As Roman Catholics we have the greatest spiritual heritage in the world. Yet many in our Church have never realized the fullness of life in Christ or experienced the Kingdom of God in Catholic Community. St. Mary Small Groups aims to bridge this gap by creating an environment for people to grow together in Christ through fellowship, prayer, and study in groups of 6-12 people, or 3-6 families.
How Does it Work?
Small groups commit to meeting together at set times, 3-5 times a month, for at least nine months. After starting with an introductory course which runs 7-12 meetings, each meeting includes fellowship, prayer, and group study. Meetings can be held in a home, a public place such as a park or coffee shop, or at the Parish. They typically range in length from an hour and a half to three hours. There are many ways to run a successful small group based on the tastes, life stages, and style of the participants. The commonality is group prayer, study, and fellowship which brings the power of the Sacraments we receive at Church into our daily lives.
The goal of small groups is to learn more about our Catholic faith, to draw closer to the person of Jesus Christ, to support each other in living Christian lives, and to experience the joy of friendship built around a shared experience of God.
Family small groups also present an excellent setting for home based Religious Education. In this model Parents take one small group meeting a month as their parent session for the “Family of Faith” religious education curriculum, then do lessons at home with their kids according to their own schedules. This can be especially helpful for families who may not be able to make the regular Thursday evening Parish R.E., or for those who need added flexibility for any reason.
Every small group is run by a trained leader designated by the Parish Small Group Coordinator. The place is typically prepared by a designated volunteer host, and other members of the group, after a period of discernment, commit to coming for the duration of the cycle. At the conclusion of the small group cycle members are encouraged to begin the process again with a new group.
How to Get Involved
New small groups form year-round based on numbers interested and availability of leaders. Small group meetings typically occur any day except Sunday, and there are several ways to get involved:
- Self-Assembled Small Group: gather some friends, family members, neighbors, or anyone to form a core of 6-12 people who can meet at a given time. The Small Groups Coordinator will arrange for a leader to join you as your guide throughout the small-group process.
- Plug In: If you want to be part of a small group but can’t put one together yourself, contact the Small Group Coordinator, who can plug you into a new small group based on your availability.
- Leader Training - 1 to 1 Discipleship: Interested in diving in head-first and learning to lead in small group ministry? 1 to 1 discipleship is provided for those willing to commit to leading a small group in the future.