Setting up a group in your parish
Approach the parish priest and if he is happy for a Life Ascending group to be set up in the parish, announce this in the parish bulletin/newsletter. This will be in the form of an open invitation to parishioners over 60, to attend a little meeting after a mid-week Mass, where in a friendly atmosphere the aims, possibilities and values of the movement will be explained. If the response is good, a venue, date and time are then fixed for the first meeting.
There are no hard and fast rules
about the frequency of an Life Ascending meeting. The minimum is once a month and maximum once a week. It is better to meet in the daytime and in a parish room or hall, or even in someone’s home.Religious are often happy to host the Life Ascending meeting in their convent or house.
The Life Ascending meeting is for everyone and a good group leader will make sure that everyone feels at home, is included and has an opportunity to make their own contribution. It is in this atmosphere that the love of God and of each other will touch them.
The Group Leader
This is not an onerous task, as all those attending the meeting are likeminded and just need someone to gently direct. The Group Leader does need to be fairly active and available and sensitive to others, as well as putting together the content of the meeting. Another important attribute of the Group Leader is getting to know each member, encouraging them and helping them to share.
Each group will work out its own format for the meeting
Most groups will take a Gospel reading and use this for discussion. More often than not, the reading for the coming Sunday as Christ is at the heart of our meeting. This will be followed by discussion and seeing how the words relate to our lives. But nothing is set in stone and each group will develop a programme they are comfortable with that embodies the three main elements of Spirituality, Mission and Friendship. Above all it is essential that each member benefits from their meetings and leaves with a sense of joy and peace.
Sharing a personal journey of faith, passing on the faith, prayer, Christian Unity, the poor, the Psalms and more, are all topics where everyone will have something to say or share with the group.
Individual members bring to the group meeting the experiences and discoveries of their own lives to share with other like-minded people, sometimes learning from them and sometimes helping others.
New members have commented that they appreciate the opportunity of discussion and study on matters of faith and social responsibility that they find in group meeting programmes. They also value the known confidentiality within the group that enables them to share something of their own anxieties, pains and joys
If you want to take the first step in setting up a group in your parish, please refer to the Contacts on this website. We are all very happy to help in any way
Ideas for meetings are in the panels below: