Learn More about the Awakening Faith Program
1. What is Awakening Faith?
Awakening Faith – Reconnecting with Your Catholic Faith is a small group process that helps inactive Catholics return to the Church. The group meets once a week for six weeks of conversation and socializing. The conversations are based on short, easy to read essays about spirituality, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, God’s mercy, the Mass, and the Church. The meetings foster reflection, prayer, and honest sharing in a setting of hospitality and acceptance. A small community is formed and over the six weeks becomes a bridge to the larger Church community. Additional, optional essays, allow the group to continue to meet if desirable for another four weeks to discuss faith, love, marriage and divorce, and money. The process is simple and inviting. A parish can offer Awakening Faith any time of the year and repeat it year after year.
2. Why was Awakening Faith developed?
Pastoral leaders recognize that many Catholics today do not clearly identify with their faith. One of the main reasons for this trend is cultural: people now grow up in a society of choice, where identity with a church or faith is not prized as much as it was in the past. This ministry equips pastoral leaders to reach out in a particular way to the new paradigm of inactive Catholics: people who are not angry or alienated from the Church, but who are indifferent or apathetic. Many of these Catholics have not had enough involvement with the Church to think of themselves as “being away” and thus inviting them “back” or “home” is not compelling. Nevertheless, many people who “drift away” from practicing their faith still think of themselves as Catholic. Awakening Faith was developed to engage this group as well as other inactive Catholics.
3. How does Awakening Faith contribute to the pastoral life of a parish?
Awakening Faith is designed to help parishes invite and welcome any inactive Catholics who may have a desire to return or who are simply interested in learning more about their faith. The Awakening Faith process kindles faith, which results in some group members deciding to participate more actively in the life of a parish.
4. What does a parish need to implement Awakening Faith?
A parish needs only a small team to help with the various aspects of this ministry: publicity, coordination, providing hospitality, and supporting the efforts of the Awakening Faith group leaders.
5. What are the topics covered in the ten Awakening Faith sessions?
There are six core sessions:
- Session 1 – Spirituality: What’s the Buzz?
- Session 2 – Who is Jesus?
- Session 3 – Do We Need the Spirit?
- Session 4 – Can I Accept God’s Mercy?
- Session 5 – Can Mass Make My Life Meaningful?
- Session 6 – The Church and Me
Plus four additional, and optional, follow-up sessions:
- Session 7 – Is Faith Possible Today?
- Session 8 – Searching for Love
- Session 9 – Marriage, Divorce, and Annulment
- Session 10 – Money and the Treadmill of Life
5. What does PEM provide?
- A recently updated Online Parish Manual, which explains the Awakening Faith program and gives detailed help for organizing this ministry in a parish. The manual includes an invitation flyer, sample letters, bulletin announcements, and other resources to assist a parish with publicity.
- A Group Leader Guide for those who serve as leaders for the Awakening Faith
- A Participant Booklet, which contains the first six sessions, and a Participant Booklet #2, which contains the four supplementary sessions.
6. Why is the Awakening Faith process effective?
Awakening Faith is based on the pastoral insight that people who feel distant from the Church can begin to feel closer to it after they become involved in a welcoming, open, and safe small group. The dynamic process of hospitality, attending to people, informative conversations, and sharing can bring about a deepening encounter with Christ and a new desire to participate more actively in the life of the Church.
7. Why are the group conversations important?
The Awakening Faith group conversations are structured to bring about high participant involvement. The focus of the conversation is a short, accessible essay on the session’s topic. After hospitality, introductions, an ice-breaker, and some time for reflection and sharing, the group reads the essay and discusses their reactions to it. After a short time for prayer and announcements, the group concludes with further hospitality. This process creates an atmosphere of sharing and bonding.
9. Is Awakening Faith an adult faith formation process?
Yes – The Awakening Faith sessions are based on insights from selected chapters of the U.S. bishops’ Catholic Catechism for Adults. Awakening Faith uses key catechetical issues basic to faith to facilitate the process of discovery. The primary purpose of the sessions is not catechetical, but rather to involve participants in a faith-sharing process that will lead them to become more active in the life of the Church. The Group Leader Guide contains notes and reflections that equip the leader to anticipate questions and guide the conversations in a way that engages and forms the faith of the participants.
11. What is the best way for a parish to begin Awakening Faith?
Using the Awakening Faith Online Parish Manual a pastor or another pastoral leader can form an Awakening Faith team to implement this ministry in the parish. The basic training needed for the group leader is available by clicking on Group Leader Orientation, found on the left panel of this website.
12. How do we order the materials for Awakening Faith?
Click here to visit the Awakening Faith section of our store. In our PEM web store, you may order materials by credit card or check. Materials ordered by check will be sent upon receipt of payment.