Over 2,000 people attended the archdiocesan Renew My Church Summit on October 1st and 2nd, 2018 in Rosemont. St. Raymond has been grouped with St. Zachary, St. Cecilia and the Hispanic Ministry of Mount Prospect, but our grouping is not expected to be activated for a year or more. The Summit was hopeful and set as a goal to recreate and rediscover and burst open the church doors to welcome people in.
Cardinal Cupich opened the meeting by reminding us that all of us are responsible for the mission of the church. “You are no less responsible than people who wear a collar.” We need to reach out to people who have been hurt or marginalized and listen to those who are both unchurched and dechurched. The goal of Renew My Church is to transform nominal Catholics into super evangelists – to follow the Great Commission to GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES.
Fr. James Mallon, from Halifax, Canada, was the featured speaker at the Summit. Fr. Mallon’s book, Divine Renovation, shares the story of evangelizing to people who have never encountered Christ in order to make new disciples – students of Jesus. Disciples renew the church through learning, serving and giving. Disciples then capture a missionary identity to become apostles – those sent. Following Jesus’ call, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Fr. Mallon’s further thoughts:
- What is one gift that God has given you? Minister to your strengths!
- Agnostics and atheists are evangelizing! We must counter by intentionally sharing our faith life.
- We are all busy, but we find the time for things we want to do.
- Faith and hope is not a strategy. Instead, give an experience of the heart of Jesus.
- The current model of Christendom is dying. Only 18% of Chicagoland Catholics attend Mass.
- We must strive to be missionary disciples, making Christ the center of our lives and learning to let go of our need to do only what is familiar.
- How do we know what our parish values are? Look to see where the parish spends its time and money.
- Ask the Lord to be our hope and strength – to free us from hurt and fear and cynicism.
- We don’t need an incremental change. We need a transformational change.
How many people have you brought to Jesus Christ? Are we bearing fruit in the form of changed lives? When someone has a transformational experience with Jesus Christ and decides to follow – that is a new disciple! We prayed for the Holy Spirit to guide us towards a new church that is vibrant and alive.
Please click the video link to learn more: Divine Renovation, An Interview with Fr Mallon.
Submitted by attendees: Fr. Ed Panek, Fr. Gilbert Mashurano, Fr. Steve Patte, Deacon John Lorbach, Mary Eileen Ward, Cheryl Haluczak, Johnny Burnett, Megan Palm and Lorelei McDermott