Parish leaders to gather for Day of Renewal Sept. 25 in Rosemont

By Joyce Duriga | Staff writer
Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Father Miguel Martinez and Vincio Jimenez pray over Rafael Romani from Santa Maria del Popolo Parish at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont on Oct. 2, 2018, the second day of the Renew My Church Summit. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)

Archdiocesan priests, clergy serving in parishes and parish leaders will gather at the Rosemont Theater for a Day of Renewal on Sept. 25. It is the first time leaders from across the archdiocese will gather since the Renew My Church Summit in 2018.

“It’s really to reground ourselves in the vision for spiritual renewal, recognize where we’ve been within the difficult years of structural changes and the pandemic,” said Tim Weiske, director of strategic planning and implementation for the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Cardinal Cupich will be the day’s first keynote speaker and will be the main celebrant for Mass at the end of the day.

In a letter to priests, Cardinal Cupich expanded on the goal of the day.

“Our work on reconfiguring our parishes, our work amidst COVID, the first efforts in building the new reality needs to be acknowledged and celebrated,” he said. “We will also reflect on the call to mission we receive in the Eucharist, thereby connecting our spiritual renewal with giving witness to the Gospel as missionary disciples.”

The second keynote speaker will be Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the papal household, who will present remotely on evangelization. Father John Riccardo, executive director of ACTS XXIX, will give the final keynote, focusing on missionary discipleship and what it means for how we live.

“The hope of the day is for people to be regrounded in our overall vision of renewal, to be inspired for where we’re going, to connect it to where they are as a parish, to where they are as individuals so they can help connect to what’s a good next step for them because we’re obviously in all different stages of the journey as parishes and as individuals,” Weiske said.

In between the keynotes there will be two panels related to the topics of the day, said Elizabeth White, director of evangelization and missionary discipleship for the archdiocese.

The first panel will respond to Cardinal Cantalamessa’s keynote and discuss why renewal matters for laity and early experiences of evangelization work in parishes.

Two pastors and their parish evangelization leads will be on the panel with a moderator.

“They will speak to the importance of putting Jesus first and the importance of evangelization being lay-led and that evangelization belongs to all of us but most especially the laity,” White said.

The second panel will respond to Riccardo’s keynote and cover living out missionary discipleship and tips for parishes going forward.

“I’m seeking to highlight people’s discipleship journey through this process, how they’ve grown in their understanding and their expression of discipleship,” she said. “And we’ll also provide some ideas that they could grow personally as well as take back to their parish.”

Father Matt O’Donnell is pastor of St. Moses the Black Parish and part of the planning committee for the Day of Renewal.

“From my perspective as a pastor, I think one of the things that Renew My Church has been trying to really articulate to priests and parish staff is that in a renewed church there is more collaboration,” he said. “I think part of the archdiocesan Day of Renewal is meant to really encourage everyone in the archdiocese to start thinking in that way more and more.”

He has seen the change at his parish as it moved through the Renew My Church process and much of what they have been doing is based on fellowship and community, he said.

“I think we are at a place where there are more people who want to be involved in ministry. We’re trying to get new ministries started responding to what people are asking for from us, that people really need. I think a big part of what we’ve been really trying to focus on is just getting people to know one another — coming from the three legacy parishes,” he said. “I think now we’re at the point where we’re actually getting ready to build something looking towards the future.”


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