Chicagoland

Parishes gather for Renew My Church Vision Day

By Joyce Duriga | Editor
Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Parishes attend Renew My Church Vision Day

Members of 35 newly formed gathered at St. John Brebeuf Parish in Niles for Vision Day as part of Renew My Church workshop on Sept. 6, 2019. Cardinal Cupich joined the auxiliary bishops for a prayer service in the afternoon where parishioners renewed their baptismal promises and prayed with their bishops. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Auxiliary Bishops Mark Bartosic and Joseph Perry lead the entrance procession to a midday prayer service. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Auxiliary bishops join Cardinal Cupich for the midday prayer service. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Father Timothy J. Fairman, pastor, and Father Matthew Jamesson, associate pastor, from St. Theresa Parish in Palatine, take part in the prayer service. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Cardinal Cupich blesses participants with holy water at the prayer service. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Bishop Mark Bartosic prays with parishioners from Vicariate II during an afternoon prayer service. Participants renewed their baptismal promises and prayed with their bishops during the service. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Bishop Alberto Rojas speaks with parishioners from Vicariate I during an afternoon prayer service. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Bishop John Manz prays over participants from Vicariate IV during an afternoon prayer service. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Bishop Robert Casey prays with participants from Vicariate III during an afternoon prayer service. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Bishop Joseph Perry listen to participants from Vicariate VI during an afternoon prayer service. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Bishop Andrew P. Wypych prays over participants from Vicariate V during an afternoon prayer service. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Marco Oropeza, chief program management officer for “Building The New Reality” of Renew My Church, addresses participants. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Father James Mallon from Divine Renovation speaks to participants. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Elizabeth White, director of Evangelization and Missionary Discipleship, leads a panel discussion with Aida Rodgriguez and Father Francis Bitterman during Vision Day. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Father Francisco Ortega, pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Melrose Park, works with members of his parish during a breakout session. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Parish members share ideas during group sessions. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)

Leaders from 35 parishes newly formed under Renew My Church came together Sept. 6 for Vision Day: Building the New Reality at St. John Brebeuf Parish in Niles to learn about how they can make their communities more vital and engaged as part of the final stage of the process.

They listened to speakers, heard testimonies about parishes that are further along in the that process and worked in break-out sessions. The “new reality” stage of Renew My Church calls parishes to “introduce people who have no familiarity with the Christian faith into a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ, as well as deepen and strengthen the discipleship of existing Catholics so that they are able to evangelize the world through an inspiring witness in their communities,” according to renewmychurch.org.

The archdiocese gathered the parish leaders for three main reasons, according to Father Peter Wojcik, director of the archdiocese’s Department of Parish Vitality and Mission, which leads the third stage of Renew My Church.

“First is to recognize that we all have something in common, the dream of growth in this local church. Second is that we have to pray together and support one another. That’s what catholic means, we are in communion with each other. Third, it’s to share best practices,” Wojcik said.

A similar Vision Day was held last fall, the day after the archdiocese’s Renew My Church Summit in October, and much has been learned since then.

“One is that every parish will have its own speed, so we support them differently,” Wojcik said.

Some parishes move quickly, others a little slower and still others need healing before they can move on to the next phase, he said.

On the third group, he said, “You cannot just close parishes or combine them and say, ‘Go, now be happy and proclaim Jesus.’ You have to give them some time to spend time intentionally calling upon the gifts of the Holy Spirit to heal them and reorient them toward the vision.”

Cardinal Cupich led a midday prayer service during Vision Day and was joined by the archdiocese’s auxiliary bishops. He encouraged the parish leaders in their work ahead.

“You are the pioneer group, the ones beginning this new-reality building phase. You should take pride in realizing the entire archdiocese is praying with and for you as you take up the task,” he said.

The cardinal told the participants that the Lord is sending each one of them out to do this work and that there is freedom in that knowledge.

“We have to have the internal freedom as we begin this task, each one of us searching our hearts and listening to the voice of Christ saying ‘I’m sending you.’ That gives us the ability and the boldness to be able to take up this work.”

It’s not easy work, he said, and can be painful as churches close and parishioners adjust to change. He encouraged them to focus on being united.

“Brothers and sisters, I hope when you go back to your parishes and you talk to your fellow parishioners and leaders and as you work together, that you will always keep unity as a main guiding principle in what you’re doing. And that you realize that we’re calling people to understand that the church is more than just an organization in a parish setting.”

 

 

Topics:

  • renew my church

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