Greetings, STL Family,
I forgot to share another important piece of November news with you yesterday: Advent for the year 2022 is celebrated/observed on Sunday, November 27th. It is, for us Western Christians, the start of the season for preparing for the coming of the Messiah and the celebration of Christmas with the birth of Jesus Christ. Advent always begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas or the closest Sunday to St Andrew's Day, which falls on November 30th each year and ends on Christmas Day – thus lasting four weeks.
I heard from several of you asking about gathering in Small Church/Ecclesial Groups, especially during the liturgical seasons of Advent and Lent. This desire was also widely expressed in our Parish Synod sessions, specifically seeking opportunities to share our faith, our hope, and dreams for ourselves and our Catholic Church.
I am aware that a few of our existing small groups have thrived by meeting year-round. A few have even grown or spun off into other small groups. That's good news, and here's some even better news: We plan on establishing small groups for the Advent season.
Did you know that from her very beginning, the Church has often grown and thrived among small groups of disciples? Jesus, Himself began with the 12 Apostles, and throughout the letters of St. Paul, we see him referring to small groups of disciples. This paradigm, which we see in the Bible, has continued throughout the history of the Church. Today numerous movements seek to lead people into a deeper relationship with Jesus through the small group format and through small group ministry.
Many of you know Rich Warcholik, one of our Parish Synod Coordinators. As a faithful disciple and great parish leader, he has volunteered to coordinate these new groups. We've identified a couple of Advent resources, such as Christ in the Neighborhood and other great publishers' resources, that provide weekly reflections, prayers, deep and lively discussions, and of course, social mingling time. Please pray on it and let us know via your REPLY if you are interested in participating in a small group beginning Nov. 27, 2022.