Parishes invited to Mass and Expo
Archdiocese of Newark Celebrates Small Christian Communities

During the past four years, thousands of lives in the Archdiocese of Newark have been positively impacted by small Christian communities and the evangelization programs Why Catholic? Journey through the Catechism/¿Por Qué Ser Católico? and Disciples in Mission.

Both programs were offered in response to the Church’s teaching that all Catholics are called by baptism to spread the faith through evangelization. When these two programs began in 2005, Bishop Edgar da Cunha, the Vicar for Evangelization, stressed the importance of lay people as being, “the best vehicles to do this evangelization work. This is part of the vocation and mission of the laity. We want people to become active; not just celebrating the sacraments, but helping people to grow in faith and build communities.”

Four years later, his vision has become a reality in the participating parishes. From fostering greater involvement in the sacraments to encouraging greater outreach to parish youth and spurring action on behalf of the environment, parishes have felt the many blessings that come from deepening faith.

To celebrate this experience, a special closing Mass will be offered by Bishop da Cunha on Saturday, December 5, 2009. The Mass begins at 10 am at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, 89 Ridge Street, Newark, NJ. During the Mass, Bishop da Cunha will recognize parishes with successful experiences of Why Catholic? and Disciples in Mission. All parishes of the archdiocese are welcome.

Following Mass, parishes are invited to attend an Expo for Small Christian Communities across the street in the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center, 171 Clifton Avenue, Newark. The Expo is an opportunity for parish leaders and parishioners to gather and learn more about small Christian communities as a proven way to deepen faith, build community, and reach out to others. All are invited to come and connect with others and bring ideas for adult faith formation, evangelization, and spiritual renewal back to their own parishes. Representatives from RENEW International, Disciples in Mission, and other faith-based organizations, ministries and publishers will be present to share their resources. Refreshments will be served.

Liliana Soto, Coordinator for Evangelization in the Archdiocese encourages all parishes to come out for this special event, adding “The Why Catholic? and Disciples in Mission programs have been catalysts for spiritual renewal in many parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Newark. Let this be a special day for all small Christian communities to come together and reveal the truth as our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has said that they can be ‘a leaven of hope and peace in the world.’”

For more information about this event and parish-based evangelization in the Archdiocese, please contact Liliana Soto at sotolili@rcan.org or by calling 973-497-4353. Click to download a PDF version of the Mass and Expo flyer in English or Spanish.

Disciples in Mission is a ministry of the Paulist National Catholic Evangelization Association that fosters parish-based evangelization.

About Why Catholic?
Why Catholic? Journey through the Catechism, in Spanish as ¿Por Qué Ser Católico? was developed by RENEW International in response to the overwhelming need for Catholic adults to better understand the richness and depth of their faith and to help them rediscover why they are Catholic. Why Catholic? offers a journey through the core teachings of the Catholic faith as presented in the Catechism and Scripture, within the comfortable environment of small Christian communities of eight to twelve people. The information and insights parishioners have gained from their small groups have inspired many of them to get more involved in their parishes and evangelize their faith.

RENEW International, based in Plainfield, NJ, is a Catholic not-for-profit organization with a 30-year record in revitalizing parish life by effectively training and implementing small community efforts in dioceses and parishes. During this time, the work of RENEW International has touched the lives of over 25 million individuals in thousands of parishes across six continents. Parishes that wish to learn more about RENEW International’s pastoral processes may visit www.renewintl.org.