Catholic Renewal Center moves to new location in Crestwood

Lisa Johnston | lisajohnston@archstl.org

At the heart of the archdiocesan Catholic Renewal Center is a grassroots mission to help others receive the Holy Spirit in their lives.

Prayer, conferences, spiritual direction, seminars, teaching and retreats are part of that work. To help expand upon those services, the center relocated its offices this past November from north St. Louis County to the former Sparkill Dominican convent at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish in Crestwood.

The move came with several notable amenities: a more central location -- the inside of which hosts a mid-century modern vibe -- space for overnight retreats and access to nearby Grant's Trail. Not to mention the ability to quadruple the number of people it serves, according to Jane Guenther, who has served as center director since March 2015. Msgr. Edward Griesedieck is chaplain, and Bishop Emeritus Robert J. Hermann is the center's liaison.

"We have a vision of moving forward," said Guenther. "We have a new vision for this that is more inclusive. It's bringing everybody together."

Part of moving forward is expanding services for Catholic Hispanics, said Guenther. Three Hispanic members serve on the center's service team, which provides guidance for the center's nine ministries. Two popular ministries with the Hispanic community are Life in the Spirit seminars, which are for those seeking to deepen their relationship with the Triune God; and Healing and Deliverance, a special prayer ministry for people possibly troubled or affected by evil spirits.

The center also is growing its young adult ministry, which meets the third Tuesday of the month at the center's chapel. The group draws about two dozen young adults and provides "a more intimate prayer experience," said Guenther. Young adults also have been trained for the Jonah Prayer Ministry, another ministry that provides confidential, small-group prayer support.

The center serves about 12,000-14,000 people a year, noted Guenther, Catholic and non-Catholic. There are three paid staff members, six regular volunteers, about two dozen priests and more than 500 volunteers across the archdiocese who help with the ministries. "They tell me what is needed and come from all parts of the archdiocese," she said.

As Guenther spends the new year settling into the new place, St. Elizabeth of Hungary pastor Father Christopher Martin is excited for the center's contribution to the revitalization of the Crestwood area. The Sparkill Dominicans, which have been at the parish since the 1950s, were down to two living at the convent; the parish school closed at the end of the 2003-04 year.

"I thought this would be a wonderful fit, both for the Catholic Renewal Center and St. Elizabeth of Hungary and the Catholic Church in Crestwood," he said.

Catholic Renewal Center

1406 S. Sappington Road

Crestwood, Mo., 63126

Phone: (314) 731-6100

Website: www.archstl.org/renewal 

Ministries

Healing and Deliverance

Life in the Spirit

Magnificat Ministry (women)

Zechariah Ministry (men)

Prayer groups

Spiritual gifts inventory

Spiritual direction

Retreats

Conferences 

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