By Ryan Burchett
For The Catholic Messenger
Catholics looking to grow in their faith this Advent are encouraged to consider starting an Emmaus Group.
Bishop Thomas Zinkula says feedback has been positive from people who have been participating. “While I am out and about in the diocese, I have encountered many Emmaus Group participants who have told me, with a smile on their face, that it has been a wonderful faith experience.”
The Emmaus initiative is an effort to encourage small group formation across the Diocese of Davenport. The diocese has free resources from the “Discipleship Quad” program from Franciscan University of Steubenville available on the diocesan website. The Discipleship Quad has 43 lessons and is designed for groups of four.
Colleen Burke, a member of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Parish in Lost Nation, has found the Discipleship Quad program to be enriching. “Our initial intent was to go through the first few lessons to see how it worked. But it proved to be such a powerful vehicle for developing our own faith and deepening our relationship with God, we decided to continue as a group through the other lessons. We’ve learned so much about ourselves, our faith and each other and have had a great time doing it!”
People can use the free Discipleship Quad resources or choose their own materials. Groups can start any time and instructions on how to form a group are included on the diocesan website as well.
Kristin Ryan, a member of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport, encourages others to give it a try. “If you think about doing it, I think everybody has reservations. I had the same reservations. But it’s created more time in my life because I’ve grown in my faith and in my deep, spiritual prayer life. I say just do it! There’s never going to be an easy time. It exceeded all of my expectations.”
Bishop Zinkula hopes the small groups are just the beginning. “I think that small faith-sharing groups like Emmaus help people become better evangelizers because they learn more about their faith, become more confident and comfortable talking about their faith, and draw closer to the Lord.”
Resources for starting your own Emmaus Group are available at: www.davenportdiocese.org/emmaus