Evangelization and

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Faith Formation

     The end of Matthew’s Gospel concludes with The Commissioning of the Disciples. In this famous passage, Jesus sends his disciples into the world to make more disciples, and to ensure that those who become his disciples observe all that Jesus taught.

   This two–step mission of making disciples and maturing disciples is what the Catholic Church calls the mission of evangelization.

   Ongoing faith formation in Catholic theology is part of this larger mission of evangelization and a type of evangelization.

What is CONNECTIONS?

  CONNECTIONS is a new way to do faith formation in the Catholic Church. It is made up of short, independent seminars that take place over the course of the liturgical year. The program has a participant workbook for each seminar and a website.

    The vision of CONNECTIONS is to create a culture of missionary discipleship in the Catholic Church. The mission of CONNECTIONS is to form missionary disciples who form other missionary disciples.

   CONNECTIONS is based on the liturgical seasons, the Sunday lectionary and evangelical leadership. The four parts of each CONNECTIONS seminar are a Small Group Meeting, Daily Personal Prayer, a Special Growth Activity and One–to–One Discipling.

CONNECTIONS

Three Unique Features

The CONNECTIONS process is based on three unique features. These three unique features are the
liturgical seasons, the Sunday lectionary and evangelical leadership.

Liturgical

Seasons

     CONNECTIONS is based on the liturgical seasons found in the three-year cycle. There is a seminar for the Advent & Christmas seasons, Lent and Easter. There are four seminars for the thirty-four weeks of Ordinary Time. CONNECTIONS leverages the rhythm and formative potential of the liturgical seasons.

Sunday

Lectionary

     CONNECTIONS is based on the Sunday lectionary. It uses the readings and homily of the previous Sunday to form and deepen the faith of participants. This follows and honors the Church’s teaching on how ongoing faith formation should take place. All the readings are used with a special emphasis on the Sunday Gospel.

Evangelical

Leadership

     CONNECTIONS is based on evangelical leadership. The success of Church renewal and ministries in the Church depends in large part on leaders. CONNECTIONS provides leadership training and coaching for parish leaders, small group leaders and participants so that they are properly equipped to lead the program.

CONNECTIONS

Four Core Components

Each CONNECTIONS seminar involves four core components. These four core components are:
a Small Group Meeting, Daily Personal Prayer, a Special Growth Activity and One-to-One Discipling.

Small Group Meeting

The small group meeting follows the format of the Mass. The four parts of the meeting are: “We Gather,” “We Learn,” “We Pray,” and “We Serve.” This Eucharistic format allows a variety of activities to take place during the meeting. The CONNECTIONS weekly meeting fosters community, learning, prayer and service.

Daily Personal Prayer

Daily Personal Prayer is an opportunity for participants to take personal initiative for their spiritual growth. The Daily Personal Prayer Guide makes it easier for participants to develop the habit of daily prayer. The format or structure of daily prayer is also Eucharistic and uses various ways of praying from the Church’s spiritual tradition.

Special Growth Activity

Once during the seminar, the members of the small group get together for a Special Growth Activity. These activities help the members of the small group spend time with each other outside the weekly meeting. This activity can be a social, service, or spiritual activity and is determined by the group.

One-to-One Discipling

One-to-One Discipling is a way of making sure that each person in a small group has the opportunity to meet one-to-one with the leader and get to know each other. This often begins to create the authentic friendships in which personalized faith formation and individual discipling best takes place.

CONNECTIONS

Three Additional Ways in A Parish

     The CONNECTIONS program can be used in three additional ways. A short form of the weekly meeting can be used  by other parish groups and ministries when time is limited. The program can be an ideal supplement for the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults. Finally, CONNECTIONS can serve as a resource for those preaching in the parish.

Other Parish Groups

and Ministries

     A short form of CONNECTIONS is available for the small group meeting when time is limited. This short form can also be used in parish meetings and by other ministries so they can spend some time in faith formation.

Order of Christian

Initiation of Adults

     CONNECTIONS is an ideal supplement for the O.C.I.A. The four core components can assist catechumens, candidates and team members in the process of joining  the Church and becoming missionary disciples.

Resource for those who

Preach the Word

     CONNECTIONS can serve as a resource for those who preach at the Sunday Liturgy. A basic Explanation and Application of the Sunday Gospel is provided to assist in the preparation of the homily.