Happy New Year! January 1 falls on a Sunday this year. In the Catholic calendar it is also the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. You may have experienced ups and downs on your pilgrimage so far. Some days feel amazing; prayer comes easily and we feel loved and in tune with God. Other days can feel hard, prayer is difficult and feels dry. We might wish that the New Year could come with only "good days." But alas we know that is not possible. Besides, we learn and grow as we continue to persevere in "good times and in bad times." I pray that whatever this new year brings, you can be faithful to your daily prayer.

Small Group Outline

In addition to the daily prayer time, some folks might want to meet with friends or family for an in person or their own virtual group. Here is an outline to facilitate such a meeting.

  1. Opening Prayer
    The leader opens the group with this prayer or with a prayer he or she has composed themselves. "Heavenly Father, you have given us Light at Christmas time. In this light we see that we, too, are your sons and daughters. Deepen our identity as you beloved children. Help us to live as your children this year. Send us your Holy Spirit to enlighten, guide, and bless us today. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen."
  2. Group Check-In
    Go around the room and share a burden and a blessing you experienced this past week. Where did you see Jesus, or who were you Jesus to this week?
  3. Suggested Discussion Questions
    1. If you meet early in the week, you can draw on some of the questions from week five.
    2. Which scripture passage this week spoke to you most powerfully?
    3. How do you feel about the Fatherhood of God? Is it an encouraging concept or a difficult one for you?
    4. What does being a "child of God" mean to you?
    5. Was there anything you struggled with this
    6. Was there any way that your family or friend circle planned to mark the Epiphany?
  4. Group leader should not feel pressure to get every question answered. Allow people the space to say anything and to have an honest, fruitful discussion, while also being mindful of the time allotted. It is important to end the formal part of the Bible Study at the time agreed upon by the group.
  5. Close with a prayer. Ask the group what they would like prayers for. Then conclude by praying an Our Father together.