Adult Faith Formation
[In Deacon Tom O'Shea's homily for the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (January 17, 2021), he referred to a document: "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States." To read the document in its entirety, click here.]
Discipleship is a lifelong journey.
Understanding that faith formation is a lifelong pursuit is vital to our parish’s holistic philosophy for a healthy body, mind, and spirit. As beloved children of God and as members of the body of Christ, we are continually urged to know, love, and serve God more fully.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops describes adult faith formation as an essential process inviting Catholic Christians to integrate their own life experiences with knowledge of the faith, love of God, and love of neighbor. It is a complete initiation into the life of the Church as a way of forming a Christian conscience and a desire to act as Christ’s hands and feet in the world.
At St. Maria Goretti and Our Lady of the Assumption, we offer varied opportunities and venues to learn more about and grow in your faith as a Catholic Christian. Wherever you are in your faith journey, we want to walk alongside you. If you’re looking for some simple first steps, we invite you to attend Mass weekly, participate more fully in the sacraments, and take advantage of our rich Catholic traditions such as Eucharistic Adoration, the Blessing of Throats on the Feast of Saint Blaise, and praying the rosary. If you want to further deepen your initiation into the Catholic way of life, we offer Bible Study groups, a Men's Spirituality Group, book clubs, and ARISE Together in Christ meetings. If you are ready to more fully answer the call to discipleship, we offer Discipleship School that features presentations, interactive exercises, guidance on giving witness testimony to our faith, and spiritual enrichment.
For those who are interested in becoming Catholic, we encourage you to consider the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. (For more information on RCIA, please visit our Becoming Catholic section on our website.)
For more information on our current Adult Faith Formation offerings, please contact Kate McGrath, our Pastoral Associate. For information on local retreat offerings and retreat centers, go to our website's Retreat Resources section. Check out OSV Innovation Talks (think TED talks for Catholics) for inspiring, innovative talks by prominent Catholic leaders. Our website's Online Resources and Catholic apps pages also offer a variety of resources to help you expand your knowledge of Catholicism, deepen your relationship with Jesus, and connect with your faith community. Or start simply by following this advice from Fr. Gary Caster of Franciscan Media who shares a tip given to him by Saint Mother Teresa herself: "Every morning when you get up, I want you to say 'Good morning, Jesus!'"
College Student Faith Care Package
"I will never forget you. See, upon the palms of my hands I have written your name..." (Isaiah 49:15b-16 NAB). We taught our children that through the sacraments, they became members of our faith family. So now that they're young adults in college, let's show them!
Let’s keep our college-age children “in the loop” and “in our prayers” while away at school. Fill out a form, and we’ll periodically send them prayers for midterms and finals, helpful faith-based articles, seasonal plug-in activities, and every college student's lifeline...SNACKS! For more information or to volunteer to help grow this ministry, contact Kate McGrath.
Here's a helpful list of online resources for college students.
Our Lady of the Assumption: Mondays 7:00-8:00 pm
Saint Maria Goretti: First thursday of every month 9:30 am-12:00 noon
The Blessed Sacrament is exposed and adored by parishioners to pray before the Lord Jesus present in the Monstrance.
A Rosary prayer group meets at 8:30 am (prior to the 9:00 am Mass) on Wednesdays at Our Lady of the Assumption Church. For those who can't or prefer not to attend in person, they are welcome to join via Zoom. Please contact Piri Collard for more information.
The Lynnfield Knights of Columbus promotes devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary through their 5th Sunday Rosary Program which takes place after the 7am Mass at OLA every month that has five Sundays.
Click here for instructions on HOW TO PRAY THE ROSARY.
Whether you are unfamiliar with the practice of praying the rosary or you more fully experience the beauty of the Rosary when joined by another prayer warrior, St. Maria Goretti parishioner Corinna Tavano offers virtual rosary videos:
Joyful Mysteries Rosary
Luminous Mysteries Rosary
Glorious Mysteries Rosary
Sorrowful Mysteries Rosary
Corinna also invites you to pray the rosary with her live through Zoom on Tuesday mornings at 8am. Please email Corinna and use the word ROSARY (all caps) in the subject line.
Stations of the Cross
For times when you cannot enter one of our churches, but would like pray the devotions of the Way of the Cross, we offer this virtual Stations of the Cross.
Men's Spirituality Group
The Men’s Group meets on the first and third Saturdays of the month from 7:45-8:45 am at the priests’ residence next to St. Maria Goretti Church to discuss upcoming Scripture readings for the Sunday Mass, and examine ways to apply the readings to everyday life. Please contact John DiBello.
Our Bible Study group meets on Fridays after the 9:45am Mass at Our Lady of the Assumption's Church Hall. Each five-week session focuses on different aspects of the Bible and how we can incorporate them into our daily lives. For more information, please contact Piri Collard.
ARISE Together in Christ
ARISE Together in Christ renews and deepens spirituality through the opportunity to meet Jesus Christ in scripture, to explore faith's connection to daily life, and small-group faith sharing in a warm and welcoming environment. This format invites people to develop a closer relationship with Christ, deepen their faith, grow in community, and reach out in service to others. ARISE sessions are usually offered during Advent and Lent. For more information, please contact Pastoral Associate Donna Hegan.
In Matthew 28:19, Jesus commands “Go and make disciples.” It might surprise you to know that he was talking to YOU. When we are baptized, we are signed up to be disciples. Our parents promise to raise us to evangelize. Really.
By virtue of our baptism, we promise to work as a disciple, to bring people closer to God. The reality is, however, that we don’t always have the tools necessary to make that happen. For example, what do we say about the Catholic Church to someone who is struggling with their sexual identity? Or, what do we say to a family who has lost a loved one to suicide and wonders if that person has made it to heaven? Do we know what to say to a woman who has had an abortion and is too ashamed to meet with a priest for Confession? How do we convince a divorced man or woman that they can receive Communion, when they believed it was common knowledge that they weren’t allowed to do so?
This is why our parish, in cooperation with St. Theresa’s in North Reading, has launched Discipleship School for our parishioners. There are answers that all of us seek to hot topics in the Catholic Church. In our daily lives, we meet people who have questions about our beliefs on God, the Catholic Church, heaven, the Holy Eucharist.... and we should have answers. We need to be prepared to know what to say to those who have been away from the church and want to return, or people who are thinking of leaving the church and need to be encouraged to stay.
For the inaugural session, 30 people from St. Maria Goretti, Our Lady of the Assumption, and St. Theresa’s Church in North Reading were invited to participate. Students not only learn what a disciple is, but are empowered to go out into the world and be good ones. We want to start a wave of intentional, emboldened disciples. It can start here. It can start with us. Go and make disciples.
Online Prayer Services
We also offer virtual prayer services that can be accessed from the comfort of home, at your convenience, and whenever you feel the call for a little spiritual uplifting or reflection. Music is provided by our own parish choirs.
Go to our Online Prayer Services page.
Throughout the year, other opportunities for adult faith formation are offered. In the past, these have included Advent prayer services, Lenten prayer services, Catholicism for Dummies, a catechetical series on the Last Seven Words of Christ, a vocations discussion panel, movie mornings, and a wide range of speakers. Please check our website's Events page and our weekly bulletin for current information.
Blessed is She is a website created by and focused on Catholic women who desire a deeper and more meaningful prayer life and a community with which to share it.