The staffs of Liturgy Training Publications and
the Archdiocese of Chicago were deeply saddened upon hearing of the
sudden death of Fr. Ronald J. Lewinski on July 19.
Fr. Ron's leadership in the Archdiocese of Chicago, and indeed the
universal Church, was immense. As an archdiocese, we relied on him during
the 1970s and '80s as parishes implemented the liturgical reforms of the
Second Vatican Council. He served in those years as director of the
catechumenate and then as director of the Office for Divine Worship. More
recently, as the archdiocese began its Renew My Church process, he was the
archbishiop's delegate for Parish Transformation, and then co-director of the
Department of Parish Vitality and Mission. While pastor of St. Mary of the
Annunciation Church for eighteen years, the parish grew from two hundred to
1,600 families, he led a building effort there, and served as an archdiocesan
He was passionate about Christian initiation, the liturgy, and the formation
of both priests and the faithful. He taught at the seminary and mentored seminarians
and deacons. Periodically, he wrote about liturgy and initiation for this magazine,
and he always encouraged and supported the work of Liturgy Training Publications in
forming liturgical ministers.
Through both the written and spoken word, this pioneer in the ministry of Christian
initiation has assisted parishes and dioceses in their understanding and implementation
of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). "He was a great witness to
the power of the catechumenate to transform the lives of those seeking Christian inititation,"
said Oscar Cruz, director of the catechumenate and family catechesis for the Archdiocese of
New York. Cruz said he was thankful that Ron had given the keynote at the New York Archdiocesan
Forum on the Catechumenate last November. "We are so grateful that the Archdiocese of New York
benefitted from his wisdom and many years of experience," Cruz said.
Only weeks before Ron died, his book An Introduction to the RCIA: The Vision of Christian
Initiation was published, continuing his work in Christian initiation that began soon after
the Rite was promulgated. As director of the catechumenate, he sought ways to serve parishes seeking
to implement the RCIA. He started a newsletter, which later became Chicago Catechumenate,
and then Catechumenate: A Journal of Christian Initiation. He edited the journal until fall
1983. He assisted parishes in forming sponsors with Guide for Sponsors, now in its fourth
edition, and educated assemblies through the pamphlet series Understanding Christian Initiation.
This issue of Pastoral Liturgy® will honor Fr. Ron by looking back at his life and work.
We are reprinting the article "The Rite of Acceptance with Pope John Paul II," which he first wrote for
the October 1979 issue of Chicago Catechumenate and updated for the March 2014 issues of
Catechumenate. In other articles his friends and colleagues recall his influence.
May his soul rest in peace.
Bishop Joseph N. Perry
Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago
Using the liturgy as its source, Pastoral Liturgy® has been intentionally designed to be of service to the whole parish with resources for leaders and parishioners, those who are just beginning to learn about liturgy, and those who are seasoned volunteers and professionals.
The six 32-page, full-color issues follow the course of the liturgical year to provide guidance for liturgy preparation, faith formation, liturgical art and architecture, and the many areas of parish ministry that flow from the liturgy to witness the Gospel and build the kingdom of God.
Pastors, parish staffs, liturgy committees, catechists, musicians, architects, and everyone seeking to learn more about how the liturgy forms and informs all of parish life will find this resource a valuable support to understanding the liturgy more fully and incorporating it as the source for all they do. That's why Pastoral Liturgy® magazine is the liturgy magazine for the whole parish!