Local News Archive
Print Issue: July 17, 1997
Renewal To Prepare For Jubilee
BY RITA McINERNEY
ATLANTA--Father Richard Kieran and Mary Ann Fischer represented the Archdiocese of Atlanta at a recent training session for RENEW 2000.
Father Kieran is Archbishop John F. Donoghue's appointee to coordinate RENEW 2000, a Catholic program of spiritual preparation for the Great Jubilee Year. Fischer is director of continuing education and evangelization in the Department of Catholic Education. She has worked with the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults at her parish, St. Ann's in Marietta, for 17 years.
After attending the June 17-20 sessions in Convent Station, N. J., Father Kieran, pastor of St. Anna's Church in Monroe, said, "We have the opportunity of bringing this exciting process of renewal to every parish in North Georgia. It will touch thousands of lives and generate hundreds of small faith communities alive with the spirit of the Gospel."
Fischer said preparations for RENEW 2000 will begin with the assembling of an archdiocesan core community of about 12 to 15 people from archdiocesan departments.
This group will begin meeting in early September, "to meet and share faith in order to train others to do the same," Fischer said. The same month a RENEW International service team will conduct workshops for parish teams. A retreat for priests of the archdiocese is also on the calendar.
In October Father Kieran will conduct three information sessions in different locations for clergy, parish council members and parish leaders. The next month an orientation seminar will be held for pastoral staffs and lay leaders.
The four-day workshop in Convent Station was attended by 81 persons from 18 dioceses in the U.S.
Training included orientation, a model of a typical RENEW 2000 small group session, prayer, liturgy and planning.
Materials were developed from the themes of Pope John Paul II's document, Tertio Millenio Adveniente (As the Third Millennium Draws Near) and Go and Make Disciples, the U. S. Catholic bishops' national plan and strategy for Catholic evangelization. Another source was the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Renewal materials will be available in English and Spanish and translations are being readied in several other languages.
Under RENEW 2000, the parish preparation for the coming of the third millennium and the 2000th anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ will center in groups of eight to 15 people meeting weekly to reflect on the Bible and their spiritual lives, the Sunday liturgy, prayer and activities for families, teenagers, adults and young adults.
Themes include God as a trinitarian community of love, the joy of conversion, the new evangelization, reconciliation between people and among people of different faiths and the renewal of society for the coming millennium.
This is an offshoot of the well known parish renewal program called RENEW. Fischer noted that in the Atlanta Archdiocese, unlike many other dioceses, RENEW was implemented by some individual parishes but not on a diocesan-wide basis. For RENEW 2000, she said, Archbishop Donoghue has said that the entire archdiocese would be involved at one time.
"Our hope is that a large number of people will decide to participate," she added.
Her parish, St. Ann, went through the RENEW process from 1986 until 1988. As a result the large Marietta parish now has 72 ministries.
The RENEW purpose, she said, "is to move into action and to have the liturgy feeding people to continue the task of serving the wider community. RENEW lives in parishes that have done it well."