Cardinal Blase J. Cupich

A new Pentecost in the life of the church

Sunday, May 15, 2016

This coming weekend is Pentecost Sunday, and I am inviting all Catholics to pray for the success of RMC, trusting Christ is leading us and empowering us to make bold decisions that will shape the church for generations to come.

At the heart of this process is the demand to read the signs of the times and discern where Christ is calling us to fulfill his mission. There are challenges: decreasing Mass attendance; treasured church buildings in need of repair, declining numbers of priests, religious, deacons, and lay ministers, as many move toward retirement.

Addressing this situation will require prayer, humility, hard work, creativity, tough choices and new sacrifices. It is true that by the time this consultative process is complete, we will mourn together the loss of some parishes. But that will not be the final word. By having the boldness to leave behind familiar ways of doing things, we can seize the moment as one not simply of loss, but rather of renewal.

As St. Francis of Assisi was praying in the Church of San Damiano, he heard Christ speak to him: “Go, repair my Church.” Eventually St. Francis realized that Christ was calling him to renew the church — not only as a physical structure, but as the whole people of God. The dying and rising of Christ continue to take place in every age in the dying and rising of the church. We must take up the mission of proclaiming Christ as a church whose community is united and whose focus is on the renewal that comes through the Resurrection.

All parishes across the archdiocese will be part of “groupings” for pastoral planning. Within a grouping, parishes will come together to gather information and evaluate options for the pastoral needs of the local area. They will all have a say.

Admittedly, the end result of this planning will differ according to the mission priorities, needs and realities of the church in that area. The goal is to have a vibrant Catholic presence that reflects responsible stewardship of our collective resources: the gifts of laypeople, deacons, religious and lay ecclesial ministers, our priest personnel, finances and buildings.

We will begin this fall with a “pilot” program involving a small number of groupings and anticipate we will refine the Renew My Church grouping planning process based on what we learn from these pilots. Subsequent groupings will then enter into a focused planning effort over the course of the next two to three years.

Remain hopeful and open to ways to share, contribute and collaborate throughout the process of Renew My Church. We all need to pray for wisdom, discernment and courage as we begin pastoral planning through Renew My Church.

Please use the prayer card available at your parish beginning on Pentecost to pray at home with your families, at parish meetings and in other community groups. We will continue to recite this prayer during Mass periodically throughout the Archdiocese.

This will be hard work. But, what in life worth doing does not involve hard work? The immigrants who built our churches, schools, hospitals and charitable agencies were not daunted by the prospect of hard work. Neither should we be daunted, as we begin this new springtime for the church, this new Pentecost, this change of era.

For more information about Renew My Church, visit


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