Parish Missions – Programs of Spiritual Renewal
A parish mission or renewal is a 4 day (Sunday PM – Wednesday PM) retreat type spiritual event for Catholic parishes. Most parishes organize a mission annually. The Staff of The Thomas More Center offers such a program, entitled Renewal of Mind and Heart: Scriptural Spirituality Today.
The week includes two talks daily, each different, on a variety of themes that are spiritual and based on Sacred Scripture. The talks emphasize a positive image of God as well as challenging all to a more mature response to God’s Word. Each session, ordinarily two hours in length, includes song and prayer, a 30-40 min. presentation by one of the staff members, a refreshment break, followed by a question/answer and feedback time. During the question/answer time participants may ask anything at all that pertains to our living a life of faith, its struggles, changes, concerns, clarifications on matters of faith and doctrine, or share a personal insight. This is done in the large group, with the Staff fielding the questions and responding as a team.
The week also includes experiences of the sacraments. The Staff preaches at all of the opening weekend Masses as well as one daily Mass during the week. We also provide celebrations of the Sacraments of Reconciliation (Rite 2) and Anointing of the Sick.
Renewal of Mind and Heart: Scriptural Spirituality Today is provided by the Staff of the Thomas More Center who are committed to collaborative team preaching. Our preparation for preaching is a result of our communal study and community life. We are also committed to proclaiming the Word from both a masculine as well as a feminine voice.
In today’s rapidly changing world, many Catholics are experiencing increasing feelings of confusion and uncertainty with their own spirituality and the role that their faith plays in modern society. People are searching for hope. At the same time, most people are not comfortable with fundamentalist approaches to Scripture and Faith in seeking answers to the complex issues facing our culture. Renewal of Mind and Heart: Scriptural Spirituality Today provides parishes with a time for updating and revitalization in the faith, based on the teachings of the Church and a contemporary interpretation of Scripture. The program creates fresh enthusiasm among parishioners, unites parishes, and lays foundations for the future.
The program is valuable for those adults who are discovering the faith for the first time, those returning to the faith and those older Catholics trying to understand the changes that have occurred in the post Vatican II church. The sessions are also well adapted to an ecumenical audience; the Team has had excellent experiences of interfaith participation. Children 12 yrs old and older may benefit.
In addition to the USA, the Team will travel to any English speaking country for bookings.
Time and Cost
Most parishes book Renewal of Mind and Heart: Scriptural Spirituality Today at least a year in advance. Lent, being a time of great demand, usually fills quickly. The fee is negotiable and is based on travel costs and the season of the year. Usually a well organized collection will cover the expenses. A stipend discount is available if two parishes in the same geographic area book separate weeks, but consecutive weeks.
Ordinarily each year, unless other countries request bookings, 9 months are spent in the USA, 3-4 months in AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND.
The USA schedule generally runs from September each year through Easter. The AUSTRALIAN schedule is post Easter through July.
How to Book
If a parish is interested and even remotely considering this program, we encourage you to make contact. We can assist in helping sort through any questions, possible barriers, and scheduling difficulties based on what is available.
Once a parish has booked they will be sent a contract for the agreed stipend. They will also receive an organizational kit intended for a lay committee to spearhead the preparation. If the kit is utilized, a large crowd is almost certainly guaranteed.
Names of parishes where the Thomas More Center has worked can be supplied as references.
Contact information for bookings can be found here.