Emmaus: Growing closer to God and each other

By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger

Vision 20/20 aims to foster revitalization of faith and renewal of grace in the spirit of Pentecost throughout the Diocese of Davenport. The Emmaus initiative, one of the fruits of that process, encourages parishes to provide small-group opportunities for individuals to enrich their faith over the next year. Diocesan leaders say the season of Lent, which began Feb. 17 on Ash Wednesday, is a great time to become part of an Emmaus group.

Members of three different Emmaus groups say they benefit from participating in the faith-building experience. They shared their experiences to date in a Q&A with The Catholic Messenger. This reflection comes from Joan Wail, a parishioner at Divine Mercy Parish-Burlington/West Burlington, and one of five members in her Emmaus Group.

Why did you choose to participate in an Emmaus Group?

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“I wanted fellowship with other Christians, who wanted to continue to grow in their relationship with the Lord. I want to build solid relationships with other Christians so that we could each support one another in our walk with the Lord.”

How many of the group members did you know prior to joining your Emmaus Group?

“Three of the ladies I knew through church activities.”

Does your Emmaus Group use the Discipleship Quad program? What are your thoughts about the format, each week’s offering of a theme, Scriptures, reflection questions and prayers?

“I do like the format. Especially how it teaches and encourages people to have a regular prayer time. Then to share what they are getting out of the readings and their personal prayer time. They are learning how to share their faith on a personal level.”

What do you find most rewarding about participating in an Emmaus Group?

“I would say it would be the sense of community and seeing the unity in the group. Also, seeing the growth that is taking place in each person is fun and exciting to see.”

What is the most challenging aspect of your participation in an Emmaus Group?

“For me it would be the memorizing of the Scriptures.”

How has your participation in an Emmaus Group helped your faith to grow?

“Memorizing the Scripture by sitting in the verse and letting it speak to me personally. This has opened up a whole new world to me.”

What do you hope to take away from your Emmaus Group experience?

“To be closer to God and to have closer friendships in the Lord.”

What would you say to someone who is trying to decide whether to participate in or start an Emmaus Group?

“I think that the Emmaus Group has met a great need in our church. When the church did the town meetings and Vision 20/20, we learned that 1) people didn’t know how to share their faith; 2) they were not comfortable in speaking about their faith; 3) they did not know how to pray without rote prayers. I think Emmaus meets all those needs, thus (group members) will be more comfortable and more likely to witness in the future. I’m very pleased the church has decided to do this program.”

Join an Emmaus Group

Consider starting or participating in an Emmaus group with three other people with whom you could take a closer walk with Jesus. Who is God putting on your heart to reach out to? Then go to the diocesan website (www.davenportdiocese.org), click on the Emmaus icon, and download the Discipleship Quad materials, which are free. Familiarize yourself with the program and read recommendations on forming a group. Invite the people God placed on your heart and set up a time, place and format that makes everyone comfortable. Flexibility is one of the attractive aspects of this faith-building initiative. Remember, Lent, which began Feb. 17, is a perfect time to build on your relationship with Jesus and with companions on this journey of faith.


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