As a Catholic community, we are called to walk together in faith. Sharing our faith experiences with other adults can bring us closer to one another and, indeed, closer to Christ. Lent is a perfect time to reflect on how we have grown over the past year in our faith journey. Taking the opportunity to talk with other parishioners on matters of faith creates a deeper experience of Lent for all of us.
A typical “Conversations that Matter” evening schedule:
7:00 p.m. Opening Prayer and Greeting (Sr. Janet’s prayer on page 3 of Take Out)
7:05 p.m. Brief overview of the article to be discussed
7:15 p.m. Refer participants to discussion questions on each table and begin small group discussion (Make sure participants understand that the questions are a beginning for their discussion – they can discuss one of them or all of them. Remember to make room for the movement of the Spirit in these discussions that may take a group in a new or unexpected direction.)
8:00 p.m. Break for refreshments
8:10 p.m. Come together as a large group and discuss article (write important thoughts and contributions on a white board or flip chart)
8:30 p.m. Close with prayer or scripture reading (see optional closing prayer at the end of this article)
"Turn Your Lent Upside-Down," by Lorene Hanley Duquin.
1. Does it make sense to do something positive during Lent or is this not appropriate for such a penitential season?
2. Read over Lorene’s suggestions for positive growth for yourself. Which of these suggestions might be most difficult for you?
3. What are some other ways that you can spend “holy time” as a couple during Lent?
4. In reading over the family ideas for Lent, which idea makes the most sense for your family? Why?
Ideally, your parish will offer childcare for parents of young children on these evenings. If that is not possible, try coordinating these evenings with your Child Faith Formation staff person. While parents are engaged in small faith sharing groups, offer children a craft, activity or even a Christian movie at the same time.
Because Take Out magazine is often shipped early, you can plan ahead for each month’s discussion article. Check this website for monthly discussion questions, tips for successful family faith formation and new ways that Take Out can be a ministry resource.
Make sure to let participants know that they can bring a friend or another couple to next month’s discussion – numbers often grow as the series continues.
during this precious time of Lent,
You call us to be reconciled.
Reconciled to one another,
Forgive us for the times we have
been impatient, unkind and inconsiderate.
Reconciled to all our brothers and sisters,
Forgive us for the times we could have
cared about those in need and thought only of ourselves.
Reconciled to you,
Forgive us for the times we didn’t put You first.
Loving God, help us to make this Lent a time of peace-filled reconciliation. -- Sr. Janet Shaeffler
Sister Janet Schaeffler, O.P.
FEB. 3 — MATTHEW 5:1-12a: THE BEATITUDES. Which beatitude, do you think is the easiest? Which one might be the most difficult for you? What would be different in the world if everyone acted in the ways of the beatitudes? The beatitudes call us to have an attitude that is different than the world’s. Name one thing we do that is different than the world around us. The beatitudes call us to action; for instance, not just pray for peace, but to make peace. What kind of action can we do this week that is a beatitude action? Where do you see people living the beatitudes today? Remember a time you felt really happy? Why did you feel that way? Is your idea of happiness the same as Jesus’ idea? Watch some television commercials. What do they say about happiness? Is it the same thing that Jesus says?
FEB. 10 — MATTHEW 4:1-11: JESUS IS TEMPTED. Jesus is tempted between love and selfishness. When is that choice most difficult for you? What helps you to say no when you are tempted? Jesus prepared for his ministry with a time of fasting, praying and strengthening himself against temptation. What will we do during this Lenten period to grow more like Jesus?
FEB. 17 — MATTHEW 17:1-9: JESUS IS TRANSFIGURED. Jesus’ friends learned more about Jesus. When has something happened in your life that caused you to learn more about Jesus? Have you had signs of God’s promises to you? This is a wonder-filled Gospel story. What about life, about the Gospels, about God, about yourself, fills you with wonder? When the disciples saw Jesus in His glory, they heard, “Listen to him.” How will you listen to Him this week?
FEB. 24 — JOHN 4:5-42: JESUS AND THE WOMAN AT THE WELL. Do we know someone who is searching for “living water” (comfort, truth, answers to life’s questions, etc.) Can we help? Am I thirsty for something? Perhaps to be closer to Jesus? To be more peace-filled, etc.? What can I do? Who can help me? Is there a way you could encourage someone’s faith this week? If you were at the well with Jesus, what question would you have asked him?
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