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RENEW INTERNATIONAL HONORS FOUR CHAMPIONS FOR EVANGELIZATION
40th Anniversary celebrations begin

RENEW International, a Catholic not-for-profit organization based in Plainfield, N.J., will begin celebrating its 40th anniversary by honoring four bishops who have demonstrated their dedication to evangelization. The Champions for Evangelization award will be presented during a reception at the United State Conference of Catholic Bishops Fall General Assembly in November to Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley. OFM, Cap, archbishop of Boston; Most Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio, bishop of Brooklyn; Most Rev. Michael Pfeifer, OMI, bishop emeritus of San Angelo; and Most Rev. Michael Sis, bishop of San Angelo.

Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, will offer an invocation before Joseph Cardinal Tobin, archbishop of Newark—RENEW’s home diocese—addresses the guests regarding his own experiences with a RENEW process when he was a pastor. Sister Terry Rickard, OP, president and executive director of RENEW, will present the awards to the four prelates who have partnered with RENEW in the work of evangelization, sponsoring RENEW small-group evangelization processes to deepen faith.

Cardinal O’Malley established the decade-long relationship between the Archdiocese of Boston and RENEW International. Boston was the first dioceses to participate in ARISE Together in Christ/LEVÁNTATE. Unámonos en Cristo. The partnership was so successful that, once it completed the process, the diocese immediately moved on to a deeper exploration of faith in Why Catholic? Many of the small groups established through these efforts are continuing with other RENEW resources. Throughout the years, RENEW was aided by Mary Ann McLaughlin and Ann Cussen from the archdiocesan Office of Spiritual Life who attended all of the hundreds of workshops held in the archdiocese throughout the years.

Bishop DiMarzio, a native of RENEW’s home archdiocese of Newark, was instrumental in bringing ARISE/LEVÁNTATE into the ethnically diverse Diocese of Brooklyn. The diocese asked RENEW to provide workshops in three languages—English, Spanish, and Haitian-Creole. Small groups in the diocese are also working in Chinese, and Braille editions have been provided. Theodore Musco, the Secretary for Evangelization and Catechesis who works closely with RENEW in the diocese said, “Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio's energetic promotion and sincere support of RENEW'S ARISE/LEVÁNTATE small faith-sharing groups in Brooklyn and Queens has made all the difference in its success. The people of the diocese have been renewed and evangelized thanks to his stellar leadership.”

Bishop Pfeifer introduced small groups into the Diocese of San Angelo with RENEW for the 21st Century. After the success of that program, Why Catholic?/¿Por que ser catolico? brought a deeper understanding of the faith to parishioners throughout the diocese. They then moved forward with the ARISE/LEVÁNTATE process. After Bishop Pfeifer’s retirement, Bishop Sis, seeing the success of the programs, decided to make the diocese one of the first to adopt RENEW’s newest process, Be My Witness/Sean mis testigos., which was inspired by Pope Francis’ landmark document, The Joy of the Gospel. Both bishops give credit for the success of the programs to Sister Hilda Marotta and Sister Adelina Garcia who head the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis. Bishop Sis commented, “While I do not consider myself to merit such a claim, I will be happy to receive the award on behalf of our diocese, along with Bishop Michael Pfeifer. In reality, the ones who deserve to be considered as RENEW Champions for Evangelization in our diocese would be Sister Hilda Marotta and Sister Adelina Garcia.”

The reception at the bishops’ assembly will be the first in a series of events celebrating RENEW International’s 40th anniversary of fostering renewal within the Catholic Church world-wide. On April 19, 2018, in partnership with the Center for Catholic Studies at Seton Hall University and America Media, RENEW will host the Monsignors Thomas Kleissler and Thomas Ivory Symposium on Parish Renewal at Seton Hall in South Orange, N.J. The event is named after the co-founders of RENEW. Father Matthew Malone, SJ of America Media will moderate the symposium which will feature William Simon of Parish Catalyst as the main speaker. Panelists will include best-selling author Chris Lowney; Leisa Anslinger of Catholic Life and Faith; Father Bismarck Chau, pastor of St. Patrick’s Pro-Cathedral in Newark; and Sister Terry Rickard of RENEW.

RENEW International will continue the celebrations with its 40th Anniversary Gala on June 7, 2018 at which several key figures in the founding of RENEW will be honored. In September, a group of RENEW supporters will make a pilgrimage to the spiritual capitals of Italy guided by Sister Terry and Father Anthony Randazzo of The Church of the Holy Trinity in Westfield, N.J. The year will end with a celebration of a Mass of Thanksgiving followed by a reception on November 4 at Our Lady of Mercy Church in Park Ridge, N.J., the first parish assignment for RENEW co-founder Father Tom Kleissler.

To learn more about RENEW’s 40th anniversary celebrations visit www.renewintl.org/celebrate40.