In a culture caught up in busyness and a remarkable pace of daily life, we often need more than one invitation to carve out some intentional space for faith. The design of the Lenten small group takes this into account and offers not only a place to connect with other parishioners and the Scriptures but also includes a daily prayer guide for the 7 weeks of the season.
Why a small group? It is a method tried and true by Jesus Himself and His Apostles! At the beginning of the Christian Church, the culture was largely hostile to its beliefs, and connecting with other Christians by chance was unlikely…sound familiar? But the Acts of the Apostles tells us that “every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to breaking bread in their homes. They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved” (Acts 2:46-47).
Small group is fruitful because it draws us into transformative friendship with Jesus and one another through God’s Word. Have you ever had a question following a reading you heard at Mass? Something in a homily that struck you and you wanted to discuss more? Maybe you are newly married, a parent of a troubled teen, or recently retired, and you’d like to get to know others in a similar life stage who share your faith. These scenarios are the reason that most adults find small groups to be a key part of their Catholic faith journey!
Archbishop Hebda recognizes this as a priority for growth in our own Archdiocese. He has made “implementation of parish small groups” the #1 priority for our first year of Synod Implementation. Archbishop writes in his pastoral letter “Jesus formed the original Christian small group, and once again set the example by saying, ‘Follow me.’” Archbishop’s invitation to ALL the members of the faithful is to “come and see”! Experience a small group this Lent.
Last year, 93% of SJB parishioners who joined a Lenten small group said based on their experience they planned to participate again. I hope you will consider this invitation to experience a small group for the 7 weeks of this season and enter into Holy Week with a renewed faith. C.S. Lewis writes that “friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’” If this resonates with you, consider signing up for a group this Lent either via the parish website (https://stjohnnb.com/faith-formation/adult/small-groups/), or after Masses this weekend, February 3rd – 4th.