Nowadays, it is very common for people to host viewing parties for all sorts of occasions including pop culture events like the Academy Awards, significant civic events such as a presidential debate, a sporting event, or the premiere or series finale of a TV show. Such viewing parties are hosted in someone’s home, and the hosts send out invitations (usually verbal or through social media) for people to attend and offer hospitality and refreshments for those who show up. It’s a nice opportunity for people to engage with others around a significant event, share in conversation about the program viewed, socialize, and meet new people.
I suggest that this model be used for adult faith formation, especially given the number of quality video resources available today for Catholics. This is another way of honoring the domestic church, by enabling households to host faith formation at home rather than always on the parish grounds. It also makes for a more comfortable viewing space and a more inviting and hospitable setting. Likewise, it resolves the problem of which day of the week and what time of the day to host a program at the parish by inviting households to choose the day and time they wish to host.
As mentioned earlier, there are many excellent resources with discussion guides available for viewing. Consider the following from Loyola Press: Meaningful Conversations About Prayer; Who Cares About the Saints? by Fr. Jim Martin, SJ; Becoming More By Doing Less: Practicing the Power of Pause by Terry Hershey; or, from Word on Fire Ministries, Bishop Barron’s Catholicism series, just to name a few.
The video/DVD can be packaged with a routing slip on it (name of hosts, locations, dates, times) so that each host can deliver it to the next one for viewing.
There is a Catholic tradition of “traveling statues”—often a Mary statue so that people can gather in a host’s home to pray the Rosary before the image. (I remember my parents hosting a traveling Mary statue when I was a child.) As part of the New Evangelization, we need to extend this tradition to video resources that can bring a sense of the sacred into people’s homes.
Your thoughts? Your experiences? Your suggestions?