How to Host Parish Small Faith Groups, Part 5

small group - illustration

As we continue our series on how to host Lenten small faith groups in your parish, we turn our attention to the immediate weeks before the program starts. I am drawing on the successful experience of St. Barnabas Parish in Chicago where last year, over 200 parishioners gathered to participate in small faith groups during Lent. Today’s post includes sample small group promotional materials that you can adapt for your own use.

5 Weeks Out

  • Prepare bulletin articles introducing the Lenten small faith groups. See samples.
  • Prepare promotional materials such as posters, fliers, etc. See a sample flyer.

4 Weeks Out

  • Prepare intercessions for the two weeks leading up to Sign-Up Sunday and the Sundays of Lent. See samples below.
  • Prepare priests to speak about the small faith groups from the pulpit. See a sample homily.
  • Begin bulletin announcements.
  • Display promotional materials (posters, signs, etc.).

3 Weeks Out

2 Weeks Out

  • Include relevant intercessions in the Prayer of the Faithful.
  • Collect final registrations.
  • Assign participants to small groups.
  • Give leaders their group rosters.
  • Send participants notification of assigned meeting day/time/address. See sample.

Sample Intercessions

Six Weeks before First Sunday of Lent
That God inspire and bless those planning our Lent [program name] experience for our parish.

Five Weeks before First Sunday of Lent
That the Holy Spirit will motivate many people in our parish to participate in our upcoming [program name] experience during Lent.

Four Weeks before First Sunday of Lent
That God will open our hearts to spiritual growth and help us to grow in community with one another during the Lenten season through the [program name] experience.

Three Weeks before First Sunday of Lent
In thanksgiving for those who have stepped up in faith to participate in our parish’s [program name] experience.

Two Weeks before First Sunday of Lent
That God will enlighten the minds and hearts of all those participating in our parish small faith groups during Lent.

One Week before First Sunday of Lent
That God will bless and guide the small faith groups during Lent; that our faith is deepened and we grow closer to one another through this Lenten journey together.


Next week, we’ll conclude this series with a look at what should be done throughout the season of Lent to sustain the small groups. I’ll also have available free materials for Reflecting on the Lenten Scriptures that you can use in your small groups during Lent 2015.


Read the first four articles in the series:
How to Host Parish Small Faith Groups, Part 1 (Introduction)
How to Host Parish Small Faith Groups, Part 2 (4–6 Months Out)
How to Host Parish Small Faith Groups, Part 3 (2–3 Months Out)
How to Host Parish Small Faith Groups, Part 4 (1–2 Months Out)

About Joe Paprocki 2345 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

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