"CRHP" Boosts Adult Parish Participation
St. Peter Chanel
Archdiocese of Atlanta
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An easy to implement retreat program has brought personal and parish-wide renewal at over 800 parishes throughout the United States and Italy.
"There have been many miracles in this parish due to CRHP," stated Very Reverend Fr. Francis McNamee.
The need it meets
"Christ Renews His Parish" (CRHP, often pronounced "Chirp") invigorates the parish by helping adult men and women become vibrant, holy, and active apostles who take initiative in their personal spiritual lives and in parish life.
Where it came from
Christ Renews His Parish (CRHP) began as a renewal weekend at Holy Family parish in Parma, Ohio in 1969. The program has now been used in 826 parishes in the United States and Italy, and more than 500,000 people have participated in it.
It originated out of a concern that although parishioners would often have a powerful experience of Christ and the Church in non-parish activities (retreats, pilgrimages...), their experience of parish life was less dynamic and Christ-centered.
How it works
The CRHP organizing team at a parish (recommended size: 18) hosts a 30-hour "renewal weekend" (from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon). It is recommended that the renewal weekends (and the organizing teams) be gender-specific, but ages can vary considerably to involve the whole parish. Everything occurs under the supervision of the pastor.
Twelve witness talks are the heart of the retreat. They focus on key aspects of Christian discipleship, explained through personal testimony. The members of the CRHP organizing team give the talks themselves.
Attendees participate in Mass both days, confession on Saturday night (this is an essential ingredient), and overnight adoration. Community-building activities based on each witness talk foster participation and assimilation.
At the end of the retreat, each participant makes a personal commitment to Christ that they share with the pastor as they receive Communion at the final Mass. Over the new few weeks, the participants in the renewal weekend are invited to form part of the next CRHP organizing team in order to implement the next "renewal weekend" in the parish 6 months later.
In preparation for the next renewal weekend, the new team meets weekly to hear each otheré─˘s personal testimonies and to receive additional formation either from the previous team or through formation activities detailed in the CRHP manual.
Father McNamee has seen participants: - return to the sacraments after being away - begin practicing daily private and family prayer - seek professional marital help - increase their attendance at daily Mass
The personal commitments at the end of the renewal weekend and then the 6-month process of working as a team to put on the next retreat are the key elements. This is what precipitates the deep conversion of the participants, helped by the focus on Scripture and the sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation.
Also, the CHRP manual is practical, detailed, and complete. With it, and with the support and guidance of the pastor, any parish could easily implement the entire CRHP process from start to finish.
How to implement it
The way to begin the CRHP process is to contact a nearby parish that is already using the program and invite their team members to hold a renewal weekend at your parish. Two examples can be explored at www.crhp.com and www.ihom.org/crhp/crhpinfo.htm. If there are no nearby parishes with CRHP, a formation team can be requested through the CRHP national office:
CHRIST RENEWS HIS PARISH P. O. Box 19100 Cleveland, OH 44119
Office: (216) 731-7903 (voice mail) FAX: (216) 481-1666 Evening: (440) 338-8469 E-Mail: CRHPFW@aol.com
The 225-page manual "Christ Renews His Parish: A Parochial Spiritual Renewal Process" by Robert P. Edwards and John O. Jacoby, explains how to organize the retreat. It can be ordered for a cost of $45 by emailing the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland's Office of Evangelization at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or calling the office at 216-696-6525 Ext. 4530, or by contacting the CRHP national office above.
Very Rev. Fr. Francis McNamee, V.F. is pastor of St. Peter Chanel.