"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.
"See, I am doing a new thing! ... do you not perceive it?" -Isaiah 43:18
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.
Bobbi Govanus, parishioner at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Kissimmee, knows that through her Baptism, she was appointed Priest, Prophet and King. As she embarks on a year of renewed spiritual growth during the Year of Faith, she feels that calling comes with a big responsibility – to share God’s Word with others.
“My calling to evangelize is no different than that of St. Dominic, Mother Theresa or Tim Tebow,” she said. “I know I have been commissioned by God, and I will continue to seek the ways I am to serve him. I will testify to his faithfulness and attest to the joy which is knowing him and doing his will.”
Govanus is among many Catholics from 40 parishes and missions throughout the Diocese of Orlando growing in their faith during the upcoming year through the small Christian communities of Why Catholic?, a rich scriptural and catechetical approach created by RENEW International, a Catholic ministry organization, that gives Catholics a solid foundation to express their faith and reach out to others in faith. Govanus facilitates one of her parish’s four Why Catholic? groups.
“While preparing for our third year of Why Catholic?, I have learned that faith is not enough,” Govanus said. “Out of our weekly meetings must come action and change. If the people piously grow close to one another without taking it to the streets, God’s will for us is not being done.”
This is the third year for Why Catholic? in the Diocese of Orlando and the new session, which is all about the Sacraments, began on October 1. Throughout the upcoming year, participants will explore the importance of the Mass and Christ's presence in the Eucharist. The first four sessions cover the liturgy and provide an understanding of the Sacraments, while the following two sessions examine Baptism, one on the sacrament itself and another on the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. The last six sessions, which will be held in the spring, look at the remaining Sacraments, as well as devotions, sacred time and sacred space.
“One of the hopes expressed by the Holy Father for the Year of Faith is that people would re-engage their journey of faith,” said Dennis Johnson, Jr., executive director of the diocesan Office of Faith Formation. “Why Catholic? provides a great opportunity to do that in the context of small-group faith-sharing.”
Article courtesy of the Diocese of Orlando.
Dolly Donahue, RENEW International Trustee Emerita, sent the message below to RENEW's President & Executive Director, Sr. Terry Rickard, after her small group completed faith sharing with Longing for the Holy. It is a heart-warming illustration of faith moving to action.
I had to tell you about our summer RENEW group which meets on six Monday mornings at my home in Mantoloking, NJ. We are a group of about 12 to 14 women, who gather around the dining table. We are all very different people in many ways, but alike in our desire to become closer in our relationship with the Lord; we include one agnostic (or so she says), one convert, and one born-again evangelical Christian. The sharing is wonderful.
A year ago,we shared on the first six sessions of Longing for the Holy and enjoyed it very much. The second half of the book was even better this year, and when we got to the last three chapters, we were blown away. What spectacular thoughts and beautiful writing!