As we begin the new year, we see that people are turning more and more to their screens for news, entertainment, and companionship. Yes, you read that right, companionship. Who needs real-life friends when we can have ALL of our social and emotional needs met with Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest and Facebook? I think, my dear sisters, that we all know the answer to that. WE DO!
God is a “real-life” relationship called the Trinity. God doesn’t really need us, but he desired us—he wanted even more relationships than his perfect threesome. So seeing that relationships are what God is all about, it only makes sense that being made in His image that relationships are also what we are all about.
And we know this. Deep down, we desire a relationship with God, and we desire relationships with each other. I won’t expound more on that. We all get this!
So there is no better time than the present to help each other to build these necessary relationships. I have some great advice to help you build strong fellowship and friendships with the women at your parish. [FREE BONUS! This advice can also help you with the other relationships in your life!]
- “Ask and you will receive.” Simple. God loves to answer the prayers of his daughters who desire to grow closer to Him and who want to serve others. Yes, pray right now. And commit to praying for this daily.
- Find help. You could go about it alone if no one seems willing to help, but finding a helper will have a double effect. First of all, it will lighten your load by helping you with some of work. But secondly, you will actually develop a stronger friendship with your helper. Working on a project with someone is a great way to build a relationship. Become prayer partners while you are at it, too.
- Pick a format. Now that you’ve prayed and maybe have some help, decide what kind of format you think would suit you, your helper, and your parish or Catholic School. There are lots of ideas. Here are some suggestions, but you are not limited to these:
- A Lenten Retreat Day
- Mom’s Morning Out (At a parish I used to be a part of, we had POLO-Parents of Little Ones.)
- A Day of Recollection
- A Women’s Conference
- Weekly /Monthly Meetings—mornings after mass, during CCD, at a school after school drop-off, evenings, before Adoration time, etc.
- Pick a program to use. Since I have recently developed a very easy program to use with any women’s group or format, I am going to suggest here that you decide how to use this Relationships program with your format. (Of course you can use any other Bible study, book study, speaker, or combination. The most important thing is to get together!)
Here is what the Relationships program has to offer your women’s group:
Flexibility. There are 12 20-minute presentations; each can stand alone. Individuals can jump in anytime.
Value. There is nothing for them to purchase or prepare ahead of time. Only one program needs to be purchased per parish or group. It also comes with a discussion guide which can be distributed to everyone in the group.
Purpose. Each speaker is top in his/her field and in good standing with the Church. The meaningful presentations will instruct the listeners and also spark further discussions.
- Seek your pastor’s help. After you have formulated a plan and prayed about it a lot, take your idea to your pastor or family ministry person. Usually these folks love suggestions and help! They may have a better idea or see another need. Together, hopefully, you can come up with a final idea.
- This is where many of us get too bogged down. That “Martha” in us just kicks in and we find ourselves busy and “stressed about many things.” Remember what Jesus told Martha: “Only one thing is important.” In all of your plans, keep this at the center. It’s crucial to keep Jesus at the center and the reason for gathering together. Everything else is secondary. With this in mind, make the planning as easy as you can on yourself and those who graciously decided to help you. Here is some advice:
- Use the parish bulletin, social media pages, email and pulpit to advertise your event. That can probably all be done with just a couple of emails or calls to your parish secretary.
- Start an email list and use this for reminders. Use this email list to ask these people to invite others.
- If you decide to have food—which is always welcoming—use a sign-up, like sign-up genius to spread this work and take care of reminders.
Let the friendships flourish! With lots of prayer and a little planning, you can begin something really beautiful for the women at your parish. The need is there. Thank you for saying, “Yes!”
Copyright 2017 Tami Kiser