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New Program Helps Catholic Parishes Become More 'Evangelizing' -- RENEW International Introduces 'Be My Witness' in Diocese of San Angelo
Contact: Deirdre Malacrea, RENEW International, 908-769-5400 ext 126

PLAINFIELD, N.J., Feb. 16, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ -- RENEW International announced that the Diocese of San Angelo will be the first in the country to launch RENEW's newest program developed to bolster parish evangelization. Entitled 'Be My Witness: Formation for the New Evangelization,' this process draws its inspiration from Pope Francis' landmark document, 'The Joy of the Gospel.' The entire process is designed to develop vibrant parishes that are "centers of constant missionary outreach" and to help parishioners see themselves as modern-day disciples.

RENEW's pastoral staff travels to the diocese in February to train San Angelo's parish leaders to lead Phase 1 of 'Be My Witness.' This first phase gathers and equips pastors, parish staff, and lay leaders to assess, discuss, and address five key areas of focus for evangelizing parishes: enhancing Sunday worship, creating a welcoming environment, fostering a sense of belonging, witnessing to faith, and reaching out in a spirit of mission.

Unique to this process, the RENEW Parish Assessment tool provides parish leaders with valuable insights by helping them view the five key areas of parish life through the lens of evangelization. The parish team recruits members of the parish community, from the most committed to the least involved, to evaluate each of the five areas on 12 specific dimensions. The online assessment tool generates analyses to guide the team on current areas of strength and opportunities for improvement.

The assessment results, along with learning videos and meeting guides, lead the teams on a journey of exploration and discussion. Reflecting on the pope's vision for evangelizing parishes, the leaders develop a plan for the parish based on the agreed-upon priorities. In addition to attending trainings delivered by RENEW International pastoral representatives, parish leaders will receive ongoing pastoral support from RENEW's staff as they develop their plans.

Speaking on this new initiative being rolled out in the Diocese of San Angelo, Bishop Michael Sis remarked that he sees 'Be My Witness'—in Spanish as 'Sean mis testigos'—as a great opportunity to "tune parishes into a missionary key."

Beginning in fall 2016, Phase 2 will build an ever-widening circle of commitment to the evangelizing mission of the parish. This next phase of 'Be My Witness' invites parishioners to take part in a small-group effort to develop the attitudes and behaviors of what the pope calls, "missionary disciples." The small-group model and RENEW's video and print resources encourage participants to evangelize in everyday life and lend their energy to parish outreach.

Sr. Terry Rickard OP, RENEW's president and executive director, commented, "RENEW International has a longstanding and positive relationship serving the Diocese of San Angelo. We are honored to have this opportunity to work with parishes as they commit even more deeply to putting Christ's evangelizing mission into action."

Parishes and dioceses across the country can learn more about 'Be My Witness' by signing up for a free online information session at bemywitness.org/webinar/ or by visiting bemywitness.org.

RENEW International is a canonically-recognized Catholic organization operating under the auspices of the Archdiocese of Newark. For almost four decades, RENEW International has fostered evangelization and spiritual renewal in the Catholic tradition in more than 160 dioceses in the United States and in 24 other countries. It can be found on the web at www.renewintl.org or at www.facebook.com/renewintl.