RENEW International, a recognized leader for Catholic small-group resources, is partnering with its home Archdiocese of Newark, NJ to implement RENEW’S most recent process, Healing Our Church/Sanando Nuestra Iglesia. This process helps Catholic laity address the twin crises of clergy sexual abuse and the coverup by church leaders.
Healing Our Church/Sanando Nuestra Iglesia is part of a larger initiative unveiled by the archbishop, Cardinal Joseph Tobin, C.Ss.R., called FORWARD IN FAITH TOGETHER: Our Road Ahead, a broad pastoral program that seeks to establish a foundation for healing and renewed missionary discipleship in the archdiocese.
Healing Our Church will begin the healing process by encouraging participants to share their feelings about the crises, embrace their role as members of Christ’s Body, and discern and commit to meaningful actions. The six sessions are: Facing the Truth, Healing Our Wounds, Rebuilding Our Church, Why do I Remain a Catholic?, We Believe, and A Way Forward.
In his letter to the priests of the archdiocese, Cardinal Tobin, wrote, “We need to fulfill our pastoral duty by helping our parishioners deal with the devastating effects of sexual abuse and the coverup. We can’t move beyond this issue without confronting it head on: ignoring the issue in hopes that it will go away or out of fear that it will dredge up even more unpleasantness is not an option.”
“This is a critical time for our Church,” said RENEW International President Sister Terry Rickard, OP. “Many of the faithful are hurting and feel betrayed. Here in our own Archdiocese of Newark, the crisis has struck close to home, and many are deeply wounded because of the revelations regarding our former archbishop. But because ours is a faith of new beginnings, we at RENEW developed this resource, hoping that it will help begin the healing process and empower the laity to take on their responsibility, with the clergy, for the reform of our Church.”
This process, offered in both English and Spanish, will be guided by the RENEW pastoral services team in coordination with Sister Donna Ciangio, OP, chancellor of the archdiocese. Information sessions providing an overview for the clergy and lay leaders will begin immediately, with the first to be held on May 8 at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center. Specialized training sessions will follow in the coming months for both pastoral teams and individual group leaders to support them as they work with the sensitive subject matter. The parish small groups will begin meeting this fall.
The process has already been implemented with great success in the Diocese of Allentown, PA where 86 percent of the parishes participated and over 5,000 lay faithful engaged in the small-group discussions. Bishop Alfred A. Schlert commented, “Healing Our Church provided an excellent opportunity for the people of the Diocese of Allentown to have a healing dialogue on the clergy-abuse crisis using prayer and Scripture and to discern together our path forward as a Roman Catholic Family of Faith.” The Diocese of Grand Rapids, MI will also begin faith sharing with Healing Our Church this fall.
Anyone interested in Healing Our Church should contact Deacon Peter Fiore, RENEW director of sales and marketing, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 908-769-5400 X110. For more information about this resource, go to www.healingourchurch.org.
About RENEW International
RENEW International renews personal faith and parish life—unlocking the power of small groups by equipping laity and clergy to share their Catholic faith and live it every day.
For more than 40 years, RENEW International has fostered personal and parish revitalization in more than 160 dioceses in the United States, touching the lives of 25 million people through its ministry services. RENEW International has also reached many thousands outside the United States, having served people in 24 countries, across six continents and in 44 languages and dialects.