Cardinal Blase J. Cupich

October summit: a key moment for Renew My Church

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

During my visits to parishes around the archdiocese or as I drive on our expressways and see the grand churches that dot the landscape alongside them, I am always left with a sense of awe as I think of the generations of faithful men and women who have made this church of Chicago what it is today. These ancestors in the faith repeatedly heard the call of Jesus to renew the church in every age by making new disciples, by building up communities and by inspiring witness to Christ’s presence in the world. 

It is in fidelity to that heritage that we have launched Renew My Church, a multi-year effort to discern where the Lord is calling us as we take up the challenges facing us today. We do so undaunted and fully aware that, while there are so many unknowns, we embark on this path under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to revitalize our life together in the Lord as his disciples.

The Archdiocese of Chicago has had a strong national and international reputation of leadership when it comes to renewal. Over many decades, our local church has introduced groundbreaking and imaginative efforts that have enhanced Catholic education and catechesis, marriage preparation, family life ministry, liturgical reforms and the promotion of social justice and outreach to immigrants. It is important to see Renew My Church as another chapter in that proud heritage, as we call on our parishes to team up with each other as pastoral groupings to take up the challenges we face today with creativity and vigor.  

A key moment, designed to launch our journey together and give us focus, will take place on Oct. 1 and 2 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. The Renew My Church Summit will gather our bishops, priests, deacons, school principals, religious education directors, and other pastoral collaborators to listen, discern and envision together our direction for renewal. I want to take this moment to thank in advance each of our pastors for making the special effort to invite their core collaborators to join us on this occasion, so that we can benefit from the contributions of all in shaping the future of this local church.   

In addition to the presenters at the summit, we have invited Divine Renovation Ministries and its founder, Father James Mallon. He will share the story of his parish’s spiritual and structural transformation, and provide concrete examples of how renewal can unfold for us. All of this will serve as a point of departure for our own reflection and planning for renewal in our own richly diverse archdiocese. 

I want to be clear: I see our coming together in early October as a graced moment to listen to the Lord’s voice, to imagine boldly how we can move into the future, to support one another in solidarity as we take up common challenges, and — finally — to be signs of hope for one another. In other words, in our two-day meeting, we will be the church of Jesus Christ, inspired by the Spirit to be ready and willing to journey into the future with faith, hope and love.  

This is why I consider our October gathering to be crucial for our moving forward together and why I look forward to being an active participant, collaborating with our other leaders as we carry on the tradition of renewal that has distinguished this local church for generations. 


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