RENEW International, a Catholic not-for-profit organization based in Plainfield, N.J., will hold its annual fundraising gala on June 10, 2021 at the Pleasantdale Château, West Orange, N.J.
Sister Terry Rickard, O.P., has announced that she will resign as president and executive director of RENEW International, after 18 years of service, effective December 2021.
RENEW is a leader in development of Catholic small-group programs designed to renew personal faith and parish life. Millions of people speaking more than 40 languages and dialects have participated in RENEW small groups using programs that include Why Catholic?, ARISE Together in Christ, and Healing Our Church. RENEW seeks to evangelize young adults through Theology on Tap and a new online sacramental parent-preparation program entitled Baptism Matters.
Under Sr. Terry’s leadership, RENEW established a satellite office in South Africa that continues to flourish. In the past year, RENEW acquired the Parish Catalyst program, which offers learning communities and monthly webinars for pastors and parish leaders to help their parishes thrive. RENEW is currently working with Bishop W. Shawn McKnight and the Diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri, to develop Grateful Living: The Joy of Stewardship. A program that includes webinars, a learning community for pastors and staff, and a faith-sharing process and book for small groups. Grateful Living will eventually be available to all dioceses and parishes.
Sr. Terry, a Dominican of Blauvelt, New York, joined RENEW in 2002. She became executive director in 2006 and president in 2009, following the late Monsignor Thomas A. Kleissler, who founded RENEW more than 40 years ago. She will take a sabbatical to discern her next ministry.
Board President Eric Dill, speaking on behalf of all of the trustees, said, “I would like to thank Sr. Terry for her many years of devoted and faithful service to RENEW International, and for the inspirational leadership, vision, and commitment to excellence that she exemplified in her role as president and executive director. Her contributions to RENEW’s success were immeasurable and outstanding in every way.’’
Monsignor Thomas A. Kleissler, who launched a parish-renewal program that turned into an international movement, died on Tuesday February 2, at St. Catherine Healthcare Center, Caldwell, N.J. He was 89.
Father Tom, as he preferred to be known, co-founded RENEW International, which has been serving Catholic parishes for more than 40 years with processes that help the laity, meeting in small Christian communities, assume roles of leadership and service in the Church.
Born in Newark, Father Tom attended Seton Hall Prep and Seton Hall University and the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Darlington. He was ordained at Sacred Heart Cathedral on May 25, 1957.
From the beginning of his work as a pastor in the Archdiocese of Newark, Father Tom promoted lay participation in the life of the Church.
In 1976 Archbishop Peter L. Gerety asked him to develop the Office of Pastoral Renewal, which encouraged the formation of parish councils, and worked to engage the laity in a deeper relationship with the Lord. Then, together with the late Msgr. Thomas Ivory, he founded the original RENEW process in the archdiocese and was appointed its director.
Under his leadership, the mission grew beyond the original RENEW experience, developing RENEW 2000, Healing the Body of Christ (in response to the sexual-abuse crisis), Why Catholic? and many other programs for small Christian communities.
These processes have reached over 160 dioceses in the United States and 140 dioceses in 24 other countries. Father Tom traveled extensively to plant seeds of RENEW’s message of conversion and community in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania.
“Father Tom's legacy is not about a program or an organization but about a way of renewing faith, building communities of hope and gospel action, and transforming the Church and the world,’’ said Sister Terry Rickard, OP, president of RENEW. “It is largely because of his vision and his work that diocesan spiritual renewal, parish small groups, faith-sharing, and faith-based action are part of the fabric of Catholic life.”
What is in that mysterious unopened gift under the tree? And who put it there?
In anticipation of RENEW’s upcoming small-group guide for women, Stand Up! Women in Conversation with Christ by Loretta Pehanich, you are invited to a virtual Christmas gathering of Women in Conversation using Zoom on Wednesday, December 16, 4:30-5:30 P.M. PST. The theme is "The Unopened Gift."
Join women near and far for an unusual holiday treat complete with break-out conversations, music, prayer, and more. Plan to wear something festive, to show some Christmas décor in your background, or wear your Christmas jammies!
If you would like to attend this unique virtual gathering, please send an email to WomenConversationRENEW@gmail.com by Monday, December 14th and you will receive an email with the Zoom link and more details.
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.”
Dear Friends of RENEW,
It is with great sadness that I announce the death of Monsignor Thomas P. Ivory, a co-founder of RENEW International. Fr. Tom died on the morning of Wednesday, October 7 while undergoing heart surgery.
In the mid-1970s, Fr. Ivory collaborated with Monsignor Tom Kleissler in developing the original RENEW process within the Archdiocese of Newark. RENEW eventually became the leader in providing materials and leader training for small Christian communities in parishes around the world.
RENEW International is excited to announce—and welcome—Theodore “Ted” Musco as the Vice President for Pastoral Services and Operations effective July 6, 2020. Ted will oversee the pastoral services and operations teams of RENEW, bringing to this new position his numerous pastoral and administrative skills gained from previous ministerial positions.