“All Are Welcome”: Words that the Franciscan Renewal Center live by as they help “renew” lives - Fiesta Bowl | Fiesta Bowl

“All Are Welcome”: Words that the Franciscan Renewal Center live by as they help “renew” lives

Nov 07, 2018

During the Wells Fargo Fiesta Bowl Par 3 Challenge, presented by Kadima.Ventures, members of the Arizona media participated in the Media Shootout. Each member was partnered with a non-profit and the winner would have $2,000 donated to that organization.

At the time, Franciscan Renewal Center’s General Manager Charlie Brown was in Italy leading a group of healthcare professionals from the Mayo Clinic on a pilgrimage from Rome to Assisi. Back in Arizona, his organization was represented by CBS 5’s anchor Sean McLaughlin. McLaughlin, much to his own surprise, scored big for the Center and won the Shootout with the shot that was closest to the pin.

When he heard about it, Brown was ecstatic about the results.

“I screamed on the bus,” Brown said.

Founded in 1951, when the city of Scottsdale was a ranching town that was more desert and mountains than the massive city it is today, Franciscan Renewal Center was first a small church. As the years went on, it grew and the organization became what it is today, focused on helping anyone that needs it.

“Our mission is we renew lives,” said Franciscan Renewal Center General Manager Charlie Brown. “We do it through spiritual growth, healing and transformation and service to others.”

The Center provides this through an array of programs, such as legal counseling, support groups, spiritual counseling, and so much more.

“Spiritual growth, the many retreats that we offer, whether you’re divorced or you’re married, or you’re going through grief… we offer all of those and more every year,” Brown said.

Additionally, the Center hosts three veteran retreats which helps men and women with the physical and mental suffering experienced while serving. Brown said that some of these veterans “unpack” their pain that have built over time on these retreats because they feel safe in that environment.

“Over 350 veterans have gone on retreats here,” Brown said. “We have some of the finest people in the world who come here to give the retreats. One of them is a priest who was working with South Africa during Apartheid and he opened a package and a bomb blew off his arms.

“So he created this amazing retreat… when he comes to the retreat to facilitate it and there are 25 veterans and they see him without his arms, he has their attention.”

It’s because of these programs and how committed the Center is to helping the community that Fiesta Bowl Charities donated to the Franciscan Renewal Center as part of the $2.5 million grant cycle this year. The grant is to help assist in improving the Center’s facilities and their programs, including building a new conference center.

“When Fiesta Bowl Charities agreed to support us, in a sense, what they’re doing through their dollars and their commitment to us is building on that love,” Brown said.

Brown said that they’re proud to be a part of the Fiesta Bowl family and working with them. He believes that both organizations are “all about providing resources and the capacity for other organizations to grow” and to help the Arizona community through their charitable actions.

“When people talk about the Franciscan Renewal Center, it’s about this being an organization that cares about everyone,” Brown said. “Whether you’re Jewish, Muslim, or Christian or Atheist, all are welcome. It is not just a buzz word, it’s not just a phrase, our priests mean it. Our job is to meet people at the door, regardless of race, creed, color, or how much they make and walk with them on their journey of faith, whatever that is.”

For Brown, he said those who work at the Center have “a passion and commitment to help the world become a better place for everyone.”

For more information about the Franciscan Renewal Center and their programs, click here.