Two ministries that have invigorated parishes around the country have joined forces. RENEW International and Parish Catalyst are now a team with one mission—turning churchgoers into disciples and helping parishes thrive. Parish Catalyst will become a featured program of RENEW. Our partnership will widen and deepen the impact of our mission, helping to revitalize the Church at a critical time.
RENEW, based in Plainfield, NJ, will fully integrate Los Angeles–based Parish Catalyst into its menu of offerings as a featured program of RENEW. RENEW offers parish renewal through small-group programs, including its popular Why Catholic? and ARISE Together in Christ. RENEW recently introduced Baptism Matters, a baptism-preparation program built around online learning modules, and Healing Our Church, a small-group program that helps Catholics confront the crises of sexual abuse by clergy and coverup by Church leaders and envision a way forward for the Church.
The mission of Parish Catalyst is to create vibrant Catholic parishes through an 18-month program for pastors and parish leaders—a program that generates and refines new ideas for ministry and then shares them with other communities. Parishes emerge from the program with an enriched prayer life, clearer goals, stronger leadership, and a more active outreach to young adults.
The agreement has been signed by Sr. Theresa Rickard, O.P., president and executive director of RENEW International, and William E. Simon, Jr., chairman and founder of Parish Catalyst. RENEW’s Board of Trustees has approved the agreement, which has also been ratified by Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., D.D., Archbishop of Newark, NJ.
“Nothing seems more Spirit-driven to me than that Parish Catalyst and RENEW should join forces,” Simon remarked. “We share in common a mission to revitalize Catholic parish life, using distinctive approaches which are entirely complementary. RENEW’s faith-sharing and discipleship programs have transformed the spiritual lives of millions of Catholics as they learn to live their faith, while Parish Catalyst brings parish leaders together in a unique, collaborative strategic-planning process to drive parish renewal. Together, we will be able to offer more Catholic parishes the resources they need to experience positive change in every area of parish life.”
“I am excited about the addition of Parish Catalyst as one of RENEW’s featured parish revitalization programs,’’ said Sr. Terry. “Our partnership will expand the tools we can offer to parishes today who are seeking to transform their parishes into centers of welcome, healing, and disciple-making. We join with Parish Catalyst to help clergy, lay ecclesial ministers, and lay leaders to think creatively, act courageously, and renew the Church.”
John Poitevent, director of facilitation at Parish Catalyst, will become a member of the RENEW International staff. “Parish Catalyst helps parishes create a culture and a community of disciple-making. RENEW has been helping people process their faith together in the small-group setting for 40 years,” said Poitevent. “Now Parish Catalyst will have small-group resources to offer parishes as well. Together we can help parishes experience renewal. What a perfect partnership!”
Under the terms of the agreement, Sr. Rickard and Simon will sign a certificate on October 29, 2020, to finalize the closing. Parish Catalyst will retain its name and will relocate its headquarters to New Jersey. Felipe Sanchez, former executive director of Parish Catalyst, will join RENEW International’s Board of Trustees and Simon will serve as a Senior Advisor to the board. He will serve as executive director of Parish Catalyst until October 29, 2020.