We are pleased to provide you with your monthly batch of Connect for the four weeks of August 2018 spanning the 18th Sunday to the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B).
As the use of Alpha continues to grow in the Diocese of Wollongong as well as other dioceses around Australia, we have transformed Faith Circles into a post-AlphaConnect Group resource. Whilst retaining key components of the original resource, the new Connect will become the ideal post-Alpha resource for continuing to build and develop strong community and faith relationships with God and one another.
If you know someone who would like to receive Connect, ask that they sign up at connect.dow.org.au.
With the use of outreach processes, such as Alpha, continuing to grow in the Catholic Church, we have transformed Faith Circles into a post-Alpha style group resource. Whilst retaining key components of the original resource, the new Connect is the ideal post-Alpha resource for continuing to build and develop strong community and faith relationships with God and one another.
What's changed? A greater focus on group members sharing their personal faith story and relationship with Jesus.
We have therefore removed the reflection by Pope Francis and replaced it with an opportunity for a group member to prepare a short, 5–10 min sharing on how the Gospel reading relates to their life and relationship with Jesus.
What hasn't changed? We will continue to base the resource on the weekly Sunday Gospel reading and include points for discussion and prayer.
HOW TO START CONNECT?
As a post-Alpha initiative
Begin meeting fortnightly, instead of weekly, with your fellow Alpha participants. You gather for some food, worship, discussion and prayer. Connect gives you the format and reflection questions to assist in these fortnightly gatherings. In the context where Alpha is available, it is advisable to always encourage potential new members to complete Alpha before attending a Connect group.
For those who have not participated in Alpha yet
Whilst it is much easier to start a Connect group growing out of the Alpha experience, it is still possible to form and run a Connect group successfully if you adhere to the provided format. You'd be looking to invite 15-30 members of your Parish community who are interested in sharing faith and life to form a Connect group which meets fortnightly.
Connect Groups are where those who have completed Alpha go to connect and to grow. Connect groups are for building and nurturing relationships with Jesus and one another. They are small to mid-size groups that retain the key ingredients of Alpha, especially sharing food, praise and worship and small group sharing.
At each Connect Group gathering, a member of the group shares how a Scripture reading connects with their life and relationship with Jesus. Time is then given for small group sharing followed by prayer with and for one another. Through Connect Groups, the parish ensures that all parishioners are known individually, loved, nurtured and cared for. These groups enable:
A sense of belonging and sharing of life through the lens of faith.
Group and personal prayerfulness and relationship with the risen Lord.
Growing confidence to share faith with others.
THREE'S A CROWD
We've all heard the saying three's a crowd. When Catholics come together in faith there is always an additional presence, as the Lord is true to his promise that, "For where two or three meet in my name, I shall be there with them." (Matthew 18:20) For this reason we are encouraging people to form Connect in their church community.
ACCESSING THE RESOURCE
Connect is a single-sided A4 sheet, based on the Sunday Gospel with reflection questions and prayer points. It is available to download via email subscription (see above to subscribe) or on our website at connect.dow.org.au.
Connect is free, no strings attached, we just want Catholics to be nurtured by doing life and faith in groups, not on your own! You can print as many copies as you like.
Catholic Diocese of Wollongong · PO Box 1239 · Wollongong, Nsw 2500 · Australia