Many New Jerseyans have one primary destination in the summer: the beach.
The sands of the Atlantic coast provides a place for getting a tan, swimming and surfing, playing volleyball and Frisbee, and just unwinding.
And for 27 members of a parish in Long Branch, the beach this summer also provided a setting for drawing closer to the Virgin Mary.
Deacon Eugene Somma of St. Michael’s Church on Ocean Avenue led the group, which gathered on the beach in North Long Branch, in At Prayer with Mary,a resource from RENEW International.
At Prayer with Mary, written by Father John Phelan and Brother James Posluszny, both members of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, provides seven sessions that include prayer, scripture, personal reflections, faith sharing, and commitment to gospel action in everyday life.
Many New Jerseyans have one primary destination in the summer: the beach.
A conversation between members of an ARISE group led to a moving visit to Tanzania for an Ontario man.
John Couto of Listowel, Ontario, said he had thought about joining a mission trip but didn’t act on it until Patricia Graham—a fellow member of an ARISE small group—spoke, during one of the group’s sessions, about Chalice, a Catholic organization based in Nova Scotia.
John learned that Chalice assists people in need in Asia, Haiti, Latin America, Ukraine, and Africa.
The opportunities Chalice offers include sponsoring individual people—mostly children, but some adults, too—with donations of $33 per month.
“When I heard of Chalice,’’ John said, “I contacted them and sponsored two children—one in Peru and one in Tanzania.
“After a few weeks, Chalice contacted me with information about a mission going to Tanzania. I signed up for it, and we went in August of 2012.’’
John said the group, comprising 24 people from across Canada, conducted a two-week medical mission in two regions in the southern part of Tanzania, which is situated on the Indian Ocean in East Africa and is one of the poorest countries in the world.
The trip John joined was the beginning of a three-year mission to the two locales in Tanzania, focusing on maternal and family health. He said the mission group consisted of medical doctors, dentists, nurses, and some support volunteers like him.
"See, I am doing a new thing! ... do you not perceive it?" -Isaiah 43:18
If anything could add to the joy of the Easter vigil, it would be the unlikely occasion of three couples beginning their lives together in matrimony.
And that's exactly what happened last Easter when three couples were married during the vigil Mass at Santos Ãngeles Custodios Parish in the Archdiocese of Valencia in Venezuela.
The extraordinary occasion was the direct result of RENEW International's faith-sharing process, ¿Por que ser catolico? (Why Catholic?), through which small Christian communities explore the teachings of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
When the process was launched in Valencia with financial support from the Vollmer Foundation, 22 parishes participated - parishes that had recently taken part in Mision Continental, a mission endorsed by all of the bishops in South America and the Caribbean to inspire renewal in the Church.
On a recent trip to the Archdiocese of Anchorage, RENEW International’s Sr. Maureen Colleary, FSP had the opportunity to discuss the Catholic Native Ministry’s experience of Lenten Longings with their coordinator, Sr. Frances Vista, DC.
Sr. Frances reported that there were seven faith-sharing groups with 55 participants. She shared that Lenten Longings was a meaningful experience for the Native peoples because their community is deeply rooted in oral tradition and they love to share.
The small groups engaged in many outreach activities during Lent, most of which were focused on the homebound.
The groups continue to meet regularly and are eagerly anticipating faith-sharing with Why Catholic? PRAY this fall.
They are truly faithful Catholics, many having traveled to Rome last October to join in the celebration of the canonization of Kateri Tekakwitha.
When Christina Schneider was invited to lead an ARISE group in 2011, she wasn’t sure the role suited her.
After all, she said, “how could I be a ‘leader’ in a faith-sharing group when I didn’t consider myself religious at all?’’
Which is not to say that Christina, who lives in the Diocese of London in Ontario, wasn’t a church-goer.
Quite the contrary.
“I grew up going to church every Sunday,’’ she said. “I went to religion classes, and there were times that we would say the rosary as a family.
“But when I moved away for school, I slowly started drifting away.’’
The National Religious Vocation Conference's (NRVC), HORIZON magazine recently interviewed RENEW's President & Executive Director, Sr. Terry Rickard, about the connection between vocation ministry and the New Evangelization.
By day, Megan Lewis is a wedding planner. In the evening, the 23-year-old is serving up patrons as a bartender at Kirkwood Station Brewing Company, a microbrewery and restaurant in the heart of downtown Kirkwood.
One evening, after a difficult breakup with a boyfriend, Lewis was tending the bar during Theology on Tap, a monthly event featuring a speaker and fellowship hosted by St. Louis Young Adults, an outreach ministry of the archdiocesan Office of Young Adult Ministry. The message from that night's speaker touched her heart.
Read more about this growing young adult ministry in the Archdiocese of St. Louis in the St. Louis Review.
Theology on Tap is outreach to and collaboration with young adult Catholics in pursuit of spiritual growth. It is a method of invitation, based on a spirit of hospitality, which creates a space for people in their 20s and 30s to explore how faith in Christ can speak to their circumstances. Since its creation in the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1981, this program has proven to be a successful vehicle for reaching young adults interested in learning more about their faith, coming together to share community, and feeling welcomed and valued in the Catholic Church. RENEW International has been entrusted to carry on the mission of Theology on Tap, and the RENEW staff has worked diligently to develop it as part of a more comprehensive young adult ministry.
Story and photos by Kate Gibbons for Denver Westword
A priest walks into a bar.
This isn't beginning of a joke. On Monday night, Reverend John Riley walked into Katie Mullen's Irish Restaurant and Pub for the Catholic Archdiocese of Denver's monthly Theology on Tap gathering.
On loan from the Archdiocese of Arlington, Virginia, Reverend Riley, a Guinness drinker, opened with a prayer as the people in the packed bar bowed their heads. The crowd, mostly in their twenties and early thirties, and presumably Catholic, had gathered to listen to Riley address the night's topic "Confessions From the Other Side of the Screen." In the middle of the Lenten season, it was an appropriate topic.
By Tim Johnson for Today's Catholic News
“ARISE is a life changer in my book!” That was the reaction of Jeff Krudop after attending the first session of ARISE last fall at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Fort Wayne.
Many parishes across the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend will sign members up for the upcoming Lenten series of ARISE Together In Christ in the mid-to-late weeks of January.
Cindy Casper, who was part of the parish team coordinating ARISE at her parish, St. Michael the Archangel in Plymouth, encourages new people to sign up for the spring session.
“(ARISE) has deepened my faith and love for my parish family,” Casper told Today’s Catholic. “As a parish team member, I was also blessed with lots of feedback of spiritual renewal and excitement in experiencing God in this special way from many of the small group leaders and participants.”
By Jodi Magallanes, Today's Catholic News
SOUTH BEND — The ARISE Together in Christ parish renewal process is reaching Hispanic Catholics who are both spiritually hungry and open to the Holy Spirit, say coordinators in the diocese’s Spanish-speaking parishes.
Earlier this year the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend rolled out ARISE, which encourages the faithful of all languages and heritages to come together and share their personal experiences in a faith-based architecture. Thousands responded, including large numbers from each parish that ministers to Spanish speaking individuals.
Enid Roman, diocesan Hispanic ministry coordinator, said that effective training of parish-level coordinators, along with the program’s simple premise, made participants feel comfortable with ARISE.