Stories of hope and renewal
from around the world.

A group of priests from German-speaking regions, gathered together to learn about parish renewal, Divine Renovation and Father James Mallon.

Ein Neues Jahr, eine neue DR-Region: Eine Geschichte aus unserem Deutschsprachigen Raum

Die deutschsprachige Region ist einzigartig in ihren Herausforderungen, aber teilt mit der Weltkirche den Bedarf an Gemeindeerneuerung. Hier entsteht eine Bewegung in Richtung Mission von der Basis aus - Priester und Laien, die sich danach sehnen, dass Gott seine Kirche wachrüttelt. Wir hören Geschichten, in denen der Heilige Geist die Herzen der Menschen ergreift, die offen sind, sich für die Erneuerung der Kirche einsetzen zu lassen.

Die Vision für die Region ist, so Ferdinand Degenfeld, "zu sehen, wie Gemeinden mit dem Heiligen Geist effektiv Leben verändern, indem sie Menschen in allen unseren Ländern zu der verwandelnden Erfahrung der Liebe Jesu bringen. Ich möchte erleben, wie Priester und ihre Teams mit Selbstvertrauen und freudig ihre Berufung leben, die Getauften befähigen, aussenden und das Feuer von Pfarrei zu Pfarrei weitergeben, so dass sie zu Leuchtfeuern in unseren Städten und der Gesellschaft werden. Die Pfarreien sind berufen, wieder das Rückgrat der Kirche zu werden!"

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This region is unique in its challenges but identical to the global Church in its need for parish renewal. DACH is a region where a movement towards mission is grassroots – priests and laity who are hungry for God to move in His Church. Stories are emerging of the Holy Spirit moving and capturing the hearts of those who are willing and open to be used for the renewal of the Church. DACH Regional Coordinator, Ferdinand Degenfeld, states that the vision is “to see parishes being really effective in changing lives, by bringing people all over our countries to the transformative experience of Jesus’ love. I want to see priests and their teams confidently and joyfully living their calling, empowering the baptized and spreading the fire from parish to parish, so that they become beacons of light in our towns and cities. Parishes are called to become the backbone of the Church once more!”

A year ago Father Sherwin’s blood pressure was unstable. Within 5 weeks he had lost a significant amount of weight. Then an ECG showed that he had had a minor heart attack. Next, his childhood asthma came back, and he struggled with diverticulitis. A diagnostic journey began as he was sent from one specialist to the next, through test after test. All of this happened within a year of Father Sherwin becoming the new Pastor of St. Mark Catholic Mission Parish in Pakuranga, New Zealand. “This is where Divine Renovation came in,” he says.

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 ).

When Fr. Sathi first arrived at St. John the Baptist in Estevan, Saskatchewan in 2020 there were 39 people serving in ministries, they now have over 200 people evangelizing with new and revived ministries.  The parish leaders at St. John the Baptist and are clear about the changes that have taken place since focusing on parish renewal and applying Divine Renovation’s 3 keys.