Parish Impact


Parish Impact

New Leaven tends to foster the following dimensions of parish renewal:

  • Durable small groups whose members have been proven to need one another
  • Natural impetus for evangelization from the first-hand stories of seeing Christ at work
  • Initiatives of lay ministry that arise through individuals or as the small group
  • Maturity in the use of spiritual gifts
  • The emergence of lay leadership that is tempered by first-hand, pastoral experience
  • Desire for obedience to God, and delight from doing so
  • Improved marriages, especially the beautiful prospect of shared-discipleship marriages
  • Generous docility to procreation
  • Wiser parenting and greater domestic peace
  • Better stewardship of personal resources
  • Greater freedom from the influence of evil spirits
  • Greater availability for service, given more orderly attention to personal time
  • Ready response to the movement of the Holy Spirit in everyday circumstance
  • Fraternal collaboration that overcomes isolated individualism
  • Vital communion, as reinforced by the long duration of New Leaven groups
  • Stimulus for parish renewal, given the leavening witness of uncommonly-obedient living.

Elaboration on this Purpose

New Leaven is an initiative in New Evangelization that seeks to foster the profound conversion and integrated Catholic formation of a few people whose subtle, leavening presence in a parish would help cultivate renewal. The design of New Leaven draws primarily from the teaching of Pope St. John Paul II and the worldwide experience of charismatic renewal over the last 45 years. As a pastoral initiative, it takes its "marching orders" from John Paul's Apostolic Letter of 2001, "Novo Millenio Ineunte." As a ministry of integrated formation for the laity, it takes up his vision for the mature Catholic layperson, as taught especially in the Apostolic Exhortation of 1988, ""Christifideles Laici." In addition to his teaching, the work is also modeled on the Pope's great respect for the human person-on the one hand, aiming for the peak of his anthropology, man living in the "full stature of Christ"(Eph 4:13), while on the other hand, approaching the rigors of formation with profound kindness in the face of human weakness. Thus, the term, "leaven," suggests transformative contact from within rather than imposition from without.

We believe that New Leaven can be crucial for stimulating parish renewal, drawing from the same prophetic stream of grace, shown below, as has brought a New Pentecost into the Church since Vatican II -what Cardinal Ratzinger called "New Outpourings." As highlighted by the astonishing renewal of individuals in the power of the Holy Spirit and by so many new ecclesial movements and communities, we believe that this stream is still widening, tending to bring a new kind of normal to Catholic life. Further, we perceive that the Spirit is calling us to rely deeply upon Him for what John Paul called a "new and promising season" for the parish.(CL26) We look for a Season of Parish Renewal in which the hard work of transformation will be made possible through the manifest action of God. (CL63)


If we take seriously what the Spirit has been showing the Church over the last several decades, we must acknowledge that millions of individuals have received an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that overcomes, in their adulthood, an all-too-common dormancy of sacramental grace. It is also clear that much wisdom for pastoring and teaching is now available for leading persons from the first flush of charismatic renewal toward maturation in the Spirit-filled life. Given the supernatural help that the Holy Spirit provides, we look to the prospect of Catholics becoming formed as lifetime laborers for the Gospel, like in the early Church and in subsequent eras of fidelity and renewal.

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