Volume XXV|  Issue 138

Wednesday, March 1st The Journey Begins

Even though we are all very familiar with the season called Lent, this year will be a unique experience because we are different people than we were last year.  God has spoken to each of us through the varied experiences of our lives during the past twelve months. Have we paid attention? How have those experiences changed us?  Have we matured in our faith or will we simply do, with every good intention, the same things we do every Lent? 

Alice Camille in her book Working Toward Sainthood: Daily Reflections for Lent says this about being mature "Church isn't simply about going to church.  Jesus founded the church for a mission: to go forth, as we say at Mass.  We must learn here those things that have ramifications out there.  If we're church for ourselves, to save our souls, we've got it all wrong.  We're church for the sake of those who are not church.  It's a compelling idea."  

So what will be different about this Lent?  We are different.  Our world is different.  Might we make a conscious decision to return to the joy of Jesus' message even as we walk with him on the Lenten road to Jerusalem?  Might we enter the traditional practices of Lent -- Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving-- with joy rather than resignation?  Might we move ourselves out of the center and instead move God's love and mercy into the very heart of the Lenten season?   "Be merciful as your Father is merciful.  Stop judging and you will not be judged.  Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.  Forgive and you will be forgiven.  Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing will be poured into your lap.  For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you."  Luke 6: 37-37  

May your Lenten journey deepen your faith as you recognize God speaking in the experience of your daily life.  May your hear God's voice in the sharing of life and faith in your Small Church Community.  And, may joy be your companion in the days and weeks ahead.

Please contact me if you need Lenten faith sharing material.


Barb Howard
A Return to Joy
The Small Church Community Core Team is a wonderful group of people dedicated to gathering and supporting SCCs at Spirit of Christ.  Every year Core Team members set aside a weekend to do planning for the upcoming year.  This year's planning took place the first weekend of February. 

We gathered on Friday night, a bit tired from the week, some just trying to keep up with the myriad events in their personal lives, and all of us worn down by the unprecedented volume of vitriolic election year conversation and the enormous divisions facing our country. Confronted with all these realities, an idea began to emerge as we prayed and shared.  It had to do with joy, or rather the lack of joy.  If we were feeling beaten down, surely others were as well.  The question was raised how could we, in our planning, encourage a return to joy?   

So that's our plan for the year.  .  . to return to joy.  We want to invite your SCC to join us  on the journey and will be providing you with resources and opportunities throughout the next year to  Return to Joy.  Please watch the bulletin, Flocknotes and your inbox.  We're  going to start practicing joy.  Start with the announcement below!!

potluck left

Small Church Community
Mass and Potluck
Be sure to note on your paper and electronic calendars Monday, May 1st for the
SCC Mass and Potluck .  It will be the first time for Fr. Chris to join us for this longstanding event of shared prayer, great food and community.  We will also continue to explore the SCC theme for the year, Return to Joy Families are encouraged to attend!  More information later. 
Yikes...Registration Closes on Mon., Feb. 27th !!!
Couples' Retreat

Presenting a special day designed just for couples!  On Saturday, March 4th, Kathy Coffey, author and national speaker, will present the Day of Reflection, A Project of Love, based on Pope Francis' recent encyclical "The Joy of Love."  The day will be held at Spirit of Christ.  

Please don't hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance to your SCC!
Barb Howard