By Joanna Puddister King
NATCHEZ – After a series of book studies, a group of St. Mary Basilica parishioners and leadership were inspired to come up with an action plan to move the parish forward to deepen their relationship with Christ. The answer to their prayers was the ChristLife program.
Ruth Powers, program coordinator at St. Mary Basilica said that Discovering Christ, the first program of ChristLife, was probably one of the most successful programs the parish has ever done.
On Sunday evenings during October and November, an average 110 people attended each of the seven weeks of the Discovering Christ program that invites people of all backgrounds to open the door to encounter Jesus. Each session of the series began with a fellowship meal, followed by praise and worship with music by parishioners Drew David and Melissa Johnson. The sessions then progressed into witnessing a video teaching by the ChristLife team, followed by small group discussions on the material.
The series was open to all and brought together parishioners from all of the Natchez parishes – St. Mary Basilica, Holy Family and Assumption.
Overall, the parish had 14 small groups formed for discussion for each of the sessions, an aspect many found so valuable.
“I enjoyed the discussion and finding out that others are going through the same things as me. It made me think more about my relationship with God as an ongoing process and not just at Mass,” says Steve Neilsen, one of the small group leaders.
St. Mary Basilica parishioner, Amada Coley was also impacted by the small group connections and by knowing she is not alone in her need to be closer to Christ.
“I enjoyed the opportunity to set aside this special, precious time to focus on God and reflect on my relationship with Jesus,” said Coley.
Because of the interest expressed at the end of Discovering Christ, preliminary planning is underway to offer the second portion of Christlife, Following Christ, in the Spring.