This past Lent, Fr. Joseph and I hosted about 25 men from SJB on Monday evenings and another 25 Saturday mornings for food, fellowship, and faith sharing. We would start with a half-hour social time in Pier 153 (the tiki bar Fr. Magner built in our rectory basement). It was a great way to connect men with other men from the parish. Then we broke into 4 small groups throughout the rectory for faith sharing and reflecting on the upcoming Sunday scripture readings. It was inspiring to see these men connecting on a deeper level and realizing that they are not alone in trying to go against the tide of our society by living as men of faith. The men found other brothers in Christ who could support them through the challenges and rejoice with them in their victories. I was really excited that a couple of the guys from my group got together outside of our meetings for time together with their children. It was also encouraging to see them visiting in St. Joseph Hall after Mass now since they know each other’s names.
One of the fruits that I have seen as well is that two of the men approached me about getting each of their marriages blessed in the Catholic Church. Another one of the men in the group shared that he was only Baptized Catholic and desires to receive the Sacrament of Confession as well as the other Sacraments of Initiation. The Holy Spirit is moving in the midst of small groups at SJB and it is exciting to see.
Archbishop Hebda has asked pastors to prioritize small group ministry in the next year and we intend to do just that. If you are interested in becoming a small group leader, please contact Jessica Balzarini at the parish office. We were at capacity in our small groups for the number of trained leaders we have, and we need more. Please pray about whether the Lord is calling you forth into mission. I am meeting with our Synod Evangelization team on April 29 to plan a vision for the coming year of how we can grow our small group ministry.