Summer 2012 Evangelization Exchange – Boyack

Living the Eucharist Small Groups Open Doors to Vital Faith

by Rev. Kenneth Boyack, CSP

 

Living the Eucharist LogoBased on feedback from parishes and parishioners, Living the Eucharist small groups (which are the heart of this Lenten faith renewal program) are opening new doors to an awakened and aware Catholic faith. We wanted to share with you the verbatim comments and assessments of adults from around the country who participated in Living the Eucharist small groups during Lent 2012.

“This program was a wonderful Lenten experience that will endure long after Lent has finished. I feel my participation in the Mass is forever changed.” – Parishioner, Hampstead, NH

 

Over 260 parishes in the United States participated in Living the Eucharist during in 2012. Many of these parishes invited parishioners to join a small group that met for six weeks during Lent. The weekly ninety-minute meetings involved input and discussion on topics such as “Why We Gather for Sunday Eucharist,” “What Happens at Sunday Mass,” and “The Dynamic Role of the Holy Spirit.” Each meeting closed with the group using lectio divina to pray with one of the readings for the upcoming Sunday Mass.

“This group and the readings, especially lectio divina have convinced me to want to follow Jesus more.” – Parishioner, Garden City, SC

 

Many small group leaders collected evaluations from the participants during the final meeting during Lent. Twenty-three parishes sent their evaluations to Paulist Evangelization Ministries and 131 small group participants gave their feedback through a survey on the Living the Eucharist website. Paulist Evangelization Ministries gathered a total of 1,286 responses from small group members. The feedback on Living the Eucharist small groups has been extremely positive, with a large majority (87.6%) of the respondents rating the program “Excellent,” or “Very Good.”

“Best program in our parish in decades.” – Parishioner, Grand Rapids, MI

“The entire experience was exceptional. Everyone shared with great honesty and conviction. It was such a wonderful experience. I did not want it to end.” – Parishioner, Forest Grove, OR

 

Even more important, the parishioners who shared their thoughts with us on their Living the Eucharist small group experience found—again in large majorities—that participating in the program had a profound and positive impact on their understanding of the Eucharist, their participation in the Mass, and their commitment to live as a disciple of Jesus each day.

“This is living Jesus! Let’s go out and share the Gospel!” – Parishioner, Menomonee Falls, WI

 

Here is what participating parishioners and parishes around the country had to say about their experience of Living the Eucharist small groups during Lent 2012.

How would you evaluate your overall experience as a small group participant?
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As a result of participating in this small group, please indicate to what extent you either agree or disagree with the three statements below. (There were 992 responses.)

I have a greater understanding of the Eucharist.

I participate more fully in the Mass.

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I am more committed to live as a disciple of Jesus each day.

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Learn more about Living the Eucharist at www.LivingtheEucharist.org. Parishes can begin planning now to participate in Lent 2013. The Parish Starter Kit contains all the materials a parish needs to implement this ministry.

Rev. Kenneth Boyack, CSP is Vice President of Paulist Evangelization Ministries and the General Coordinator for Living the Eucharist. You can contact him at KBoyack@pemdc.org

Participant Comments

 

The Living the Eucharist small group participants were invited to complete this sentence: “The most valuable part of the small group experience for me was…” Here is what they said:
The small group participants were invited to make additional comments, and they made observations about a wide range of issues regarding our Catholic faith. Here is what they said:
  • The entire experience was exceptional. Everyone shared with great honesty and conviction. It was such a wonderful experience. I did not want it to end.
  • I feel that I have always participated wholeheartedly in the Mass but this group has enhanced that participation.
  • This is living Jesus! Let’s go out and share the Gospel!
  • I seldom read the Bible, but now I read the Bible verses for the upcoming Sunday every week.
  • I am awestruck by the openness of my group and feel as if I have come a big step closer to Jesus in my everyday life.
  • My eyes have been opened to the many dimensions of the Mass.
  • The practice of lectio divina has deepened my prayer life and my appreciation of Scripture.
  • The readings were so powerful sometimes and spoke to my heart so deeply I almost couldn’t speak.
  • This program was a wonderful Lenten experience that will endure long after Lent has finished. I feel my participation in the Mass is forever changed.
  • Faith sharing was a very powerful experience. It really moved me and strengthened my resolve to continue sharing faith with others.
  • The sense of community is wonderful. I have made some wonderful friends.
  • It was a great spiritual and social experience. I’d recommend it to everyone.
  • Lectio divina is a very helpful way for me to meditate on God’s word—something I can take home and apply.
  • I felt more encouraged to boldly proclaim my own feelings regarding faith and my love for the Lord and the Holy Eucharist.
  • I am new to my parish and so I felt closer to belonging to my new community through the welcome I received.
  • The lectio divina was unknown to me previously—what a gem of a system for slowing down and cracking open Scripture.
  • The experience shared by the members and the information contained in the book enabled me to correct some wrong notions I had about the Eucharist.
  • I was more eager to attend church after participating in my small group.
  • Best program I have experienced in a long time.
  • This has been an excellent method to encourage us to read the Sunday readings ahead of time for a deeper understanding of the Word.
  • This is one of the best parish-wide programs I have ever participated in. It definitely helped most people get a better understanding of what the Mass has to offer.
  • This was an absolutely wonderful experience. I loved learning about Lectio divina which is, for me, a new way to pray the Scriptures. This program opened me up to understand more about my faith and left me wanting to learn more.
  • When I leave Mass now I feel empowered and feel a burning in my heart to be a part of God’s plan.
  • Exceptional group of faith filled people! Outstanding program. If someone failed to sign up, they missed out on a great Lenten experience.
  • This group and the readings, especially lectio divina, have convinced me to want to follow Jesus more.
  • I absolutely loved my small group experience. It brings me out of my shell to more fully express my faith.
  • Lectio divina is a great faith enricher.
  • We are changed! I have a better appreciation of our Catholic faith and the Mass. I feel more connected by sharing with others in this small group setting in my home.
  • I believe it is not just receiving Eucharist; it is becoming Eucharist, a servant and a disciple of Christ.
  • Thank you for bringing Living the Eucharist to our church. It was invaluable.
  • thoroughly enjoy and will re-read the Participant Booklet. It is well written and easy to grasp.
  • I had an awesome experience. This is the first time I’ve ever been a part of this type of group.
  • I see more of how the Eucharist has changed me and how I can change even more. I only now feel I am beginning to awaken to more service.
  • Wish I’d had this long ago.
  • Just returning to the church, so a HUGE help.
  • I am more aware of being sent to live the mission.
  • Very much enjoyed the essays. Well written and informative.
  • Best program in our parish in decades.
  • Congrats on an excellent program.