13 March 2008

Lenten Prayer Groups

In our Parish during Lent, we have been holding Lenten prayer groups, where members of the Parish have got together to talk over the previous Sunday's readings, and to consider them in the light of a particular theme. This year the theme is "Who is my neighbour?"

As a new Catholic (I'm officially a member of the Church next weekend, when I have my confirmation at the Easter Vigil) I find these groups fascinating. For the last two years I have been going through the process of RCIA, and have made some good friends along the way. We are blessed with a knowledgeable group leader and some excellent Catechists, and the whole journey has helped root me into the Faith. I've enjoyed it so much I don't want to leave, and even feel inspired to take on study to become a Catechist in time. But that's for another day. The difference with the Lent prayer groups is we get to experience the Faith as others see it, and sometimes that can be very eye-opening, but on the whole it is very beneficial.

At tonight's Lent group, the usual leader of the session was away on holiday. She let us know last week, and asked for a volunteer to lead the session. I immediately suggested my friend who has been going through RCIA with me the last two years and myself as co-leaders, and tonight we took the group! Now, on the face of it, it isn't much, but to us, newbie/wannabe Catholics still green behind the ears it was just fantastic! The group of people we met with were kind and considerate and we had an excellent discussion on the Gospel of John from last Sunday and reflected on the Who is my neighbour theme. My friend and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and it meant so much to us to be able to share this.

During our first session of these Lent prayer groups, a comment was made about St Augustine, which provoked me into looking more into his teachings, and that was a fortuitous moment, because I have learnt so much from reading his works, and it really helped me to get a better understanding of the Gospel readings.

Overall it has been a worthwhile Lenten exercise and has set me up for Holy Week and my pending confirmation and first Communion.

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