The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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April 14, 2000 Issue
Renew 2000

Renew serves as bright spot for Crivitz youth

More than 30 young people, from grade five through high school, are taking part

By Jeff Kurowski
Compass Assistant Editor

If young people represent the future of the church, St. Mary Parish in Crivitz has bright days ahead. More than 30 young people from St. Mary's participate in Renew 2000. One small faith group serves high school students, while another includes participants from grades five through seven.

For the high school group, the first season of Renew began at a time of need. A classmate, who had recently graduated, was killed in July of 1998. The Renew group helped the teens deal with the traumatic event, said group leader Sally Witt.

"It was something they really needed," she said. "It helped for them to talk about things and sort it out."

Witt had two children of her own in the group at the time. The high school small faith community began with an open invitation and has grown to include approximately 20 members. The group, which follows the Renew format, meets on Sunday evenings for an hour. The teens usually participate in social activities after the meeting.

"They have a lot of faith," said Witt. "It's sometimes hard for them to express their faith with peer pressure, but this gives them that opportunity. We have some kids who dropped out of religion classes and some who weren't very active Catholics, but they still have their beliefs. It is a really good group."

The group will continue in Season V. Some members will be lost to graduation, but Witt expects new members to join. A group for teens may continue in the future when Renew 2000 ends.

"The standing invitation on Sunday nights continues," said Witt. "We keep it simple. Some share more than others, but I believe that they can learn from listening to others. I have learned from working with young people that you can't be too demanding. Sometimes you just have to let them go off, and then help them regain their focus. It's going really well."

The small faith group for students in grades five through seven began when a young girl responded to a bulletin announcement to sign up for Renew. Her parents were in a group, so she wanted to participate. Pat Resch agreed to lead the group if the girl recruited other classmates. The group began with five members, but has since grown to 11.

Unlike the high school group, this small faith community goes beyond the Renew 2000 schedule.

"We meet every week, even when the Renew season has ended," explained Resch. "We will continue as long as they want to meet."

The group follows the Renew format, but also participates in projects to benefit the community. For example, the kids will be making Easter baskets to deliver to the Newcare Convalescent Center, a community based residential facility for the elderly.

"We do a number of projects involving Newcare," said Resch. "Some of the kids don't feel comfortable meeting with the elderly, which is fine, but for those that do, it has been a valuable experience."

"I want the kids to know that God loves them and for them to learn about God and relationships in life," she added. "The only rule I have for them is they must be friends. They are great kids."

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