Support from the Parish Community
Small Faith Communities
One of the best practices among Catholic parishes involved in discipleship formation is to encourage the strong tradition of small faith groups to help build up the life of the parish and support the family as “the privileged place for transmitting the faith.” A growing disciple will deeply benefit from a space to be known, loved and cared for as he or she deepens their friendship with Jesus and other disciples.
Some parishes have developed “Connect Groups” or “Grow Groups”, uniting one or more existing small faith communities or after-Alpha groups by age, interest, or location, to continue strengthening themselves along their journey in groups of 10 to 20 people. These groups are hosted either at the parish or at homes, and their leaders are invited to assume a deliberate role of pastoral care, serving and guiding the group. Parishes seem to become smaller with strong groups offering a new dimension of pastoral care.
For consultation in operation and details contact Monica Oppermann.
Our ‘new normal’ in terms of connectedness, engagement, and outreach just might
need to look like a ‘very old normal’.
SUGGESTED SESSION STRUCTURE
Food & Fellowship
Allow the first 20 to 30 minutes for the group to know each other on a personal basis and to share a meal to help the members relax and re-connect. The type of food will be determined and influenced by the time of day of their meetings and the personality of the group.
Prayer & Worship
Dedicate 15 to 20 minutes for group prayer, encouraging simple and spontaneous prayer. Depending on the personality of the group, some groups choose to pray Liturgy of the Hours or to complement the prayer time with worship lyrics and music.
This part should be designed to engage and inspire conversation. Depending on the topic of choice and group resources, it could be a live talk or video, followed by discussion and exchange of inspirations on the topic.
A time of prayer
Devote the last 10-15 minutes of the session for more prayer, encouraging praying for personal intentions of the members of the group, sharing prayers answered and group updates.
The possibilities of resources and content to use in the connect groups is immense. Some parishes have selected materials suitable to continue deepening the disciple’s Encounter and experience of the Holy Spirit through programs like Wild Goose, or New Leaven.