Celebrating the Word

Celebrating the Word is a process model for faith sharing groups that inspired by the encounter of the disciples on the Road to Emmaus.  Most of us can identify with the plight of those two disciples. We know their experience. We have been there.  And we need a place and a process that will allow us, as a faith community on a regular basis, to make connections between our life stories and the Gospel Story. As with those two disciples, we are assured that when we come together in faith and trust to make connections between our life stories and the Gospel Story, we too will come to experience the presence and power of God’s own Spirit.

UPDATE: We regret to inform you that "Celebrating the Word" will no longer be available through our Resurrectionist Society.

“The Celebrating the Word” Model is a user friendly process that allows people to make connections between their life stories and the Gospel Story, and in the process, experience the presence and power of God’s own Spirit.

They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?

- Luke 24:32

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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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Questions for Reflection and Discernment

These questions are not meant to be typical catechetical questions, but are designed to allow for discernment and encourage 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 individuals 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.

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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?

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