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Parish Leaders Attend Why Catholic? Launching Workshops

By Nicki Prevou, Editorial Assistant, North Texas Catholic, Diocese of Fort Worth

Menacing thunderstorms and heavy rains failed to dampen the enthusiasm of participants at the evening gathering held March 11 at St. Andrew Church in Southwest Fort Worth. More than 150 Catholics met in teams representing pastors, staff members, and volunteer leaders from parishes across the diocese for one of the six English language “Launching Workshops” held in March as part of the Why Catholic? Journey Through the Catechism process. “Evangelization Workshops” will also be held for the parish teams during the week of April 22-27.

The Why Catholic? process, now in its planning stages within the Diocese of Fort Worth, is presented by RENEW International, a Newark, New Jersey-based Catholic ministry organization, as a vehicle for adults to explore the richness of their Catholic faith and to apply it to their daily lives. Based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, and Scripture, Why Catholic? is described by Father Carmen Mele, OP, diocesan coordinator of the Why Catholic? program, as “a dynamic adult faith formation program for the renewal of parish life.”

Sister Marie Cooper, SJC, and Sister Patricia Thomas, OP, of RENEW International, served as workshop presenters at the March Launching Workshops. The purpose of the Launching Workshops was to help parish teams learn how to implement Why Catholic? to offer practical suggestions for inviting maximum participation in all parishes and to share resources on how to effectively lead the sessions.

Forty-eight sessions, held over a four-year period, explore the four pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and offer in-depth information and insight into core beliefs, the sacraments, morality, and prayer. Sessions will be offered in English and in Spanish in parishes throughout the diocese.


“I know that about [15] years ago, the RENEW program was in this diocese,” said Sr. Thomas as she welcomed workshop participants on March 11. “Over the years, RENEW has changed its process somewhat, but the emphasis upon the value of small communities and faith-sharing within those communities has remained. Small Christian community,” she added, “is at the heart and soul of the process.”

Workshop participants listened intently to information presented in the first half of the evening, then had an opportunity to take part in practice faith-sharing sessions. “It’s really exciting to be here and to take part in this effort to revitalize our Catholic faith in Wise County,” said Victor Gonzalez, a team leader representing St.
John the Baptizer Church in Bridgeport. “I’ve been involved in RCIA for quite some time and I really enjoy that ministry, which is why I decided to become involved with Why Catholic? Our pastor sees this as a great opportunity for evangelization within our parish.”

The most important aspect of the process, however, is the opportunity “to build up the spirit of evangelization and give people the opportunity to grow deeper in faith,” said Fr. Mele.

Click to learn more about Why Catholic?/¿Por qué ser Católico?

About RENEW International RENEW International is a canonically-recognized Catholic organization based in Plainfield, NJ, in the Archdiocese of Newark. RENEW International fosters spiritual renewal in the Catholic tradition by empowering individuals and communities to encounter God in everyday life, deepen and share faith, and connect faith with action. Since 1980 RENEW International has revitalized parish life in over 150 dioceses in the United States, touching the lives of 25 million people through its renewal processes. RENEW International also reaches many thousands outside the United States, having served people in 23 countries, across six continents and in 44 languages.