Over the past year, the ministry has continued to grow and thrive. I want to share a few highlights that made this year particularly special.
2022 brought the launch of two new books under the Divine Renovation brand. Preaching on Purpose, written collaboratively by three Catholic priests and a Wesleyan pastor, was released in July. While there are many books on the theology of preaching, there are few Catholic resources on the skill of missional preaching. Divine Renovation worked to fill this gap. With thousands of copies sold worldwide, the book has been a hit with Catholic priests, deacons, and Protestant leaders looking to preach in an effective and missional way. We also published my latest book, Thriving Faith. It was written from an entirely different perspective. Written for lay Catholics and ideal for group study, this book is a primer on how we can live an active and joyful faith even in the uncertainty of modern times. We’ve been honoured by the positive reception both books have received.
At my own parish, Our Lady of Guadalupe, we have been on the same journey as so many other parishes: the journey from maintenance to mission. When I wrote my first book, Divine Renovation, I was pastoring a parish that was well on the journey. After asking my Bishop to return to parish ministry in the midst of the pandemic, I was presented with a wonderful and challenging opportunity to begin the same journey that our ministry supports so many parishes on. I’m excited by the challenges my parish faces, but more excited in seeing the fruit locally of what we coach globally. By embracing the three keys of Divine Renovation – the Power of the Holy Spirit, the Best of Leadership, and the Primacy of Evangelization – we are beginning to see fruit. This is the fruit of lives transformed, of people encountering Jesus for the first time, and of parishes coming alive. None of that fruit would be possible without the support of our many donors from around the world. I thank you this year on behalf of Divine Renovation Ministry for that support. Support of our work that happens through the incredible team that God has assembled, I am happy to also thank you from a very personal place. The parish that I pastor has been impacted by your generosity as well.
Through your support and with the grace of the Holy Spirit, we are seeing more and more parishes take the same journey towards mission. I ask you to pray for our ministry’s work and for the continuing momentum of parishes around the world towards the path of mission.
May the Lord continue to bless our work and each of you with abundance.
Fr. James Mallon
Divine Renovation Ministry
I’m thrilled to share a few ways God has blessed us in 2022. Accompaniment is the cornerstone of our work, and in 2022 we coached
406 parishes in seven different languages around the world. In these relationships, we walk alongside parish priests and their senior leadership teams as they learn, discern, and implement principles of parish renewal in their context. With our expertise on parish renewal and their knowledge of their local needs, we’ve seen lives changed and people brought into relationship with Jesus around the world.
Divine Renovation has also had increased opportunities to gather in person, in many cases for the first time since the pandemic in 2020. The DR USA conference brought over 500 people from as far as Australia and Poland to Dallas for five days of prayer, fellowship, and learning. Even the heat of Texas summer couldn’t stop the contagious joy and excitement from spreading among attendees – both those registered and the carload from the other side of the country that showed up on the first day!
While previous DR events have been held in Halifax, the DR USA conference confirmed for us that the right new model is to host events regionally, allowing people from around the world to attend and encouraging regionally linked parish teams to support one another. We saw this successful dynamic play out at a smaller conference in Breda, Netherlands. In fact, our regions have been so passionate about bringing people together that we had an event (in person or online) on every continent except Antarctica in 2022.
The Holy Spirit is at the centre of all we do, and we continue to pray for God’s guidance as we head into 2023. We are so grateful for the donors, supporters, and partners who make this work possible.
Divine Renovation Ministry
At Divine Renovation, our vision is for
every Catholic parish in the world to be missional.
We will do this by
Inspiring, connecting, and equipping parishes to be missional and through them bring people to Jesus.
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.
Notable highlights from 2022
Our biggest event to date • Together with Alpha, we co-hosted What is God Saying to the Church? — a conversation featuring Bishop Robert Barron, Revd. Nicky Gumbel, and Fr. James Mallon on the topic of evangelization in the post-pandemic context.
Over 7,000 people registered for this event, with 300 watch parties organized in parishes, diocesan offices, chaplaincies, and organizations around the world.
Following the event, 150 priests answered the call to mission through an exclusive event focused on orienting parishes for mission, while over 1,000 parish leaders signed up for Prayer for Parish Renewal — a Lenten prayer campaign for the transformation of parishes.
A wave of firsts • DR Deutschsprachiger Raum (German speaking countries) was incorporated in 2022 as our newest regional office, enabling priests and parish leaders in these countries to be equipped for mission.
In July, the first Divine Renovation USA Conference was held in Dallas, TX — with people traveling as far away as Australia, Austria, and Poland to attend the sold-out event. Our Australasia office also hosted an Open House in Taupō — our first live event in New Zealand — with attendees representing every single diocese in the country.
We also released new books in 2022:
- Fr. James Mallon’s Thriving Faith: Discipleship in Uncertain Times, aimed particularly for the laity, and
- Preaching on Purpose: A Divine Renovation Handbook for Communicating the Gospel Today — directed at equipping priests with the tools they need to preach in ways that pierce hearts and bring people to Jesus.
Lastly, Fr. James’ 2020 book Beyond the Parish was released in Dutch — the second translation of the book after French — further supporting parish and diocesan leaders in the Netherlands and Belgium (Flanders).
Divine Renovation inspires priests and lay leaders to move their parishes from maintenance to mission.
Through our events, stories, and resources, we’re giving priests and lay leaders a platform where they can share inspiring stories of transformation. In turn, more and more parishes are inspired to move into action and see their parish come alive by reclaiming their missionary identity.
Since 2021, the number of priests connected with Divine Renovation has grown from 1,800 to 2,456.
connected with DR
equipped through events
connected with DR
"Fr. Hesse's parish is now ablaze with renewal with hundreds of parishioners travelling by train just for Sunday Mass."
Bringing renewal to your parish can be a difficult and lonely journey — but it doesn't have to be that way.
Catholics want to see their parishes come alive. But without seeing the example of other parishes doing things differently, it can be difficult to see what’s possible — let alone know where and how to begin.
As “iron sharpens iron” (cf. Proverbs 27:17), so too do Catholics who are on fire for mission. Divine Renovation connects parish leaders around the world in a network with whom they can create and share new knowledge, ideas, and best practices.
represented at our online events
engagements on our platforms
"The [parish merger] process hinged on the principles of Divine Renovation. This was not a retreat, this was a regrouping...we were going to be moving forward with the renewal of our parishes."
We provide tools and coaching to help parishes escape maintenance mode and live out their missionary identity.
As a guide, Divine Renovation exists to accompany and equip parish leaders for the work of mission.
Through coaching, events, and resources, we equip parishes and their leaders to pursue mission by helping them live out the Three Keys to Parish Renewal:
- Power of the Holy Spirit
- Primacy of Evangelization
- Best of Leadership
31 online • 17 in-person • 1 conference
DR books sold, translated in 10 languages
Since 2016, we've coached 782 priests from 29 countries, in 7 different languages.
"[Fr. Sathi] has empowered us to do things. Those things that are sometimes buried inside of you…bringing them to a pastoral place and flourishing."
THE NEED FOR PARISH RENEWAL
The Church is made for mission
The fruit that we’re seeing in the parishes we journey with is incredible. Every day, we are astonished by the impact that the Holy Spirit is making in people’s lives through parishes that are answering the call to mission.
But the heartbreaking reality is that a vast majority of parishes are still on a path of decline. They have yet to fully embrace mission over maintenance as their core identity.
Congregations are aging. Parishes are closing. Instead of winning souls for Christ, people are leaving. For parishes to even stop this downward trend — let alone turn the tide and see new life — they cannot rely on the models and practices of the past.
Today, as the Church fully emerges from the unique challenges of the last three years, this call to mission resounds even louder.
In this crucial moment, there is a real desire among many parishes to be renewed. And as a guide, Divine Renovation is uniquely positioned to bridge the gap between parish leaders — both ordained and lay — and the coaching and tools they need to escape maintenance mode and get back on track for mission.
We believe in the vision that God calls all parishes to be renewed in their missionary identity. And as a ministry, we are committed to inspiring and equipping parishes around the world to create a tipping point of change in the Church — one missional parish at a time.
WHY WE GIVE: A DONOR STORY
"I want to see a lineup for Mass outside every church that now only has a lineup for tourism."
Christopher Ryan is a lifelong Catholic. His wife Yuriko, a former atheist, experienced a conversion 10 years ago.
When they read Divine Renovation: From a Maintenance to a Missional Parish, they both experienced another conversion: “I believe that Christ’s Church needs immediate and significant reform and renovation.” For them, this was the moment they believed they “joined the DR movement.” Read more…