The Year of Prayer begins next week at Saint Brendan Parish. The catchphrase for the year will be Pray Together. Stay Together. “Everything begins with prayer,” Father Roger said. “We can do nothing without a profound experience of God in our lives that can only come through prayer. But the fullness of our prayer life is experienced, not alone, but in community. That’s why we’re beginning small groups in our parish.”
A table group of parish leaders at the International Catholic Stewardship Conference last week in Atlanta, Georgia discussed the need for small groups to reinvigorate parish life. “Many people come to church Sunday after Sunday but don’t really know what to do next,” said one participant. “What are the next steps for someone with an active Catholic faith?”
Small groups offer Christian disciples an outlet to share with others what faith means in their lives, both the struggles and joys of their spiritual journal, with trusted friends. “We’ve got to overcome the natural inertia of keeping everything inside,” said Father Roger. “It’s important that we come out of our shells a little bit and begin to trust the people who have been sitting in the pews around us for years. We can learn from each other.”
To emphasize the communal dimension of prayer, the parish began a four-week message series last week called, Get off your high horse, Lone Ranger, and let’s do life together. To counter the common tendency to keep to ourselves, Jesus addressed behaviors and attitudes in the gospel readings over the four-week period that keep people isolated from each other, such as making judgments about others, refusing to forgive people, holding onto resentment and jealousy, and becoming too self-righteous. “The most common reason people avoid joining groups and ministries,” Father Roger remarked, “is that they are afraid of judgment and rejection. But once they take that first step and join a group, all the fear disappears and they will experience fellowship in Christ and acceptance among a group of their peers.”
Twelve small groups representing a variety of stages in life and interests have already been formed and are ready for parishioners to join, including:
“There’s a group for nearly every stage and interest in life,” said Parish Manager, Lisa Rosenlund. “We’re also encouraging people to start their own group if they have a special interest not already covered by an existing group.”
Saint Brendan Small Groups are easy to join. Click on the “Join a Small Group” button on the homepage of the parish website (www.stbrendanparish.org) to review the groups in detail and to sign up over the internet. Tables will outside of Mass this weekend to take sign ups. Or simply call the parish office at (415) 681-4225, and we’ll get you connected.
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