Hopefully you or members of your parish team were able to attend the virtual Parish Day of Renewal this year, where I had an opportunity to share a plan to begin forming small groups focusing particularly on the Word of God. In this new year, in response to an upcoming Pastoral Note from Archbishop Vigneron on the importance of reading Scripture in the life of a disciple, the Department of Evangelization and Missionary Discipleship has fostered a fantastic way to dive into the Scriptures: a new year’s resolution to start or join a small group relating to Scripture.
Certainly there are a lot of strains on parish ministers, especially with Families of Parishes on the horizon, but that does not mean we take a “wait and see” approach to offering new opportunities for ministry! Many parishes already utilize small groups for various pastoral needs. Sometimes moms gather together, and in other parishes, there are small groups for young married couples, or teens preparing for Confirmation or engaging in youth ministry after Confirmation.
This new endeavor is not to replace any of those small group endeavors that currently exist. This could supplement them, temporarily take the place of a current group, or be the start of something new.
This new challenge, called Connected in Christ , is meant to begin on or around Sunday of the Word of God , which will be celebrated this year on Sunday, January 24th. Considering our Sunday cycle reading the Gospel of Mark, there are great resources available, both free and programmatic , to enter more deeply into the gospels in a weekly, bi-weekly, or a monthly way. It is important to not just offer a “program” with an end date and then move on, but to discern what ways we can continually engage the people we minister to. How do we keep people moving through a discipleship path? The free course on the Detroit Model of Evangelization , can also assist you in this discernment.
Lastly, I invite you as parish leaders to join our monthly meetings to support one another in this small group challenge in 2021. I also will have monthly meetings for small group facilitators — this might be you as well! Please feel welcome to email me at [email protected] to be included in one or both of these opportunities to come together as both to equip the evangelizers ( UTG, Marker 4.2 ) and consider ways to accompany people ( UTG, Marker 6.2 ) who attend our small groups.