By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Parish Cell System: Evangelize the "Oikos"

I attended last night for the first time a meeting of a local "parish cell." The parish cell system is a system for reevangelizing Catholic parishes in which Catholics gather in small groups in private homes to praise God in music, to thank God for favors and blessings, to intercede in prayer for each other, and to engage in lectio divina, in which the very same Scripture passage is read aloud several times. The Scripture readings are interspersed with times of silence that allow people to listen to the message that the Lord is giving them. People then volunteer to share any insights that struck them while listening to the same short Scripture passage. In this particular group, the group also listened to an insightful and encouraging recorded message from one of the parish priests.

The cell system not only reevangelizes those who participate but is geared to encouraging the participants to evangelize the people with whom they have contact and relationships in daily life. The circle of people or social network that we all have with family, friends, and, yes, strangers in our daily routines is termed the "oikos," a Greek word meaning household. The idea is to evangelize those already in our own personal "oikos," a social network that many of us forget to evangelize and may tend to overlook altogether.

For more information on this intriguing system of parish renewal and evangelization, see this prior Catholic Analysis post.