Pastor's Corner

2016 01-03 Begin This Year Of Mercy with a Christ Renews His Parish Renewal Weekend

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Guest column from Deacon Tom Huff

It’s hard to believe that a new year is upon us. Pope Francis has declared 2016 as the Year of Mercy. He declared the Year of Mercy because, “It is the favorable time to heal wounds; a time not to be weary of meeting all those who are waiting to see and touch with hands the signs of the closeness of God; a time to offer everyone the way of forgiveness and reconciliation”. This Year of Mercy offers so many opportunities to grow in our faith and to renew our relationship with God, with our families, and yes even the people that we do not yet know. 

I can think of many ways to begin this Year of Mercy and one that comes to mind is the Christ Renews His Parish (CRHP) Program offered to our parishioners on January 30 and 31 (Women’s weekend) and February 6 and 7 (Men’s weekend). The CRHP weekend is a free gift from God that can have a tremendous impact on the personal faith journey of anyone who chooses to attend. I have included four personal reflections of men and women who attended the CRHP 15 weekends this past August:  

“I had the pleasure and honor of attending CRHP 15 last August. I had no idea what to expect, and I didn’t know any of the attendees. Little did I know that a whole new world would open up for me. I have never experienced so much love and joy in a single weekend with so many wonderful women who have now become cherished friends. CRHP rekindled my love and closeness for our Lord, my Catholic faith, and our Saint Brigid Parish. This is truly an unforgettable experience that everyone should be able to enjoy and a gift that can be passed on to many others.” 

“We had just moved to Alpharetta and I felt a bit like a fish out of water—attending Mass in a large and vibrant parish was great, but deep down I did not feel connected. CRHP was a great opportunity for me to meet 30 CRHP attendees and another 30 weekend presenters from the parish. We shared good talk, good food, and some real life experiences. I came away from the weekend with several new friends and a renewed sense of purpose—as a Parishioner, as a Dad, and as a Catholic. I told my wife about the experience and she is planning to attend in January.” 

“Participating on CRHP 15 was a wonderful gift to myself—time for inner reflection, time to be inspired, and time to renew my soul, body, and mind. It changed me. Jesus is now more at the center of my life—more now than ever before, and I’m inspired to seek Him in a much deeper way every day on my life journey. Participating in CRHP enabled me to meet a group of amazing women who are seeking a deeper, fuller life with Christ—something I’ve been searching for. I’ve loved getting to know them and myself better on this journey as we grow in our faith.” 

“I would have to say that I had no real expectations of what this CRHP weekend would bring but came away pleasantly surprised in how fulfilling it was to spend the weekend with such a diverse group of men from our Parish. It seemed we were all in so many different places in our faith journey but whether in good times or more challenging ones we all did share one thing, our interest in strengthening our relationship with Christ. Listening to the speakers and sharing thoughts with my fellow Brothers in Christ really allowed me a fresh perspective on my relationship with God. This weekend really inspired me and has renewed my desire to not only walk more closely with Christ but my fellow man as well.” 

The CRHP weekend is for everyone, no matter age or condition of the soul. The weekend is not just for people struggling in their faith. It is for people who desire a closer relationship with God and our faith community, and who desire more energy in reaching out to serve others. The beauty of the weekend is that you can say as much or as little as you desire. There are no hidden expectations from any of the participants. The only expectation is allowing Christ to touch your heart and enrich your relationship even more with Him.

As this new year begins, why not make a resolution to seek out Christ on a CRHP weekend? Come away renewed and refreshed, ready to face the challenges of this new Year of Mercy.

2015 12-27 The Feast of the Holy Family and “Come Home For Christmas”
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