The group – including Deacons; Catechists; Extra-ordinary Ministers and hungry enthusiastic Lay people - came together and have been meeting regularly since January 2019 to find ways to re-ignite, strengthen and ‘draw parishioners closer to God or return to the Catholic Faith’. Also to help encourage us to become true Disciples of the Word as part of the Diocesan Mission for Evangelization.
After much reading and research, the result has been to use a Catholic Programme ‘Word on Fire Catholic Ministries’ founded by Bishop Robert Barron in the US. He has numerous resources available covering all aspects of the Catholic Church and teachings.
As a pilot scheme, to gauge the interest of the parishioners, we decided to run a series of sessions focusing on having a clearer understanding of ‘The Mass’ with a further two sessions giving a deeper meaning of ‘The Eucharist’.
These pilot sessions consisted of showing DVDs led by Bishop Barron, followed by group discussions and of course the usual refreshments.
Each session ran twice per week – Monday evenings and Wednesday mornings – with attendances ranging between 50 to 80 people. The feedback at the end of these two pilot schemes was a great success leaving parishioners wanting more of the same.
Other parishes in the Deanery of St Hugh have also shown a keen interest and are wanting to run the same DVD sessions on The Mass and The Eucharist to their own parishioners in the near future.
Bishop Alan is aware of Bishop Robert Barron’s Word on Fire Ministry and was encouraged to hear about these courses being run at St Peter and All Souls. He was impressed to hear of the high number of attendees on these two pilot schemes and gave his blessing to continue with similar programmes.
The high participation in, and success of, running these sessions has clearly shown us the need and the hunger to continue sharing similar courses with the parishioners, hopefully using Mother Teresa’s example of ‘The Ripple in the Pond’ spreading wider within the Diocese.
At St Peter and All Souls Parish we are currently looking into and evaluating other materials to be able to assist and support parishioners in their own personal journey of faith. As part of The Mission of Evangelization and Discipleship we are hoping that parishioners will feel more connected to the Church and come forward to join existing or re-establishing pastoral ministries such as Welcomers, Outreach programmes, etc.
Through all of Bishop Barron’s presentations we are drawn into the true meaning of The Liturgy and The Liturgy of the Eucharist. We have learnt that The Mass is an intense encounter with God that we have the greatest relationship with Jesus and The Mass is a supreme moment of Encounter and Adoration.
Bishop Robert Barron is the founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He is also the host of Catholicism, a groundbreaking award-winning documentary about the Catholic Faith, which aired on PBS.
Bishop Barron’s website Wordonfire.org, reaches millions of people each year, and he is one of most followed Catholics on social media. His regular YouTube videos have been viewed over 30 million times and he has over 1.5 million followers on Facebook.
Pictured above are St Peter and All Souls parishioners taking part in the programme.