September 14, 2023
Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. John’s,
In Archbishop Hebda’s Pastoral Letter, he calls all members of the Church in our diocese to reflect on the mysteries of the “Upper Room.” Here Christ washed the feet of the disciples, instituted the Eucharist, and sent the Holy Spirit during Pentecost. Archbishop explains that these mysteries encapsulate the community, love of Christ, and reliance on the Holy Spirit that our Archdiocese needs to adopt as we implement the findings of the Synod process.
One key finding: people are seeking community! It is no secret that our culture faces an epidemic of loneliness. The need for faithful fellowship with other Catholics was one of the primary themes of the early Synod listening sessions. Young professionals, new parents, recently retired, widows and widowers, etc… all are looking for deep, faithful relationships with others walking through the same season of life. This shared desire led Archbishop Hebda to present “Small Group Ministry” as the primary objective for Year 1 of Synod Implementation.
The absolute necessity of community is something Jesus not only preached but modeled in his own ministry. He selected the Twelve to be his companions and pupils, walking with Him from His early ministry to His death and resurrection. He then gifted them with the Holy Spirit and commissioned them to preach the Gospel, constantly seeking support from one another. “Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together” (Acts 2:46). If the disciples who spent years with Jesus Himself needed intentional community, how much more do we? We were not created to ride the highs and lows of life and faith alone, but to learn and grow among supportive brothers and sisters.
The first step to growing fruitful small group ministry in our parish is raising up leaders who are equipped to facilitate! Perhaps you have heard the saying that “God does not call the qualified, but qualifies the called.” This rings especially true in this season of renewal for the Archdiocese. Archbishop Hebda encourages each one of us to consider:
- How is God stirring in my heart?
- What is my mission in light of this letter?
- To what next steps in following Him is Jesus calling me?
Together with the Archbishop, we at St. John’s invite you to prayerfully consider participating in the Small Group Leader Formation that the Archdiocese is providing for each parish this fall. Come be formed in your faith, be equipped in small group facilitation, and grow in relationship with other parishioners discerning leadership.
Here at SJB, we will be offering this 7-week training beginning after FallFest (the week of September 24). The sessions will take place 3 times each week; choose which option works best for you!
Tuesday mornings, 9:15 am-11:15 am
Thursday evenings, 7:00-9:00 pm
Saturday mornings, 9:15 am-11:15 am (childcare available)
This leadership series offers us a great opportunity to come together as a parish community and grow in missionary discipleship through prayer and great practical tools. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing but encouraging one another.” (Hebrews 10: 24-25)
Coordinator of Evangelization
*Read the Archbishop’s Pastoral Letter “You Will Be My Witnesses”