How does "Celebrating the Word" work?

The common experience of the participants during the past five years is that the process facilitates itself. In other words, if you can read you can facilitate. It is not uncommon for the "group leadership" to rotate around the group members. While there is a defined process that is strongly recommended, this process allows for some modification to accommodate the local situation. The process that is followed each week is described below:

Introduction to the Word: St. Ignatius said a long time ago that the most important part of prayer is the beginning. CTW works hard to establish a comfortable beginning by establishing a spirit of hospitality and welcoming. Every effort is made to highlight the significance and power of God's Word as the primary focus of our activity.

Warm-up activity: is usually a brief fun-type activity that gets people engaged and talking about an interest or an issue "close to home," but one that leads to and is suggestive of a theme for the readings.

Theme: Most of the Sunday readings allow for one of several topics or themes to be developed. Focusing on a specific one allows people to enter more fully into the readings and subsequent reflection and dialogue.

Prayer: A brief penitential style prayer helps us be receptive to God's grace and prepare for the Word to be proclaimed.

Scripture Reflection Time: (45-50 minutes)

Readings: The three readings are then proclaimed, by members of the group. This is followed by a period of prayerful reflection and response to God's Word. The understanding here is that this Word is a present word, speaking to the realities of the today's world and times. Here the participants, in an atmosphere of quiet reflection, make an effort to allow God's Word to "speak to their hearts" in the fashion of the African Model of prayer. These thoughts and reflections are then shared for a 5-10 minute period

Commentary: A one page commentary follows the readings. While this activity is not meant to be a detailed biblical exegesis, it is important for the listeners to have some basic understanding of the context that surrounds the readings: the times, the culture, and reasons for the author's initial purpose in writing the passage. The commentary is written in a manner that will allow for easy understanding by people of all ages and backgrounds.

Questions for reflection and discernment: These questions are not meant to be typical catechetical questions, but are designed to allow for discernment and encourge an action-response. In lieu of a typical homily (as in Sunday's Liturgy of the Word) the questions are meant primarily to be prompts which allow the group members to discern the possible meanings the readings may have for the indiviudals present. This activity, we believe, is very much the work of the Spirit, and so a prayerful demeanor is encouraged

Caring Praying time: (15-20 minutes)

Praying together: we take time to pray for our own needs and those of the community.

Action-Response: given the reflection and dialogue, what difference will this make in my life this week? What outreach activity am I prepared to engage in?