One easy way to use Take Out in your adult faith formation ministry is to offer a monthly series for parents to gather in small faith communities and discuss one article from each months’ issue. I know from experience that adults today are often searching for ways to connect with other people who share common values, are at the similar place in life, and, of course, share the same faith beliefs.
At our parish, we offer a series of five Lenten Small Faith Sharing Groups. It is a series to which adults and parents are invited to connect with other parishioners and talk about the topics that matter most to Catholic families today. Participants are asked to register in advance.
Reserve a room in your parish that is large enough to accommodate 25-50 people (or more!) Set up tables with 5-7 chairs at each. (Having people sit at tables is an easy way to divide them into small groups.) Several sets of the discussion questions should be in the middle of each table along with a few copies of that month’s Take Out magazine.
Refreshments are always welcome and need not be fancy or time-consuming to display. Decaf coffee and cookies are usually a welcome after-dinner treat.
Check this website each month for small-group discussion questions, tips and tools to help facilitate your Conversations that Matter series.
“Lenten Small Faith Sharing” evening schedule:
7:00 p.m. Opening Prayer and Greeting (we use Sr. Janet’s prayer on p. 2 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)
“We Need One Another” by Heidi Busse, page 5 of the March Take Out.
1. The author states that “even in God’s self, God is in community.” Does this make you think of the Trinity in a new way?
2. Our relationships on earth are, ideally, reflective of God’s relational nature in the divine realm. Does this make you think of your family and friends and even how you treat strangers in a new way? How?
3. What are some ways you see the spark of the divine in your everyday life?
4. With Holy Week approaching, what are some practical ways you can renew your relationship this Lent?
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.
Fill our hearts with the fire of your love.
Awaken us, Holy Spirit,
To witness to the presence of Jesus
in every moment of our lives.
Renew us, Lord, so that our homes,
parishes, neighborhoods, and world are
transformed into your kingdom on earth,
where peace and justice reign.
by Sister Janet Schaeffler, O.P.
MARCH 2 — JOHN 9:1-41: JESUS HEALS THE BLIND MAN. What important things am I too busy to see? Are there people in my life that I don’t “see?” Are there times I miss “seeing” God in my life? Am I a source of light or darkness to those around me? How can I open my eyes to God, to people, to needs during this Lent? How can/will I see with my heart instead of my eyes? What would I do differently if I saw with my heart?
MARCH 9 — JOHN 11:1-45: JESUS CALLS LAZARUS BACK TO LIFE. What keeps me “tied up” and not free to live the life Jesus wants for me? Do we know someone who is “tied up” and needs to be set free? How can we help? Jesus cared about Lazarus and his sisters. When have you felt Jesus’ care for you? How do you share your care for others? Is there someone who especially needs your care this week? Think of someone in your family who has died. What do you remember about them? What did you learn from them? Do you know someone who is lonely because a loved one has died? Call them; invite them to be with your family.
MARCH 16 — MATTHEW 26:14—27:66: JESUS’ BETRAYAL, SUFFERING AND DEATH. Have you ever felt made fun of, betrayed? Why did Jesus not lash out when He was made fun of, betrayed? Who are you like in the Passion story? How can we gratefully respond that Jesus came and was faithful in teaching us to love, that He wouldn’t stop doing that? As a family, participate in the Triduum celebrations in your parish.
MARCH 23 — JOHN 20:1-9: JESUS IS RISEN. Why is it said that this is the greatest day for all Christians? Why is Mary called “the apostle to the apostles?” If you had found the empty tomb, how would you have felt? What would you have done? What things make you happy? Easter lasts 50 days. How will you observe/celebrate it for that length of time?
MARCH 30 — JOHN 20:19-31: THOMAS DOESN’T RECOGNIZE JESUS. What or who around us proves to us that Jesus is alive? What — in our world — helps you to believe that Jesus is alive? Have you ever been like Thomas? Had lots of questions, doubts? What did Jesus think of Thomas’ doubts? How did Jesus treat Thomas? Thomas reached out to touch Jesus and then believed. How do we reach out to touch Jesus today? Do you feel/know that Jesus accepts you just as you are, just like He did Thomas? When was a time you felt that? Thomas’ signature prayer was “My Lord and My God.” What would yours be?
Observe Lent as a Catholic--Holy Week»
Hail, Holy Queen
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy. Hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To you do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To you do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn, then, most gracious advocate, your eyes of mercy toward us and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
St. Michael the Archangel
St. Michael, the archangel, defend us in battle, be our safeguard against the wickedness and snare of the devil. May God rebuke him, we pray, and do you, o prince of the heavenly host, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits which prowl about he world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
The Jesus Prayer
O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Prayer attributed to St. Augustine
Watch, dear Lord, with those who wake or watch or weep tonight, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend your sick ones, O Lord Jesus Christ, rest your weary ones, bless your dying ones, soothe your suffering ones, shield your joyous ones, and all for your love’s sake.
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