Thursday, December 16, 2010

Small Community Meetings

In recent years the Church has made efforts to have Catholics meet in their villages or districts for prayer and Scripture sharing. Protestants have been doing this for many years, providing a stimulus for us to be as faithful to the practice.  Usually our Catholics meet once a month while Protestants have a weekly district  prayer service. In addition to the meetings in someone's home, Catholics would also have the Mass. And because attendance at daily Mass is good, it's understandable why the small basic communities remain, for the most part, on a monthly schedule.

A pastor of a small country parish, in his column in the Peace Weekly, tells of his visit to one of these meetings. When he arrived, six or seven of the elderly were already preparing for the meeting. A grandmother bent over, an almost deaf grandfather, and some who had difficulty walking were helping.  His only thought: How difficult it must have been for them to come out to the meeting.

During the meeting seeing how one of the grandmothers struggled reading a short Scripture passage, saddened the pastor.But this soon passed when it came time to reflect on their life. A grandfather, who was in his 80s, said he was thankful he could still help others and would continue to do so as long as his health allowed. He was given encouraging applause. Then each member had an extemporaneous prayer, which the pastor found very moving.
They then  shared what they had  been doing during the  month, which was followed by refreshments, fruit, beverages and some  alcohol. It was a feast. During refreshment time  each talked about their families and their problems. The pastor, impressed with their efforts to make the best of difficult situations, couldn't help but reflect on how easy his life was in contrast, and decided to be of more help to his parishioners in the future.

In the early Church, we know that the Christians met together to hear about the teachings of the Apostles, to have fellowship, to break bread, and to pray. Our own small basic communities are attempting to do the same, and succeeding.   

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