August 29, 2008
Sometimes our Catholic parishes are so large that we long for a small faith-sharing group within the larger community. If you are a parish minister or a parishioner who would like to start such a group, then the Life after Sunday website can provide some great discussion guides.
The site offers 26 discussion topics, each with an 8-page guide which can be used by a small group. Topics are simple in title, but filled with a deep richness that helps us to unfold God’s presence in our lives. Sample topics include Destiny, Fulfillment, Future, Assent, Risk, and Wonder.
In addition, there are small group packages around special interest groups such as new mothers and new Catholics.
The fall is a great time to start new initiatives within a parish. Why not browse these discussion guides and start a small discussion group in your parish?
February 11, 2008
Isolation can seep in when a person is suffering with a chronic illness or with a disability. Can one’s Catholic faith help, not just at the individual level but also at the communal level? The answer is a resounding yes as members of CUSA – An Apostolate for People with Chronic Illness or with Disabilities will attest.
CUSA is a community of people who are chronically ill or who have a physical disability who support each other through prayers and letters. Through concern for one another, members forge a special relationship that goes beyond the realms of simple friendships. The organization was founded in 1947 and was modeled after a Catholic organization active in Brussels. CUSA ministers to people in the US and Canada.
Members of all faiths are welcome, although most are Catholic. The way the organization works is that groups of no more than eight people are formed and communicate with each other regularly via email or letter. Each group has a Leader and a Spiritual Adviser who is a priest or deacon. Each group also has a Patron Saint, a Motto and an Intention that gives it a unique spiritual orientation.
The organization also sends out a magazine and runs an inspirational blog. CUSA helps members to “unite in the Cross of Christ, so that they may find God’s will or purpose in their suffering.” The only requirement for membership is physical disability or chronic pain or illness.
In this age where the helpfulness of small town communities is often a thing of the past, CUSA draws into the depth of the Catholic faith to bring people together despite distances and geography. CUSA builds small communities of people rooted in faith and sharing a common situation. And isn’t that what building the Kingdom of God is all about?
Helpful books on illness and disability can also be found at ActiveParishioner.com’s website.