Consider this… Invitation to Faith Sharing

Oct 20, 2022

Last year during Lent, you may remember that our parish filled out “Disciple Maker Index   Surveys” from the Catholic Leadership Institute and those surveys indicated that at St. Mary’s – and this is awesome for us – that 87% of our parishioners agree or strongly agree that the Scriptures are the Inspired Word of God!  But that survey also indicated some areas that we need to grow in and work at as a community.  Despite us knowing that God speaks to us in the word, 52% of us have never done a bible study to reflect more deeply on that.  Despite the Bible being the story of God’s saving love for us, 61% have never or only once a year shared the story of Jesus with others.  In a survey in which we received 659 responses from our, admittedly, more active families, only about half of us hold that St. Mary’s Parish helps me to grow spiritually by teaching me to read and pray with the Bible and likewise connects me with a faith sharing group – and these are all considered key areas of discipleship and of a thriving parish.  While all this is certainly understandable, it seems on the whole that we are not so good yet at sharing our story, proclaiming the good news, nor has St. Mary’s maybe been the most helpful in this regard.

So, we’re going to do something about that.  I reiterate here what we announced last weekend: that St. Mary’s is embarking on a 5-week faith sharing endeavor, as we invite everyone to come together in small groups to reflect upon and talk about the Scriptures in our life, starting in the middle of November.  We are doing this as part of our 175th anniversary preparations as we celebrate who we are and who we would like to become.  Indeed, our Faith Formation uses the Bible as its textbook.  There are many Bible studies that go on here which you are welcome to join.  Catholics overall are rediscovering the place of the Scriptures in their lives of faith and are finding great nourishment from its pages especially since the Second Vatican Council.  We are disciples centered in his word, and still we are striving to learn how God is speaking to us in our lives and learning how to share our faith better.

From their own personal experience, many will tell you that coming together to reflect on the Scriptures and share faith as a small group was an amazing experience, that we will come away with new insights and different perspectives, that we’ll be affirmed in the graces and insights received, and that we would understand better what it means to be a community and a Church that supports and cares for each other.  I remember doing this with my parish, as my own little group went out to Dunkin Donuts on Tuesday mornings (though I think I would have preferred Tim Hortons – to each their own)!  In any event, you don’t have to be an expert on the Scriptures to participate – all you have to be is yourself, and as much can be gained by listening as sharing.  Challenge yourself to take that next step.  This is an   opportunity to engage in God’s Word, to do something to grow in faith, and to help others do the same.  God is speaking to us and wants to help us navigate the many things going on in our lives.  Let’s open ourselves and help each other respond to this invitation.

Take a look at the “St. Mary’s Faith Sharing” Sheets that are available in the Church, Online or in the Rectory, and return them to us by (already!) this Monday, October 24, 2022.  The groups will be set up based upon what is most convenient for you regarding the availability and considerations in your schedule.  Come the beginning of November, you will receive a communication from us and/or from your group facilitator on how these groups will be meeting and moving forward.  I look forward to sharing this experience with you!

Peace,

~Fr. Luke