“When I was a child, my mother used to force me to drink carrot juice everyday after school, takes gobs of vitamin pills each morning, and eat my broccoli at dinner,” said Father Roger. “I would eat my vegetables very slowly, and take only one small bite at a time. I thought of it as some grand gesture of defiance, but it was really so that I could stomach the healthy but difficult-to-swallow food.”
The philosophy behind the Saint Brendan Small Bytes program takes a similar approach. Modern society is flooded with promotions, information, and advertisements. According to a recent article published by the American Marketing Association, the average consumer is exposed to up to 10,000 brand messages each day. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld once said, “This whole idea of an attention span is, I think, a misnomer. People have an infinite attention span if you are entertaining them.” Fellow comic Steve Martin offered a similar sentiment, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”
“Although the workload of many of our parishioners can be overwhelming and their free time rather limited,” said Father Roger, “I don’t think that our busyness should stop us from the business of learning more about our faith each day. That’s why we created the Saint Brendan Small Bytes program. We want to be so succinct, pithy, and informative, that we can’t be ignored. We also want to convey difficult theological ideas in an understandable and digestible form.”
Launching in October, a series of talks on Sunday mornings will seek to deliver small servings of theology and catechesis to parishioners with the opportunity to learn more later in the same week. One Sunday each month, parishioners will be invited to gather for twenty minutes after the 9:30 a.m. Mass to learn something new about their faith from a dynamic speaker who will offer a more extended talk on the subject the following Wednesday evening during an hour-long service that will include uplifting praise and worship music and time for engaging and energizing prayer.
“We call it small bytes with a ‘y,’” said parish Director of Evangelization and Faith Formation, Manolito Jaldon, “because a ‘byte’ is a unit of data or information. This program will offer a small amount of information that is both palatable and interesting.” Consistent with the parish theme for this year--Pray Together. Stay Together—the small bytes talks will focus on some beautiful ways to pray that are rooted in the Catholic tradition.
In October, Jesuit Father Joe Spieler will discuss the contemporary experience of contemplative prayer and will lead an interactive session the following Wednesday evening on concrete ways to practice contemplative prayer. In November, Father Roger will speak about the positive effects of gratitude. Other topics will include how to create an atmosphere of prayer at home with your family, the spirituality of eastern Christianity, praying with the gospels and with the saints, and prayer through music and movement. Each Sunday during the six weeks of Lent, a dynamic homilist will discuss the meaning of the various parts of the Mass so that we all can rediscover the joy of the Sunday liturgy in this Emmaus Series.
For more information as well as the full schedule, click on the “Take a Small Byte” button on the homepage of the parish website at stbrendanparish.org.
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