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Christ Renews His Parish

Twenty years ago, when Msgr. Tom Tank and I first arrived at Ascension, Fr. Larry Albertson, the founding pastor, had initiated conversations about bringing a new retreat program to the parish. Msgr. Tank, as the newly appointed pastor, decided to follow Fr. Larry’s lead in welcome Christ Renews His Parish (CRHP) to Ascension and to the Archdiocese.

Ascension was the pilot parish for the Archdiocese and over the years many other parishes have chosen to offer CRHP to their parishioners. Ascension became the flagship parish for the program, and, to date, we have offered 37 renewal weekends for men and women, 74 weekend experiences in all, pausing only during Covid. Over 1,500 men and women have attended CRHP over the past twenty years here at Ascension. I know of no other program or initiative in this Archdiocese that has had the impact and bore as much positive fruit as CRHP.

However, since Covid, it has been increasingly more difficult to attract men and women to come on one of the CRHP Renewal Weekends. We have had to cancel some of the planned weekends due to lack of sufficient numbers. Additionally, higher percentages of attendees have expressed hesitance about continuing on with formation, and some even said they did not benefit as much from the content, compared to countless others who appreciated the content in the past. It seems something has changed in recent years.

Therefore, after considerable consultation with parish staff, the CRHP Continuation Committee, Msgr. Tank and Archbishop Naumann, I have decided to suspend the CRHP Renewal Weekend offerings here at Ascension. I do not relish being the pastor to make this decision, but I recall the line from the Book of Ecclesiastes, “for everything there is a season.” We may, in the future resume CRHP weekends, but for the time being we are suspending the program.

The parish staff and others are exploring retreat options and additional offerings to help parishioners experience transformational encounters with Christ and His Church.

Thank you to the so many parishioners who are part of the large CRHP Community here at Ascension and who have so generously given of their time and talent to support renewal weekends over the past twenty years. I encourage CRHP teams from the past to continue to meet to build each other up in faith.

Sincerely yours in Christ Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life,