How to Host Parish Small Faith Groups, Part 6

group of people

This is the last post in our series on how to host small faith groups in your parish. I have been drawing on the successful experience of St. Barnabas Parish in Chicago, which gathered over 200 parishioners to participate in small faith groups last Lent. Today we look at what must be done throughout the season of Lent to sustain the small groups and suggest some post-Lent follow-up ideas.

Week Before the First Sunday of Lent

  • Small groups begin to meet for the first of six weekly gatherings.

Throughout Lent

  • Invite participants to submit reflections on the experience of their small groups to be shared in the bulletin.
  • Provide bulletin inserts related to the Sunday Scripture.
  • Invite the parish to pray for the small groups through intercessions at Mass or other ways.
  • Invite others to join groups.

Week Before Palm Sunday

  • Small groups meet for the last time.

Several Weeks After Easter

  • Host a closing celebration with Mass and a pot luck dinner.
  • Invite participants to evaluate the experience.
  • Invite small groups to continue meeting if they so desire, and provide them with resources for faith sharing.

Small Faith Group Resources

On Wednesday, we’ll share the free materials for Reflecting on the Lenten Scriptures that you can use in your small groups during Year B. I’ll also have available the slideshow presentation for training small group facilitators.

Read the first five 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)
How to Host Parish Small Faith Groups, Part 5 (Sample Promotional Materials)

About Joe Paprocki 2742 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


  1. Dear Joe,
    I have not yet received the free downloads for the small discussion groups for Lent even though I did sign up for them. Could you please check?
    Thank you.
    Mary Kerekes

    • Hi Mary, be sure to check your spam filter or junk mail in case it didn’t get through. If you still can’t locate them, I’ll forward them to you via email.

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