St. Agnes Small Groups - Sept 2016: Faith & Fellowship
Faith and Fellowship Groups
St. Agnes Parish has a long history of small group programs. In the 1980’s, we offered the original Renew and Ashes to Easter programs in small groups. St. Agnes continued the idea of small groups through other programs such as the ARISE program's Small Christian Communities and Why Catholic?
Our current program, Faith & Fellowship, continues in the tradition of small groups.
“I have been active in the parish in various ways through the years, and have heard wonderful testimonies about the power of these small groups, but never joined a small group because I didn't think I would be comfortable "sharing" in this way. This past Lent I finally tried it out, and it was, and still is, a wonderful experience. In my small group are a few parishioners I've known for many years, and also a few people I met for the first time. … I have found that discussing the relevance of the scriptures to our daily lives with other adults in a comfortable and casual setting is a positive way to deal with daily challenges life brings us, and I have appreciated the prayers and support the group provides to each other.”
~ Angela Binda
“When we first moved to Boston in 2014, we did not know anyone within a 1000 mile radius. After a few weeks at St. Agnes we heard about the Faith and Fellowship groups, and although we had never done anything like it, we thought it could be a good way to meet people who shared our values. Almost immediately, we knew we made the right decision. Our group welcomed us in like family, and really helped us grow in our faith. … Most importantly we feel that it has renewed and strengthened both of our relationships with God and has helped grow and deepen our connection between each other and as being one through God. We are so looking forward to the fall session starting soon!”
~ Ben & Carissa Larimer
NEW 8-WEEK SESSION COMING FALL 2016. For all interested in participating and/or learning about a Faith and Fellowship group, there will be information and sign-up opportunities following all Masses on September 17th and 18th. Since there are many groups, it should be possible to meet each participant’s needs as far as meeting times, location, child care, and other details are concerned. We plan on having an opening celebration on the 2nd floor of the parish center at 6:30 PM on October 2nd.
"For Where two or three are gathered there am I in the midst of them."
In response to Jesus’ call to spread the Gospel, the Church continues to renew itself. As our Parish Mission Statement recognizes, we have been blessed with a vibrant Catholic community welcoming all - a beacon of faith, alive in Spirit and active in spreading the word of Christ. We are called to share Christ’s light.
“If we do not share what we have been given, then the gift was never truly received.
Every gift given is meant to be passed along.”
Carrie Gress Nudging Conversations
One way we have done this is through the small group program Faith and Fellowship.These small groups are a place to grow spiritually, find support and encouragement, face challenges together, have fun, share a meal, and reach out through service projects.
Faith is a free and unconditional gift from God. However, it requires our response. Participation in a small group provides an opportunity to respond to God’s gift by exploring and sharing our faith with others in a way not possible in a larger setting such as at Mass. It is our hope that a small group will serve as a gateway to deeper faith and will provide a vibrant means for sharing the Gospel of Christ.
“Everything depends on how we love each other.” Mother Teresa Thirsting for God
What is a Small Group? Is it Bible Study?
Small Groups are made up of about 8-12 people who meet to discuss faith, may explore the message of a particular program, currently our program is Faith & Fellowhip, and support one another in their relationship with Christ. While prayer is an important part of our Small Group environments, they are not Prayer Groups. Small Groups are not Bible Study or Adult Education classes. Small Groups are the place you connect with other growing disciples in a more personal environment.
What happens in a Small Group?
Groups meet in members’ homes and usually begin with casual conversation then prayer. Group members discuss and apply God’s word to their own lives. Meetings end with group prayer.
Are Small Groups just discussion groups?
Our Small Groups are more than just discussion groups. They are environments for growing discipleship in authentic and caring ways. Small Groups strive to be the place for Church members to find support, encouragement and care. Great friendships have developed out of our Small Groups. Group members face the challenges of life together, have fun together, share a meal, or reach out in service projects.
How do Small Groups get started?
We have two sign-up events a year (one in the Fall and one in the Winter) where we either form new groups or find a place in an existing Small Group.
How long do Small Groups meet?
The general meeting time is approximately an hour and a half (90 minutes). Often small groups augment this time with social time before and/or after the 90 minute meeting time.
How long is my commitment to Small Groups?
We encourage each Small Group to grow together through a Season. There is a Fall Season from the beginning of October through mid-November, and a Lenten Season during the six weeks of Lent in the spring.
What kind of group can I join?
Most groups are mixed adults (men, women and couples). A few are Men's groups or Women's groups. Many groups meet in the evening during the week with a number of groups meeting on the weekend or during the day. We can find a group time that works for you.
Do I need any kind of qualification, is there a fee?
You don't have to be a member or a Catholic to join a Small Group at St. Agnes Parish. Everyone is welcome. We encourage all our Church members to join a group and invite their friends. The parish purchases the program materials and fees; group participants can help support the program by contributing to the cost of your book, about $15.
How do I learn more or sign up?
Follow this link to sign up for a Small Group. Someone from our Small Group Team will get back to you as soon as possible.
September 17/18, 2016 -Information and sign-up opportunities following all Masses
October 2, 2016, 6:30pm
Fall 2016 Session Will use Faith-Sharing Guide, The Holy Year of Mercy.
Pope Francis has focused on the theme of God’s mercy since the beginning of his pontificate. Now he has declared an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, a holy year beginning on December 8, 2015 and last ing until the feast of Christ the King on November 20, 2016. This faith-sharing guide will give readers—and even entire parishes—an opportunity to participate in this holy year in a meaningful way. Each of the eight sessions features a Gospel passage followed by a homily on that passage given by Pope Francis. Questions for reflection and discussion focus on both the Scripture text and the homily. Related Scripture passages are included, as well as an action step that can be used to grow in the practice and understanding of God’s mercy.
Discussion, prayer, and fellowship will follow within a time frame of approximately 90 minutes.
View a Sample of Guide