News and Info

News and Information

News and Information for members of and people interested in the North American Conference of Associates and Religious.

The North American Conference of Associates and Religious (NACAR) gives the small voice of individual associates and religious the ability to be clearly heard, through an organization built upon shared leadership. Our mission and vision statements communicate the integrated relationship of associates and religious with the simultaneous common bond of associates with each other. The collaboration is described and articulated by our organization on our website, in-person gatherings and social media. This increased communication has established our collective identity. NACAR facilitates the presence of our voice in the church today by naming and identifying the work of talented associates and religious in the United States and Canada.

The board of directors proudly presents this  pdf 2014-2015 Annual Report (2.14 MB)  to describe the webinars, workshops, retreat, publications, and join program planning with regional groups. In our online publication, The Associate, the articles and reflections by NACAR members give evidence of the depth of thinking and compassionate involvement with ministries happening throughout North America and beyond.

Please read this report and then determine where you can contribute to the activities and new visioning for the associate-religious relationship. This successful year was the result of personal commitments to our NACAR mission. Let us enjoy the year-end review and eagerly anticipate the new opportunities we can plan together for the 20th anniversary of NACAR in 2016.

(The Annual Report is a members only document. Be sure to login and then  pdf download it here (2.14 MB) .)

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Pope Francis riding his Pope MobileOur North American shores have been blessed to welcome and host a three-city pilgrimage of peace, and prayer under the inspirational leadership of Pope Francis. Who can forget the images of huge, armored SUV's riding escort for the small, black Fiat 500 that carried Pope Francis?

Among the themes which he addressed in speaking to the joint session of Congress in Washington DC was that of seeking dialogue rather than territorial supremacy. While we might think first of the political or military realms, it is also a call to religious bodies to seek dialogue rather than suppressing dialogue in the name of authority, traditions or pre-eminence.

We, of NACAR, are engaged in that dialogue daily. We wish to encourage bridge-building between the laity and the religious congregations who both share in the call to holiness we name as our charism. We want that dialogue to serve the Church in North America, and we are eager to have new member Congregations and individuals come aboard to help fulfill Pope Francis' model of an evangelizing Church that evangelizes joyfully.

Sr. Catherine McNamee, CSJThis month we wish to thank Sr. Catherine McNamee, CSJ, for two years of service to the Board of Directors of NACAR. Other obligations make it difficult for her to continue as a member of the Board, but she has offered to step in and assist as needed. We appreciate her sharp mind, and her long experience in leadership as a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet.

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Red PoppyIn our northern climate, the month of November vividly reminds me of the letting go, the resting, the dying, that is the beginning of new life and resurrection. It is the month of all saints and of all souls – a reminder of our connection to the full communion of saints – and, in a more somber way, a month in which we remember those who gave their lives in the struggle for freedom and justice. 100 years after the beginning of "the great war to end all wars" we are still struggling to live in peace and to share the wealth of the earth justly.

As I write, the tragedy of this past week fills my mind and turns me towards God for solace and direction. A young soldier, who two days ago stood tall, focused on honouring his country and his compatriots by guarding the grave of the unknown soldier at our National War Memorial, was cut down violently. Tonight he has been carried home along the Highway of Heroes, to his home city of Hamilton while thousands mourned his passing. Another young man, one from a troubled past with a troubled mind, stirred to hatred and seeking to destroy, took his brother's life and further, rampaged in violence against all that stood for authority and order.

In death, the first was surrounded immediately by bystanders ministering to his wounds and attempting to comfort him in the dying moments of his life. The second was brought down in violence by the violence he precipitated. Two sons of a nation, two choices ... two paths chosen. It is so easy to praise the one and condemn the other.

I struggle with the mystery of their life and death and with how You, my God, see all this. You reveal yourself as mercy and forgiveness. Can I step aside from judgment and pray for your grace to be there for both? Even more, can I be a channel of your mercy, seeking to reach those struggling with life and its meaning? Can I help Love overcome hate, and sow the seeds of peace? Be with us Lord!

Sr. Nancy Hurren is a CND Sister from Western Canada.

In Canada the 'Poppy flower' is the symbol/logo for Canada's Remembrance Day, which is Veterans Day in the US, both celebrated on Nov. 11th.

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Associate Commitment Ceremonies

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Juggling ClownThis past week I attended a conference at the University of Notre Dame entitled “To All The World: Preaching and the New Evangelization.” Presentations by Dominicans Timothy Radcliffe, Jamie Phelps, Gregory Heille and Theresa Rickard invited the gathering of participants to ponder the dimensions of  “preaching” available to all of us not only in our churches but in work sites, communities and families. Diocesan Priests, Sisters, Associates and other lay ministers from across the country shared their visions of the new evangelization alive in our Church today.

One session by Dr. Susan McGugan and Dr. Deborah Organ focused on “Mighty Words from Creative Spaces.” They told the story of Sr. Dorothy Fabritze, who chose a ministry to work with the circus as a “biblical presence amid the glitzy backdrop and colorful characters, from acrobats to clowns to animal trainers.” An initial effort to meet the workers, who were always in a hurry, was to put a soft padded chair next to her ticket booth. Sure enough, workers began to stop, sit and share their thoughts and lives with her. She also worked closing the curtain and in the quiet dark time before she did her curtain task, “there were ‘God moments’ where wonderful spiritual things happened in conversations, just because she was there” (See This family DOES live in a circus at

As NACAR members and friends, I’ll bet we could all share stories of  “mighty words from creative places” about those unexpected places where ‘theological values’ find voices which are powerful, important and essential for proclamation of the Word. Since NACAR is seeking reflections and responses to our website, online magazine and these President/Board messages, please send us your stories and examples of “mighty words from creative places.”

And, speaking of NACAR members, please remember that membership renewals and new membership applications are due by July 15. If you need an extension on that date, please let us know. 

Also please notice something new on our website. We now have a Consultant Directory with a listing of those NACAR members who are interested in offering presentations, workshops, etc.  You will find it listed under the Members menu (you have to be logged in to see this menu item as it is a benefit for NACAR members). We are hoping to add more consultants, so if you, or someone you know, is interested in being listed in this directory please contact us.

Happy summer to everyone, Conni!

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