Our History

Catholics all over the world have met in small groups for decades to pray, reflect on Scripture, share their faith, and commit themselves to live the faith in daily life—all because of the ministry of RENEW International.

Two young priests, dreaming of Catholic parishes invigorated by an engaged laity, launched the initiative that grew into RENEW which has touched the hearts and souls of tens of thousands of people around the world. RENEW, which began in 1976 as an office of pastoral renewal in the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, was the brainchild of those priests—now Monsignors Thomas Kleissler and Thomas Ivory—who were inspired by the themes of the Second Vatican Council.

From the beginning, RENEW has been dedicated to revitalizing both personal faith and parish life. We do this by encouraging and supporting the formation of small groups that gather prayerfully to reflect on and share the Word of God, to make better connections between faith and life, and to live their faith more concretely in family, work, and community life.

The “RENEW process,” the first diocese-wide spiritual renewal process in the country, was so successful in Newark that it soon spread, eventually reaching more than 160 dioceses in the United States and 24 countries. Materials and training of lay leaders have been inculturated and made available in more than 40 languages and in Braille. RENEW has added specific pastoral outreach to campuses and to young adults in their 20s and 30s. We have also incorporated prison ministry and outreach to the military. While continuing to develop parish programs and publish faith-sharing books for small groups, we have also adopted modern technology, including digital recordings, videos, webinars, and ebooks.

RENEW International was separately incorporated in 1990 and moved into its own facility in Plainfield, New Jersey. On October 29, 2002, Archbishop John J. Myers, of the Archdiocese of Newark, presented RENEW with a Decree of Recognition establishing RENEW as a “private association of the faithful” under the Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church.

RENEW is a not-for-profit organization. We sustain our pastoral outreach in part from the sales of publications and resources and the services we provide to parishes and dioceses. However, our priority is always to serve all parishes that desire to renew their faith and build the Church, regardless of their economic situation. We have been able to fulfill this mission not only in the inner-city and rural areas of the United States, but also in the developing world, especially Latin America and Africa, thanks to donations and charitable funding.


Contact us at 908-769-5400.