¿Por qué ser católico? leads Venezuelans
to encounter Jesus in everyday life
“See, I am doing a new thing! ... do you not perceive it?” —Isaiah 43:18
If anything could add to the joy of the Easter vigil, it would be the unlikely occasion of three couples beginning their lives together in matrimony.
And that’s exactly what happened last Easter when three couples were married during the vigil Mass at Santos Ángeles Custodios Parish in the Archdiocese of Valencia in Venezuela.
The extraordinary occasion was the direct result of RENEW International’s faith-sharing process, ¿Por qué ser católico? (Why Catholic?), through which small Christian communities explore the teachings of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
When the process was launched in Valencia with financial support from the Vollmer Foundation, 22 parishes participated — parishes that had recently taken part in Misión Continental, a mission endorsed by all of the bishops in South America and the Caribbean to inspire renewal in the Church.
Yese y Alex were amng three
¿Por qué ser católico? couples that were
wed during the Easter Vigil Mass
in Santos Ángeles Custodios Parish.
One of the lead couples participating in
¿Por qué ser católico?
in the Archdiocese of Valencia.
The ¿Por qué ser católico? team of
Santos Ángeles Custodios Parish-Sgdo.
Corazón, Archdiocese of Valencia.
RENEW's Fr. Alejandro López-Cardinale
and Sr. Terry Rickard, OP, with
Msgr. Reinaldo Del Prette,
Archbishop of Valencia,
and Fr. Antonio Arocha, archdiocesan director of catechesis and Bible.
Since 2009, some 3,000 people have participated in the process in 32 parishes in Valencia. Recently, ¿Por qué ser católico? has been introduced in the Archdiocese of Cumaná and Diocese of Cabimas and RENEW has been invited to make presentations in the dioceses of Trujillo, Carora, Barinas, San Carlos, and La Guaira.
Many of the parishes already enrolled decided from the beginning to offer ¿Por qué ser católico? as a permanent part of their adult catechesis program. These parishes have small Christian communities engaged in each of the four seasons of the process — Creer, Celebrar, Vivir, and Orar (Believe, Celebrate, Live, and Pray).
For example, the parish of Santa Rita-La Asunción in Valencia already has 500 parishioners engaged in the process, and every six months another small community starts faith sharing with Creer — the season that focuses on the Profession of Faith.
The three couples who married in the parish of Santos Ángeles Custodios had completed two seasons of ¿Por qué ser católico?, and now each of those couples leads a new small Christian community in their neighborhood.
Fr. Alejandro López-Cardinale, Hispanic/Latino coordinator for RENEW International’s processes and resources, points out that these Catholic men and women and others like them have gained a new confidence through the experience of leading small faith-sharing groups and are not only learning about their faith in theoretical terms but putting into practice what they have learned.
“Through Proyecto América Latina, RENEW, working with local churches and the people of God, wants to create an experience in which Catholics can encounter Jesus in their everyday lives,” Fr. Alejandro said.