So much is happening in evangelization and a feeling of total gratitude fills my heart when I ponder all that God is doing. The first of three "Encounter retreats" occurred on February 1 st and was completely Spirit-led. Many on the retreat recalled having an authentic "encounter" with the Lord throughout the day that they had never had before and desired to "have more" going forward. Here is one testimony from one of our young adults about the retreat.
"First, thank you and to all the others who made the retreat happen this past weekend. This was my first retreat and I too felt blessed and honored to have been there. Each of the speakers was right on and I took away a little something important from each. I was also blessed in many other little interactions and conversations that day. Overall, I had a sense of peace throughout the day that I don't often feel in many settings. Moreover, spending all that time in the beautiful chapel with Jesus made for a very sweet day. Much needed."
Here at the parish we are planning a few upcoming opportunities at the parish to go deeper with the Lord so that more people can have an encounter with the Lord and I would invite you to consider how the Lord is speaking to you pertaining to the following.
The Christian faith is held in a personal way, but certainly not in a private way. We see this from the beginning as Jesus called the apostles to live and work together. Likewise, in the life of the Church in ACTS we read that the people lived a common life together. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we are forming "faith-sharing small groups" here at the parish that will meet monthly on Wednesday evenings, coinciding with the monthly parish discipleship Night. Each month (on 2 separate Wednesday evenings) there will be a Discipleship Night and an evening for the small group sharing. The primary purpose of our small groups is to help people become growing disciples of Jesus Christ with the help of other disciples walking the same journey. Small faith-sharing groups allow for us to share our faith with others and to grow together in community, as well as see how God is moving in other people's lives on a consistent basis. One of the big problems many people face in walking their journey of faith is isolation or lack of accountability and these groups provide the necessary structure to provide for both of these essential needs. Using prayer, shared experiences, and explorations of faith, small groups can create, in a smaller setting, a community that enhances the life of the entire parish. This is an initiative that we hope many people would consider being a part of and sign-ups are starting now. We are hoping to create groups for men, women, young adults, teens, and any additional group that we see a need for. Please discern how God is calling you to respond to this!
Have you ever experienced anxiety? Have you ever wondered if there is a purpose for your suffering or the suffering of others? If you answered yes to any of these questions you are the perfect person to engage in our newest idea. Starting this Lent, we will be launching the "Prayer Workout." That's right… the PRAYER Workout. Justin Fatica, a Catholic Speaker/ Apologist developed this idea to inspire people to put exercise into action and make their workout a sacrifice for those in need. We know from theology that our spirit, our mind, and our body are united. When one is lacking so is the other. The prayer workout is one of the solutions to bring together all of the following. The workout itself is broken down into 3 tenminute sessions with warm up and cool downs added on. For each 10-minute session, you have an intention that you are offering your pain up for. When you start to feel the burn or the pain and want to quit, you recall who you are offering that ten minutes up for, and you "offer it up" and proceed in the workout. The great thing about the prayer workout is that you can work at your own pace and go as hard or as light as you want. There is no equipment needed for this. The workout consists of push-ups, set-ups, squats, lunges, mountain climbers, air-boxing, and kicking. We are looking to form men's groups/women's groups/teen groups/etc that meet weekly at the parish during Lent to do the prayer workout.
For more information on any of the above initiatives or to sign-up please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. As I conclude I am reminded of the words of Pope Francis who recently said, "The Lord is knocking at the door of our hearts. Have we put a sign on the door saying: "Do not disturb"? I hope the answer to that is an emphatic, No, and we can respond generously to the initiatives above as well as to the stirrings he places within our own hearts daily.
Andrew Prickel, Director of Evangelization