Bishop declares multi-year initiative for a “Time of Renewal”

December 1, 2007

Bishop Clark invites Catholics to multi-year “Time of Renewal”

Letter read from the pulpits of the Diocese

ROCHESTER, New York (Dec. 1, 2007) — In a letter read from all the pulpits of the Diocese of Rochester at Masses this past weekend (Dec. 1 and 2), Bishop Matthew Clark has declared a multi-year “Time of Renewal” intended to deepen people’s faith and bring new energy and commitment to their Christianity. The renewal will involve all the parishes and faith communities in the 12-county diocese.

“These past few years have been hard on everyone,” the Bishop wrote. “A changing economy and shifting demographics have altered our parishes dramatically. The resulting pastoral planning has been truly painful as we consolidated, merged and closed churches. The abuse scandal has offended and discouraged many of the faithful. Mass attendance is down. Vocations to the priesthood and religious life are few. Some find us helplessly polarized between those who are impatient for further change and those who fear the complete erosion of our treasured past. Some say we have lost our focus. Commentators have called us ‘a people adrift.’”

“Now is the perfect time for renewal,” the Bishop continued. “I invite you to enter a multi-year commitment to nourish what is most important—a personal relationship with Jesus, through prayer and Scripture.”

The renewal will formally begin in Lent 2008 – the 140th anniversary year of the Diocese — and extend for approximately three years. While planning is still underway, the renewal will feature an “electronic” inspirational retreat available on DVD and led by Bishop Clark; ceremonies to bless people’s personal Bibles; programs to deepen study of Scripture; programs and resources to help people determine the particular gifts God has given them; and ways to fully practice the biblical principles of Stewardship as a way of life. It is hoped the event will conclude with a major, large-scale public gathering.

The Bishop has appointed Rev. Peter C. Clifford, pastor of St. John of Rochester Church in Fairport, and Maribeth Mancini, diocesan director of the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis, to co-chair the renewal effort.

Issued by Office of Communications, 585-328-3210 or

The complete text of the letter in English and Spanish follows: