A Shrine Church Casting Off Towards Renewal: A Story from the UK

St. Dominic and Our Lady of the Rosary Shrine is a place of pilgrimage as well as a parish for its locality in Haverstock Hill, London. 17 side chapels and 20 altars make the church bigger than some cathedrals in England. Run by Dominicans, Father Lawrence Lew, OP is the Parish Priest, Rector of the shrine, Prior of the Dominican community, and Promoter General of the rosary.

Focus on the Future: A Story from the UK

In less than a year the parish has set up a SLT and grown in numbers as well as giving; but the real excitement lies in the 6 adult baptisms and 14 confirmations that took place over the weekend at the Easter Vigil. There is a real aliveness emerging in the parish — “I’m excited. There is a proper buzz!”

Father Brendan tells the story of one of the men who was just confirmed: “This guy just turned up one day,” the church was open, and the man was sitting in one of the pews. The man said, “Father may I speak with you?” He introduced himself as Arthur and told Father Brendan he instantly “felt at home when he came to the church.” He was in a program getting clean from narcotics and knew he couldn’t do it on his own, he needed God.

Global2033: A Decade of Evangelization

“The Holy Spirit is initiating something exciting worldwide. We have a chance over the next 10 years to make disciples in our parishes like never before! The potential is huge as many movements and ministries join forces together. The Catholic parish system is the ‘sleeping giant’ in the universal Church and it’s time for us to wake up and invite others to know Christ, 2000 years after the events that changed history forever.”

“Things Had To Change”: A Story from the UK

When Fr Kieron arrived at St.Joseph’s in East Brighton in 2012 he found a parish complacently in maintenance mode. He knew that “if we stayed as we were we would be in terminal decline.”

After reading Evangelii Gaudium, Fr Kieron, decided that “things had to change.”  He consulted a small working group within the parish and suggested that “everything we do from now on has to fit the mission.”

But how to start this change? This question led him to Divine Renovation…

Moving the Dial on Parish Renewal: A Letter From the UK

Divine Renovation priests from the UK, gathered at a parish together during the celebration of the Holy Mass

One of the leadership phrases we often use in Divine Renovation is: We tend to overestimate what we can achieve in one year, and underestimate what can be achieved in three. When I reflect what God has done in 2022 in parishes throughout the UK, I marvel with some trepidation at what three years might look like!

We are amid a “change of the ages” which means not just years, but decades, of change ahead of us. Even in five years since Divine Renovation UK began, we see the dial moving on parish renewal. Today we are coaching 90 parishes. Some are several years into their journey: they are like beacons, making visible what is possible in parishes in the UK. This year, we shared the stories of the Holy Spirit coming in power at the Alpha Holy Spirit day at St Peter’s Winchester and of Tom Storey’s journey back to the Church through Alpha at St Elizabeth’s Richmond – stories that give encouragement to those who are just setting out on the road (such as All Saints, Newport, who recently sprung into their first ever Alpha ).

9 Churches, 1 Mission: A Story from the UK

“We’re in the unenviable situation where we’re one parish but nine locations. So, I’m the pastor to nine churches and I’ve got two assistant priests.”

A friend from seminary passed on the book Divine Renovation: from a Maintenance to a Missional Parish to Father Michael. He then went on to join DR’s group coaching and is now in one-on-one coaching.

This support has helped him guide the renewal of his parish as they move towards mission. He states: “ We give Him [God] all of the finite and he gives us the infinite.”

New Life and a Fresh Heart: A Letter From the UK

Divine Renovation UK undertook a mission last month that was unlike anything we had ever done before. Over two weeks, I travelled together with Matt Regitz (Divine Renovation Leadership Coach) the length and breadth of the UK, visiting parishes, meeting with priests and bishops, and hosting and speaking at events.

It is a trip we will remember forever.

Too Wonderful to Keep In: A Story from the UK

Every Saturday morning you can spot Tom Storey on the streets of Richmond, UK with his chocolate brown dog. But he isn’t just taking Rory for a walk – he is part of a homeless ministry out of the Loretto Twickenham home. Walking in a group of 4-6 other believers he talks with men and women who are on the streets and brings them tea and sandwiches.

His involvement is motivated by his Catholic faith, that he feels is “the thing that’s central…the key thing in my life.”

Home Sweet Convent: A Story from the UK

Sister Mary Magdalen has COVID. In fact all the Sisters of Mary Morning Star at the convent in Lynton, UK, have COVID this week. And on the way back from the craft sale (where they picked up the virus) their car broke down.

Sister Mary Magdalen explains, this is “an extraordinary story of the providence of God.”

“Come Holy Spirit”: A Story from the UK

Once a week in the Parish of St. Peter and the Winchester Martyrs (SPWM) in the UK, Shana McDonough, Michaela Waterfield, and Allegra Mutanda do just that: they meet and they pray.

A few months ago, they didn’t even know one another. Now, they share their lives and grow together in faith as they pray with the leading of the Holy Spirit.