Pope Francis’ visit to the United States was a joyous event for American Catholics. Millions travelled to see the Holy Father and hear him speak. They heard words of hope and challenge—hope in the promises of the Gospel and challenge to live that Gospel more fully. RENEW International works every day to help Catholics worldwide find that hope and meet that challenge. We are asking for your financial support to enable us to continue this work by helping people encounter Christ in a personal way and making parishes more welcoming, spirit-filled and, as Pope Francis says, centers of “constant missionary outreach.”
RENEW reaches tens of thousands of Catholics every year, but there is still much more to be done. We know that with your support we can revitalize more parishes and form more disciples for the New Evangelization. Pope Francis has called upon us to be bold and creative as we preach the Gospel, and RENEW is investing in new media and new technologies to meet Catholics, especially young families, wherever they are in today’s digital world. New technology, however, comes with a price, and we need your support to keep pace with the rapidly changing technology landscape.
Today, our pastoral programs and resources are renewing faith in more than 40 dioceses in the United States, Canada, Latin America, and South Africa. In the almost four decades since RENEW began, we have touched the lives of 25 million people in more than 25 countries throughout the world. We strive to bring the Gospel to Catholics everywhere, serving members of the United States Armed Services on bases both home and abroad, and mission dioceses that minister to the poorest communities and parishes. Wherever we go, we hear good news about the transformative effects of our work. The stories that follow are just a glimpse into how RENEW is changing lives for the better:
A woman in an ARISE group shared about her alienation from her son and grandchildren. After the group talked about forgiveness and healing, she decided to take the first step toward reconciliation and drive by her son’s house. She had no plans to stop, but as she approached the house, her son and grandson wereoutside playing ball. She pulled up to the curb, telling herself not to be confrontational. After a brief hello, her son smiled and asked how she was. She was surprised and responded simply, “Can we just proceed from here?” Her son answered, “He has a soccer game this evening; would you like to come?” It was that simple. The ice was broken, and she is thrilled, at peace, and glad she made the move. She thanks her ARISEgroup for giving her the courage to take that first step.
Upon completion of the Why Catholic?/¿Por qué ser católico? program, Bishop Patrick Zurek of the Diocese of Amarillo, Texas wrote in a letter to RENEW, “You made a bishop’s dream come true.” With the Catholic Extension Society helping defray some costs, RENEW is able to provide pastoral services to economically-challenged mission dioceses like Amarillo. Bishop Zurek continued, “You acknowledged the hunger and thirst of the people of a missionary diocese to participate in the same programs as parishes with greater means. You help us to realize that we are not alone, but are part of the beautiful, loving, caring, generous and evangelizing community known at the Universal Catholic Church.” Many uplifting stories came out of the 575 small groups in Amarillo, including reports of increased parish and community involvement, reconciled relationships, and a deeper sense of faith.
Theology on Tap continues to bring young adult Catholics together to discuss their faith in an informal setting featuring a speaker and a discussion on faith-related topics. In Silicon Valley (CA), Theology on Tap events regularly draw 200 to 300 attendees. And that is just one of over 150 active groups in the United States, Canada, and Mexico working to engage young adult Catholics more fully in their faith and bring them to a greater participation in the life of the Church.
Your prayers and your financial support help make all these programs possible. Through them, we can be part of making Pope Francis’ vision of a joy-filled, evangelizing Church a reality. Together, we will form disciples who open their hearts to the forgotten fringes of our society to share the love and mercy of Christ, now more than ever as we enter into the “Jubilee Year of Mercy” declared by the Holy Father.
We are counting on your generosity during this season of giving to make it happen. We wish you a blessed Advent and joy-filled Christmas, and thank you for your prayers and support. Please be assured of ours.
With gratitude and blessings,
Sr. Theresa Rickard, OP
President and Executive Director