Put Out into the Deep

Parishes Ready to RENEW the Faith

My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,

Starting Oct. 2, parishioners throughout the Diocese of Brooklyn will experience a comprehensive process of evangelization and spiritual renewal through programs developed by RENEW International called “ARISE Together in Christ,” “LEVÁNTATE Unámonos en Cristo,” in Spanish, and LEVE KANPE ak Jezi Kri,” in Creole.” We see that this program will take place in the three major languages of Brooklyn and Queens, and also in Polish.

The New Evangelization tells us to find new methods where we can reach out, especially to those Catholics who are inactive, to those who are not practicing the faith. The purpose of this program is to lead Catholics to a deeper and richer understanding of their faith through the context of small faith-sharing groups. This method has been proven useful throughout the country. People do like to meet with one another and in small groups where they can share what is not possible to share in our large assemblies.

ARISE Together in Christ is one resource for parishes to use in achieving the goals of our diocesan four-year Evangelization and Renewal Plan called, “The Joy of Encountering Christ: The Family’s Hope.” This diocesan plan is now in its second year and in 2018 will be concluded.

This year’s theme is “Being Missionary Disciples.” The six goals of “The Joy of Encountering Christ: The Family’s Hope” are as follows:

1) Offer multiple opportunities for people to encounter Christ;

2) Increase Mass attendance: full, active, conscious participation;

3) Increase daily prayer among all Catholics;

4) Attract and support inactive Catholics to return to their faith;

5) Enhance participation in parish life/religious education at all levels of faith formation;

6) Invite and welcome seekers who may want to learn about the Catholic faith.

All of us have a responsibility that comes to us in our baptism to be disciples of Christ, to be missionaries, and to reach out to others. We need not travel to foreign lands, but in our own parishes and neighborhoods we can become missionary disciples.

This ARISE program truly helps us achieve the six goals of our Diocesan Evangelization and Renewal Plan.

Over 80 parishes in Brooklyn and Queens will participate in this first season, with other parishes joining in the future. Already 400 people have been trained to be parish leaders, and over 1,000 will be trained to be small group coordinators. This is truly amazing that our people have such zeal and are willing to give their time and effort to this wonderful Evangelization project.

So far, ARISE parish leaders have created banners, bulletin inserts, prayer cards, tee-shirts, baseball caps, and many other items that will promote the program. It is important to show enthusiasm and also to use all of the methods available to us to attract people to this faith-sharing program.

Groups will begin meeting during six-week seasons, as they are called, starting Oct. 2, 2016, to read and reflect on the Sacred Scripture, share how the Word of God relates to their daily life, and encourage each other into becoming active disciples. Each of these seasons has a Christ-centered Gospel theme that is broken down into weekly topics and experienced in a variety of ways.

The efforts of Theodore Musco, the Director of the School of Evangelization and the diocesan coordinator for the ARISE, along with his dedicated staff, encourage parishioners to volunteer as leaders and take part in this facilitation training experience. He puts it this way, “Involvement as a small-group leader is a meaningful way to support others on their journey of faith, while growing in one’s own faith.”

Whenever we try to communicate our faith to others, we certainly grow in our own faith.

The RENEW program is almost four decades old, and has worked in almost all of the dioceses in the United States, in many parishes and on campuses. Also, RENEW has worked in 25 countries.

If you would like more information about this great Evangelization program, you can check it out on the web at http://www.renewintl.org.

If your parish does not yet participate in RENEW and you would like to become part of this wonderful program, please speak with your pastor and encourage him to contact the School of Evangelization.

Every effort of Evangelization is truly like putting out into the deep, since we do not know where our efforts to bring Christ to others will lead us. Hopefully, they will lead us individually to a closer relationship with Christ. I ask you to pray with me for the success of this effort of the New Evangelization right here in Brooklyn and Queens.

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