Small Group Study

 
Below is an overview of how these study groups work!

One of the best ways to learn our glorious Catholic faith is through faith-based small group discussion and study.  Talking about our faith brings clarity.  Hearing what others have to say brings insight.

Each of the three books of the My Catholic Life! Series can be used in an 8 week program of Catholic study for you to engage in for a total of 24 weeks to cover the entire Catholic Catechism!  This small group study program is great for these and other settings:

Family – Why not gather family members together for an eight week study of our faith?!

Friends – Initiate a study among your friends and invite some new friends!

Neighborhood – This is a great way to evangelize right in your neighborhood.  Send a letter out inviting neighbors.  You just may be surprised at how many are interested!

Parish – Talk to your parish priest to gain permission to begin one or more study groups at your local church.

R.C.I.A. – This is a great tool to use for those becoming Catholic.  All three series, together, will cover the entire Catechism!  See the R.C.I.A. Guide for more information.

Who can start a program? – This program is designed to be easy for any Catholic to organize and lead.  You do not have to be an expert in the Catholic faith to take the initiative.  If you feel called to take this initiative then “Be not afraid” and jump in!

What do you need? – The materials include one of the three catechetical books from the My Catholic Life! Series as well as the study companions below. The books are available as web-based books, as free eBooks or as a paperback.  Participants will need nothing more than a copy of the book being studied.  Group leaders will use the materials below.  Each participant should come prepared by having read the chapter for the evening.

What do the meetings look like? – Being a small group leader is not as difficult as it may at first appear to be.  You do not need special training nor a theological background.  All you need is some organization and a willingness to facilitate this program.  In some ways, it’s not all that different than organizing a party.

A study group meeting runs itself if you simply follow the provided format.  Let the Holy Spirit lead and you will be amazed at how easy it actually is.Here is the basic format for each meeting:

5 minutes – Gather & socialize.
10 minutes – Opening prayer and Scripture as provided in each session guide.
50 minutes – Walk through discussion questions.  Each person should be invited to share something or ask a question if he/she chooses to.  Avoid having one or two persons dominate the discussion.  Go around the circle and do not be afraid to share!  Your insights may assist someone else in their understanding of the topics.  Your question may very well be the same question someone else may have.
20 minutes – Go around and give each person an opportunity to share what may have stood out the most to them from the discussion of the night or what left them the most confused so as to gain further clarity or insight from others.
5 minutes – Closing prayer as directed in the study companion for each session.

How do I start? – There are three easy steps to get started:

  1. Send out a group email, call your friends, publicize it in the neighborhood, put an announcement in the parish bulletin, or post it on Facebook!  Find out who’s interested and give them a little encouragement. Gather their contact information so you can give them more information once you know who is interested.
  2. Either before or after you find out who’s interested, set a weekly time and location for the meeting.  The gathering should take no longer than an hour and a half.  Try to pick the same location for eight consecutive weeks.  Send out that information to your group along with a link to the book you will be studying.  They should be instructed to read the introduction and Chapter One before the first gathering.
  3. Have your first meeting.  Perhaps have some snacks available and begin with some social time as everyone arrives.  The study companion will take it from there.  Just follow the format in that companion and enjoy learning your faith!

Click here for detailed formats for the meetings.  Read through them ahead of time, spend some time praying about the first meeting, and then begin making preparations.  It’s very doable and God will most certainly show up!