Column: New movement helps renew the life of parishes

by Matt Karr

We are experiencing today a crisis of community.

God is a communion of persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He created us in his image and likeness. We are created for communion with God and communion with our neighbors! Communion is embedded in our nature.

The effects of original sin broke our relationship with God and with each other. The image of God wounded in the Fall is restored in Christ. Christ restores our communion with God and, through his grace, we can live once again in the love with one another that God intended.

This restored community can be seen lived out in the original Christian community (see Acts 2:42). The early Christians saw their new life in Christ affecting their relationships with each other.

Today, many of us do not experience this type of community in our lives.
For many, the parish is treated as a sort of sacramental service station where we come to get filled up every week or month or year. We do not experience the sort of community found in Acts of the Apostles.

However, the Holy Spirit is bringing about a renewal in our communal life even in the midst of the crisis of community in our world. The Holy Spirit is raising up new movements to help renew the life of parishes and institutions. Among those that could be highlighted within our own archdiocese are Christ Renews His Parish, the Light of the World Evangelization Process, Saint Paul’s Outreach, and SINE.

Recently, Mike and Lori Pacer, the national directors for the Light of the World Evangelization Process (lOTW), were in town doing ongoing training for our LOTW parishes. I had the opportunity to talk to Mike more in depth about the process LOTW uses.

He outlined three simple steps to the LOTW Evangelization Process: First, you start the fire through a kerygmatic retreat experience. Next, you feed the fire through the formation of small communities, where prayer, fellowship, and formation take place. Last, you spread the fire by inviting friends and neighbors into a relationship with Christ and the community.

The middle step, where small communities are formed and people make a commitment — not only to Christ but to each other — is an essential part of the renewal the Holy Spirit is bringing about in our day. This renewal includes a deeper commitment to Christ and his teachings, but it also entails a renewal in communal life.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Light of the World Evangelization Process, the office of evangelization and Catholic formation will be hosting an information day at Savior Pastoral Center on Sat., June 12. You can also contact me directly at the Web site at:

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Matt Karr

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