Diocesan News

Diocese Begins RENEW In Small-Groups Sessions

p Manuel Hernandez, a pastoral services representative of RENEW International, presented a leader workshop for LEVÁNTATE, Unámonos en Cristo, at Blessed Sacrament Church in Jackson Heights. Volunteer leaders from 10 surrounding parishes attended to learn how to facilitate this small-group faith enrichment program.  
Manuel Hernandez, a pastoral services representative of RENEW International, presented a leader workshop for LEVÁNTATE, Unámonos en Cristo, at Blessed Sacrament Church, Jackson Heights. Volunteer leaders from 10 surrounding parishes attended to learn how to facilitate this small-group faith enrichment program. (Photo: Deacon Jorge Castillo)

Parishioners in Brooklyn and Queens have begun a process of evangelization and spiritual renewal through RENEW International’s ARISE Together in Christ/LEVÁNTATE Unámonos en Cristo. This journey towards a deeper and richer Catholic faith is occurring in small faith-sharing groups. From the earliest moments of Christianity, small groups have been a powerful means of calling people to deepen and grow in their relationship with God and for building a sense of community with the Church.

Enthusiastic trained leaders help transform the small-group experience into enriching spiritual encounters. In preparation, Pastoral Services representatives from RENEW International presented formation workshops throughout the diocese. More than 1,000 volunteers learned the skills to facilitate Season One of ARISE, Encountering Christ Today, as small-group leaders.

Msgr. Joseph Malagreca, pastor of Holy Cross Church, Flatbush, which brought dozens of attendees, remarked, “How exciting that so many lay people are answering the call to be leaders in small groups! This experience will develop their confidence for using their gifts and taking initiative in the parish.”

RENEW’s presenters provided the basic theological grounding in the core belief that, in Jesus Christ, God has fully revealed himself to humanity. They also highlighted some practical skills needed to facilitate and maximize small communities as vehicles for prayer and faith sharing with a movement toward action. Workshops were held in English and Spanish.

Parishioners in small groups are now meeting during five six-week seasons. Each of these seasons has a Christ-centered gospel theme that is broken into weekly topics. Participants read and reflect on Scripture, share how the Word of God relates to their daily lives, and encourage each other to engage in active discipleship. Resources are available in English, Spanish, Chinese and Haitian Creole as well as Braille and large-print editions.

Participating parishes can contact Joann Roa, with questions at 718-965-7300, ext. 2440 or jroa@diobrook.org. In addition, parishes that want to get on board with ARISE Together in Christ/LEVÁNTATE Unámonos en Cristo are encouraged to contact Theodore Musco, the diocesan coordinator and executive director of the School of Evangelization at 718-965-7300, ext. 5417 or tmusco@diobrook.org.

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