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In like a lion, out like a lion

posted Mar 29, 2014, 6:55 AM by Pastor SPX
I know, I know, its been six weeks since my last blog posting. I'm sorry...but its not my fault!  Lent happened, plus several snow storms threw schedules off, plus we had two parish retreats.  March is supposed to come in like a lion and go out like a lamb, but this Lent has been leonine (look it up) through and through. Let me first talk about our two amazing parish retreat experiences. Last Spring the parish staff and I read two books that form the basis for our Restore! plan for parish renewal: Rebuilt and Forming Intentional Disciples. It was from reading the second book that my idea of a parish retreat program for St. Pius was hatched. The book made reference to a weekend experience called "Christ Renews His Parish" that began in a parish in Cleveland Ohio in 1969 and has now been implemented in over 1300 parishes across the U.S.  The weekend uses a model that is very similar to Cursillo, Marriage Encounter, Echo and Kairos (currently used in many of our Catholic high schools).  This March our parish hosted our first two weekends of "Christ Renews His Parish", abbreviated as CRHP, though pronounced "chirp". The weekends are single sex, so 14 women from St. Pius attended CRHP #1 on March 7-9 and 14 men attended CRHP #2 March 21-23. Since this was our first time with this program, a team of parishioners from St. John the Apostle Catholic Church in Virginia Beach traveled to St. Pius to present both weekends,which were held in the convent.  All I can say is "wow"!  From my extensive experience with retreats through the years (over 150 total!) I know how powerful these experiences can be.  CRHP is all that and more. Our parishioners will be hearing more about CRHP in the months ahead. Our parishioners who attended are now preparing to present our next two weekends which will take place Sept. 13-14 for women and Sept. 27-28 for men. I am so grateful to those who said "yes" to this part of our Restore! plan. I know the effect on the life of our parish will be felt for years to come. So that's CRHP. Back in January I submitted an article to the Catholic Standard newspaper of the Archdiocese describing all the changes that have taken place at St. Pius over the past year. The article was posted on line and printed this week. If you care to read it, here is a link: http://cathstan.org/main.asp?SectionID=2&SubSectionID=20&ArticleID=5985.  Oh, and our screens and computer projectors are being installed starting on Easter Monday. So, I have no doubt that April, May, and June will be very busy months too. But the incredible dedication of parish staff and parishioners makes it all possible. God bless.