Dear Parishioners, +JMJ
Last week we had our first session of ALPHA. Thanks to everybody who put so much work into preparing and helping to lead it. The program is intentionally designed for leadership by lay parishioners, rather than the priest. Sometimes this can help people much more to engage the faith and ask questions, without feeling inhibited that the priest is around with all the right answers. This can be very helpful for people who are just approaching Christianity or Catholicism for the first time. It’s perfect to have a mix of parishioners who are already living the faith, and newcomers who are exploring some of the huge questions of life for the first time. It’s also one more great way for parishioners to own the call to reach out with faith to the community, to those who are not yet living in relationship with Jesus Christ. Each parishioner can be such a powerful instrument in Jesus’ hands!
Thanks also to Paul Reinhart, who skillfully and graciously designed and installed a shelf for books in the front pews of our Paulding campus. The front pews look so much neater. We’re close to finishing a hymnal supplement that includes all of the necessary songs from the old Heritage Missalette. With a supplement, hopefully fitting into the current book holders in each pew, all of the pews will end up looking much neater. We’ve also finally purchased side-hanging book holders for the individual chairs at our Paulding campus. This will make it much easier for people in those chairs to access liturgical books.
Finally, I’d like to present to you the idea of small discipleship groups. It’s really the ideal for any parish; i.e., that every parishioner belong to some type of small faith group, for the sake of feeling personally supported, for the sake of being inspired by those close to you in a group, for the sake of being held accountable to growth in the faith, and for the sake simply of holy fellowship. Sometimes the size of the parish, especially with three campuses, can make it feel like we are not really very connected. I would love to see everybody part of some type a small group where they really do feel intensely connected to the faith. Our naturally family units, of course, already should be serving as a type of faith small group.
What’s beautiful about small groups is that they can come in so many shapes and sizes. They can be comprised of your current family relationships. Perhaps as a young adult couple, you already hang out with some other young adult couples. They could be your discipleship group. The men in the group could meet one week. The women in the group could meet the next week. Then your whole families could get together the third week… Always with food, fellowship and faith discussion. It’s very, very easy to come up with the format for such small group meetings. There is plenty of content on our FORMED subscription that could be used. But, it would actually be enough to talk about the high point and low point of life since your last meeting. Then you include a time of thanksgiving for blessings, as well as petitions for people you know in need. Then you could look at the gospel for the upcoming weekend and talk about what you see in it. That simple outline itself is a beautiful way to have a discipleship group meeting. I would love to see everybody experience the richness of such small Faith groups. I am always willing to help a group with ideas for content and format. I would love to hear about any groups that are forming.
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,