A parish cell group has been running in the parish since Jan 2014 with ongoing support and spiritual leadership from Fr Austin and with guidance from the wider Parish Cell system of evangelisation. Currently we have 15 people involved in the parish Cell group and very strong bonds of friendship and support have developed among all of us as we pray, share and talk together. People who come to the meetings speak of enjoying the calmness and sense of belonging that comes from growing together in the love of God and of each other.
Parish cell group meetings normally take place in a family home once a fortnight between September and June. Currently, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we meet on ZOOM and meetings take place every week. In the meetings we take time aside from daily chores to pray and deepen and develop our faith together. The Cell meetings have a structure which is replicated universally which has been developed to help us grow in intimacy with the Lord. In our opening prayer we take time to be mindful of God’s presence among us and ask him to speak to us through our prayers and our reflection on a piece of scripture. We sing hymns, thank God for his blessings and talk about what we have done to share the love of God with others. Usually we read and reflect on the Gospel for the previous Sunday and share what it means to us. There is no pressure on anyone to talk if they don’t feel ready to. Then we listen to a talk prepared by a priest, usually Fr Austin, and discuss and reflect further on the Gospel passage, what it says to us and how we might more fully live the Gospel message. This really makes the Gospel come alive and helps us make real connections between the Gospel messages and our daily lives. We then share intercessory prayers for ourselves, for others, for the souls in purgatory and for people around the world in need of prayer. Frequently we also include prayer requests from friends and other people in the community who do not attend the meetings. Our meetings always seem to end with us sharing a renewed awareness of God’s abundant outpouring love for us and for the whole world and an invigorated sense of community and social responsibility.
There is something very nice about being able to sit down with a group of fellow parishioners and talk about our shared faith and we have a real sense of journeying together and helping each other along the way. It’s not all serious and we enjoy a lot of humour and real fellowship and sharing over a cup of tea at the end of the meeting.
On the 12th April 2015 (the feast of Divine Mercy) the Parish Cell System of Evangelisation was granted a Final Decree of Papal Approval. This followed on from a five year period of experimental recognition by the Pontifical Council for the Laity during which time the operation of the Parish Cell System of Evangelisation was monitored and appraised. The Final Decree expresses the Church’s desire to continue to use parish cell prayer groups as a way of renewing the sense of mission in parish communities.
Parish Cell prayer groups take place on an international scale and Pope Francis invited Cell members from around the world to be in an audience with him at the Vatican on 5th Sept 2015 to mark the decree of Papal approval. Pope Francis again met with Parish Cells of Evangelisation on 18th November 2019 see this link
The term cell encapsulates the fundamental idea of a movement that keeps on regenerating and growing and developing and we very much hope to have more Parish Cell groups developing in the parish.
If you have any interest in finding out more about the Parish Cell System of Evangelisation further information is available on this website and on the various links from this site. If you would rather just meet and talk to someone about what is involved please give me a call and I can arrange for us to meet and talk or for you to come to one of our meetings and see for yourself what it is about,