As I reported a couple of weeks ago, I am assisting Christ the King Parish in Chicago in implementing small faith groups for the Lenten season. We did many preparations to get this initiative off the ground, including the following:
- recruiting small-group leaders
- displaying posters and signs on parish grounds
- training leaders
- advertising with bulletin announcements for the month of January
- having priests speak at all the Masses on January 17
- hosting Sign-Up Sunday on January 24
I am happy to report that God has indeed provided! The parish will have seven small groups with more than 100 parishioners participating. We are tickled because on the average, the parish has 500–600 in total attendance at Mass each weekend, which means that a full 15-20% of regular worshippers have opted to participate in small groups. Another 40–50 filled out cards indicating that, although they are not participating in the groups, they are committed to praying for the small groups throughout Lent.
Beginning this week, the groups will meet on various days and times for 90 minutes. They will meet for the first four weeks of Lent and will be using the materials I provided here through my blog for reflection on the upcoming Sunday Gospel readings.
Kudos to Fr. Larry Sullivan, the pastor, who forged ahead with this initiative while in the midst of a hugely time-consuming capital campaign. His firm belief was that the parish had to be doing something spiritual/catechetical alongside the financial campaign so that we keep our sights on that which truly makes us rich!
In the weeks to come, I’ll report on the progress of these groups.