Spreading the Faith
The Prayer Group - Tap Root to the Holy Spirit
When we started our weekly prayer group it was mostly discussion with a short period set aside for prayer. I remember hoping the prayers would be short because the discussion interested me the most. Things have changed dramatically.
Every week about 7 of us meet for profound prayer. The discussion has all but disappeared. Most of our time together is devoted to praying in silence.
Silent group prayer has become a weekly routine. It's like a "time release capsule" the enrichment of the prayer group slowly releases for each participant and the parish during the week.
Whether individual or group a vibrant prayer life is essential for fostering and maintaining a relationship with the Holy Spirit.
Sparking an Explosion of God's Love
The picture above is Marybeth sitting behind her computer screen. Marybeth is also behind a lot of good that goes on in the parish.
Every parish needs someone who understands the promptings of the Holy Spirit and at just the right time extends a personal invitation for others to get involved - new people who otherwise would not have taken that first step.
Think of a car cylinder with just the right mixture of gas and air, but without a small spark nothing works.
Marybeth provides that spark keeping aware of the needs and capabilities of all. She's a true servant of Mary and the Holy Spirit.
Core Team - Working Together on Inspirations from God
At last count there were 72 members of the "Core Team" which probably would be better labeled as a "Formation Team". I'm sure most were invited to participate by Marybeth.
Each Core Team member has some type of leadership role, either managing small group discussions at Bible Study or assisting with a Faith Circle. It's not unusual for a Core Team member to have an idea for a new project. When that happens the first person they contact is Marybeth who will do whatever it takes to make it happen fitting it seamlessly into the parish as a whole.
It's important to understand the purpose of the Core Team:
Purpose of the Core Team (Joyful Band of Missionary Disciples)
The purpose of the core team is to participate in the work of Jesus Christ to make, mold (form) and mission disciples. It is not another ministry or another meeting to attend but most specifically a way of life (The Way) most predominantly experienced through the normal, day-to-day lived experiences and circumstances of parish life.
The Core Team is an apostolate that goes out and fulfills the call of Vatican II for the universal call to holiness of all people (laity!).
The only requirement is our yes to be “ALL IN” under the Queenship of Mary Immaculate and most commonly expressed as a desire for a daily prayer life, study of the Word, frequent participation in the sacraments (repent and believe) in community seamlessly tied to the mission of the Church.
This mission has always involved drawing people from every nation under heaven (ACT 2:5) into spiritual unity and enriching the body of Christ by the variety of their gifts (1 COR 12). This spiritual unity is vastly different from community alone but one in which humility and docility to the promptings of the Holy Spirit guide and direct all actions.
The Core Team meets monthly after daily Mass, the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet. Like the Prayer Group the emphasis is on the encouragement of the Holy Spirit to enter and more completely lead our individual lives.
Parish Bible Study - Expanding Knowledge of the Catholic Faith
Our weekly Bible Study consists of about 200 parishioners who meet either one day a week or one evening a week. Each study opens with prayer and moves on to a video. After the video there is small group discussion and a return for a focus on the practical application of what was learned.
People are encouraged to come whenever they wish and new participants are welcomed at any time.
The video link below highlights last year's bible study in pictures:
The depth of learning possible in the Catholic Faith is unlimited.
Faith Circles - Home Sharing and Interaction with the Holy Spirit
The Faith Circles normally take place in parishioner's homes and consist of a variety of topics selected by Core Team members who run the gatherings.
The Faith Circles started as an outgrowth of the small groups in Bible Study. The earliest Faith Circles began about the time the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception were releasing their Hearts Afire programs. The most popular Faith Circle was "33 Days to Morning Glory" which ended with the consecration of scores of parishioners to Mary. That was quickly followed by widespread consecration of parishioners to Divine Mercy - during the "Year of Mercy".
The Hearts Afire programs established the Faith Circles as a normal part of parish life. By starting with the consecrations the Holy Spirit inspired many to offer Faith Circles in their homes with parishioners lining-up to attend.
Here's a list of the Faith Circles currently underway in our parish:
A Biblical Walk Through the Mass
Seven Deadly Sins Seven Lively Virtues
The Discernment of Spirits Ignatius Spiritual Exercises
Lectio - Peter
Resisting Happiness (Matthew Kelly) in 2 locations at Different Times
Weekly Men's Group Meeting
Faith Circles allow parishioners to interact on the promptings of the Holy Spirit making its presence in our parish palpable and unmistakable.
In Loving Memory of Mat
Small miracles attend the departure of people of strong faith. Mat was a member of our parish for many decades. There are dozens of photographs of Mat serving daily Mass, but just a few weeks ago Jane felt the inspiration to take a photograph of Mat sitting in his usual place in the pews. It would be his last. But that photograph captured something profound about Mat and something profound about spreading the faith. This page would not be complete if it didn't end with Mat.
For all we do to organize meetings and studies we must humbly remember people like Mat:
Mat never joined the Prayer Group... He prayed.
Mat didn't attend bible study sessions... He studied the Bible.
Mat never experienced a Faith Circle... He was faithful to God and to the memory of his wife Nita.
Mat never taught about generosity and humility... He was generous and humble.
For all the effort we expend, it's really the quiet, unwavering faith of people like Mat that speak the loudest.
Mat, you are missed...
Sacred Art by Joan Grayson
Joan Grayson is a member of the Core Team. She has been painting Catholic sacred art for over 15 years and she shares her art with members of the Catholic internet community.
Her paintings have been used on websites, in publications, and one, the painting of the Sacred Heart was used on the cover of the book “A Glimpse into my Heart” by Carol Eubanks.
This is a ministry for Joan and her work, which she considers a gift from God, is offered free of charge to those who are evangelizing and spreading the message of Jesus.
Her work can be seen on her blog by clicking the link below.