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The Discipleship Series Faith-Sharing with a Mission of Love
“I am the vine, you are the branches….” “…Abide in my love… that you bear much fruit.” “Love one another as I have loved you.” (see John 15:5-12)
This is the Heart of the Gospel • But how can we best foster it?
The Eucharistic celebration is the source and summit of our life as Catholics….
Butsometimes we need to be literally “two or three” (or ten or twelve) gathered in his name.It’s a different dynamic. • Prayer • Reflection • Fellowship
But is it enough to pray, reflect and enjoy Christian fellowship?After four years of this, a parish men’s group was challenged by a deacon to something more….
(James 2: 14 – 18) Loving Service in the Name of Christ • “If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.”
We need a deepening of social concern, of service, but joined to Christ the Vine, and the faith of his Church.
Our Salvation is to Love with Christ’s Love “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the Kingdom…”
“…For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you have me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me.” Mt 25:34-35
Full Discipleship, then, calls us to: • Encounter the Lord (Prayer); • Let his Gospel penetrate our heart and soul (Reflection); • Become one, as He and the Father are one (Fellowship/Communion); • Stoop to wash the feet of our neighbor in need (Service).
These are the four components of the Discipleship Series, with its goal ofIntegral Christian Formation To integrate is to make whole, to avoid leaving anything out.
When he was Bishop of La Crosse, Archbishop Jerome Listecki promoted the Discipleship Series heavily, saying: “We want to foster praying, catechized, loving communities that put their faith in action… …in an intentional and consistent way. This coincides with…an aspiration that saw a large degree of fulfillment in the early Church, as witnessed by the words of the surrounding pagans….”
To achieve this goal, the Discipleship Series draws on the great riches of our Faith…
We can draw near to the witness of these men and women, like coals placed next to those that are already ablaze.
Results of the Discipleship Series in the Diocese of La Crosse: More than 6000 books requested and distributed from 2007-2010. Surveys reveal very high satisfaction with the format and experience. 95% of the respondents indicate their intention to continue using the Discipleship Series.
The Discipleship Series Spreads 21 U.S. States and Canada
Why so Fruitful? Short and readable Incorporates formal and spontaneous prayer Centers on Sacred Scripture Catechesis, but “bite-sized” Illustrated with inspiring real-life stories Reflection questions focus on personal application Designed to work for busy people—meet once a month (or once a week during Lent) for 90 minutes Renews parishes from within, engaging laity without pressuring pastors – who can enjoy the fruit! Makes the laity participants in the charitable mission of the Church through a modest commitment to service
One Example – A Pastor to His Parish: “It is wonderful that you come to Mass on Sunday, but it is not enough. As your Pastor, I make the humble request that you develop a personal attachment to Christ. Please consider joining a Discipleship Series group.” Fr. Peter Manickam, Sacred Heart Parish, Marshfield, WI
Six Discipleship Series groups at Sacred Heart Parish became the nucleus for perpetual adoration of the Eucharist. “Abide in My Love…”
“…That you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.” (Jn 15:8,9) The Discipleship Series groups at Sacred Heart also blossomed in service: • Visiting and conducting faith-sharing with the residents of the Golden Living Center (nursing home) • Collecting food for the St. Vincent de Paul food pantry • Serving food to the homeless and hungry at the St. Vincent de Paul center • Visiting the homebound
“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”(Jn 15:8,9)
The Discipleship Series Faith-Sharing with a Mission of Love www.novomill.com