The past year has been rich with learnings since I stepped into the role of pastor at my new parish.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, is made up of four former parishes across a large geographic region. In many ways, I’ve been starting from scratch all over again: building a leadership team, bringing parishioners onboard, and launching Alpha, all during a pandemic! This work is essential to me in many ways – as a pastor, and as an opportunity to serve Divine Renovation Ministry from the trenches. The highs and lows of pastoral leadership are once again hard-earned experiential learnings to draw upon as we continue journeying alongside parishes around the world.
I want to express my gratitude to all our donors who have stepped up throughout 2021, and those who have continued to give so generously in years past and present. 2020 was a year of discovering just how much people are willing to give to see parishes renewed and people brought to Christ; 2021 has been a year of being astonished at how deep and consistent your generosity truly is.
Your donations enable growth and help parishes become thriving communities of faith. It is a blessing to witness the speed at which the ministry has grown worldwide, and it’s all through the power of the Holy Spirit and the kindness of those who give freely to enable this work. Please keep Divine Renovation Ministry and our parishes in your prayers as we continue to discern God’s will and work toward our vision of transformed parishes transforming the world.
Fr. James Mallon
Divine Renovation Ministry
It’s my honour and privilege to share with you reflections and great news that God has blessed us with over the past year.
2021 has been a year of unprecedented growth. We saw the ministry add 20 full-time employees as our work flourished inCanada, the US, the UK, and Australasia. We also started conversations with individuals passionate about parish renewal in Germany and South Africa, to begin the discernment process about whether we might be called to invest further in their regions. Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, we were able to resume limited international travel and began to offer hybrid events where online offerings were combined with support for small groups gathering in person. The creativity in finding ways to gather during the pandemic has greatly expanded our audience and been an incredible blessing for the ministry.
We have also seen interest from Bishops and Archbishops grow exponentially. From the first cohort of Bishops in group coaching to generous invitations to speak with priests at archdiocesan gatherings, we’ve expanded our reach in collaboration with Bishops and Archbishops over the past year. These key relationships have helped us reach a wider audience and connected us with leaders who want to see transformation across their diocese.
As we look forward to 2022, there’s much tobe excited about — from a return to in-person gatherings to deepened relationships with colleagues in German-speaking countries to a continued rise in priest participation in both group and one-on-one coaching. Divine Renovation Ministry continues to inspire pastors, connect them with other like-minded priests, and equip them with the tools they need to transform their parishes into thriving communities that help people fall in love with Jesus. I’m so grateful for everyone who pitches in to make this important work happen.
Divine Renovation Ministry
We seek to inspire priests and lay leaders to move their parishes from maintenance to mission.
We seek to connect with parish
leaders and walk with them on this journey of renewal.
We seek to equip and support parish leaders for the work of mission.
We do this by hosting events and developing resources where priests and lay leaders are given a platform to share inspiring stories of transformation in their parishes.
In 2020, the number of priests engaged with Divine Renovation was approximately 900. In 2021, that number doubled to 1,800. The number of bishops engaging with our ministry also grew by 68%.
Bishops engaged with Divine Renovation
Priests engaged with Divine Renovation
Attended our online events
Represented at our online events
Engagements through events, social media and email
Catholics around the world want their parishes to come alive. But without seeing the example of other parishes doing things differently, it can be difficult to see what’s possible, and discern where and how to begin.
Divine Renovation seeks to connect with parish leaders and walk with them on this journey of renewal. We’ve walked with other parishes and have seen what’s possible when Catholics are equipped for the work of mission — now, we want to share that with others.
Emily first got connected to DR when she was living in East Malaysia and went to a conference in Kuala Lumpur where Father James Mallon was streamed in for a breakout session. His message of moving from maintenance to mission resonated with her deeply.
Upon returning to her home diocese of Auckland in 2020, her parish priest, Father Austen, hadn’t only heard about the book Divine Renovation: From a Maintenance to a Missional Parish, but was about to meet with a group of his brother priests and Auxiliary Bishop Michael Gielen (now Bishop of Christchurch) for a book study.
With a strong desire to be a “fly on the wall”, Emily asked if she could join the discussion. “I really want to be a part of that because our priests still need us,” says Emily.
After that she leapt right into helping her parish with renewal – volunteering as a leader for their parish’s evangelization program.
As a guide, Divine Renovation exists to equip and support parish leaders for the work of mission.
Through our coaching programs, events, and resources, we equip parishes and their leaders to pursue mission by helping them live out the three principles or keys to parish renewal:
On topics that help parishes go further in mission, our events were attended by over 9,600 parish leaders from around the world.
Translated in 10 languages.
In 2021, 280 priests were equipped for mission through group coaching. Divine Renovation has coached priests from 23 countries, in 6 different languages.
In the last few decades, religious disaffiliation has been rising while the number of self-identifying Catholics has been declining — and among those who do, the critical markers for religious practice show a concerning trend. In Canada, for example, Canadian Catholics who attend Mass at least once a month has dropped at a staggering rate: from 56% in 1985, to 12% in 2022.
Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (cf. John 10:10). Now, more than ever, people need every opportunity to hear the life-giving Gospel of Jesus.
And in order to do so, as a Church, we simply cannot rely on the models and practices that were best suited for a time in the Church’s life that has since passed.
We believe that the local parish is the normative place where people can encounter Jesus. Hence, parishes must labour to give evangelization a priority in parish life. After all, Jesus didn’t give the Church a mission; He gave His mission a Church.
We believe that when 16% — that is, 35,000 — of parishes around the world live out their missionary identity, that will be the tipping point that will motivate all others. As a ministry, Divine Renovation is committed to seeing that become a reality, and we exist as a guide to help parishes answer this call to mission.
As a supporter of Divine Renovation Ministry, you’ll have the peace of mind that your generous gift is being leveraged for the renewal of parishes, globally.