Houston, but the small group he was in drifted apart.
When RENEW 2000 appeared in 1997, Fr. Patrick said, he signed up again.
“I had been involved in the RCIA program, and I put together a group from that ministry, both people who had come through RCIA and people who had worked in the ministry.
“We started meeting, and our faith flourished. We kept wanting to do more and discussing what that ‘more’ might be.’’
The small group continued to meet after completing RENEW 2000, Fr. Patrick said.
"We kept doing whatever program we could get our hands on; we kept meeting and challenging each other to grow in faith.’’
In 2003, the men in the group started discussing the possibility of formation for the permanent diaconate.
“At the time, I couldn’t take part in the process because of my work schedule. I was traveling a lot, and I couldn’t start discernment.’’
As the group kept meeting, though, Fr. Patrick discerned his call to the priesthood.
He entered the seminary in 2003 and was ordained in 2009.
For nearly four years, he has been pastor of Sts. Simon and Jude.
“Because of my experience with Renew 2000,’’ he said, “I was adamant that we be part of ARISE’ —meaning ARISE Together in Christ, the faith-sharing process from RENEW International. “We were part of the first group of parishes to do ARISE in this archdiocese,’’ Fr. Patrick said.
Fr. Patrick said the parish has ARISE activities for various age groups in both English and Spanish.
“We have targeted having more young families involved with our ARISE program,” Fr. Patrick said, “and we have been real pleased with the number of families that have started to participate.’’
The 17th Annual RENEW Gala is fast approaching. Each year we honor three outstanding Catholics who make the connection between their faith and their everyday lives. This year, we are proud to honor Joseph Franzetti, Renée DeGagné, and Mary Ryan.
For a group of men in a California prison, being incarcerated does not have to mean “out of sight, out of mind.” That’s thanks to the social justice ministries at the Cathedral of the Annunciation Parish in Stockton.
Parishioners are very conscious of the men housed at the nearby Deuel Vocational Institution (DVI) who participate in faith-sharing and other faith-based activities that have included small-group processes from RENEW International.
DVI serves the corrections system in a section of central California as a reception center where people who have been sentenced are evaluated for placement in other facilities, but from 300 to 400 inmates serve their time at Deuel.
Irene Killian de Ojeda, who directs the social justice ministries at the cathedral parish, has been active at DVI for almost ten years and meets weekly with a group of ten to twelve men who, she said, have taken very well to faith sharing in a small group.
Among the RENEW resources the men have used have been LEVÁNTATE. Unámonos en Cristo; La justicia brota de la fe, which focuses on social justice; and Reflexiones en Cuaresma, a Lenten series.
“We also conduct Bible study sessions,’’ Irene said. I do a series of talks about the social teachings of the Church, so they know about social justice. I’m also doing an eight-week series using the study guide on Pope Francis’ message The Joy of the Gospel.”
Faith-sharing in small groups in a diocese in Ontario led to three celebrations of the indigenous cultures in that part of Canada.
The celebrations were organized after English- and French-speaking Catholics in the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario completed the third season of ARISE Together with Christ—known in French as DEBOUT Ensemble dans le Christ.
Jeanne McHarg, coordinator of the English-speaking ARISE program in the diocese, said that after the third season—which has a social-justice theme—she and the French-speaking coordinator, Mijou Pelletier, met with Bishop Jean-Louis Plouffe to discuss how the ARISE participants might put their faith into practice in the community.
“He said he would like us to do something with the indigenous people,” Jeanne said.
That population includes First Nation and Métis people and a small number of Inuit, some living on “reserves” and others in the community at large.
RENEW International recently completed its four-year engagement in the Diocese of Amarillo where parishes were engaged in Why Catholic? Journey Through the Catechism and Â¿Por quÃ© ser catÃ³lico?
Over the years, RENEWâ€™s presentersâ€”Sr. Kass Collins, Alma Garcia, Sr. Pat Thomas, Dr. Laura Zane Kolmar, Anne Scanlan, and Manuel Hernandezâ€”travelled to this mission diocese, which is small in number of parishes yet vast in area. There, they were met with enthusiasm by parish teams in both English and Spanish. To support this effort, RENEW partnered with Catholic Extension, an outreach organization that funds pastoral initiatives in less economically-developed areas of the U.S. Catholic Church.
Recently, Bishop Patrick Zurek extended his gratitude to RENEWâ€™s staff in a gracious personal letter of thanks. He described the significant blessings of Why Catholic? for the people of his dioceseâ€”increased understanding of the Catholic faith, the desire to speak of faith to family and friends, more integration in parish life, and friendships among those of different ethnic groups.
Few things are as easily taken for granted as clean water, and that fact prompted a small Christian community in New Jersey to help their brothers and sisters half-way around the world.
According to Jackie McNulty of St. Mary/St. Andrew Parish in Bayonne, the small group that was experiencing its second season of ARISE Together in Christ from RENEW International was determined to turn faith into action.
During the third session of that ARISE season, the group was meditating on the story in the Gospel of John about the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well.
“We were all so moved by the story,’’ Jackie said, “that we were inspired to donate some bottled water to the local food pantry and bring it with us to Mass the following Sunday. Our entire group participated in this activity.”
The group was so motivated, that they wanted to act in a more far-reaching way to bring water to people in need—perhaps by making a donation to an organization that provides water resources in the developing world—and one of the members, Maisie Prussak was chosen to bring the idea to the pastor, Fr. Peter Wehrle.
Why Catholic? participants in Delhi (pronounced DEL-hi) in Ontario, Canada, took advantage of a weekend fall festival to show the whole community the enthusiasm surrounding the faith-sharing process from RENEW International.