Renew is a program that incorporates Pope John Paul II’s vision for pastoral life in the new millennium. The program calls for Parishes to develop small Christian communities to build the Church’s faith and provide a means to reach out and minister to more people:
"..One way of renewing parishes, especially parishes in large cities, might be to consider the parish as a community of smaller communities and movements. It seems timely to form groups of a size that allows for true human relationships. This will make it possible to live communion more intensely, ensuring that it is fostered not only on a personal level, but also with the parish communities to which such groups belong and with the entire diocesan and universal church. In such a human context, it will be easier to gather to hear the word of God, to reflect on the range of human problems in the light of this word, and gradually to make responsible decisions inspired by the all-embracing love of Christ..."
-Pope John Paul II, The Church in America, January 22, 1999
Why do we need small Christian communities?
The concept of small Christian communities has its roots in the early Christian Church. The first community was Jesus and his disciples. Early Christians, facing persecution for their beliefs, gathered in homes to nourish their faith. Our freedom of worship has allowed the formation of larger worship groups, but sometimes at the expense of the intimacy that small communities can provide to spiritual growth and sustenance.
What is happening at Assumption?
The pastoral staff and a group of parishioners whom form the Core Community have begun planning for the creation of small groups. These small groups, which typically consist of 6-12 people, gather for one and a half hours for six weeks, to share their faith while using study guides. The time commitment is minimal, but the rewards are quite substantial! The small groups will meet during autumn and Lent.