Opportunity to grow prayer life gains in popularity

An opportunity to grow in prayer and relationship with Christ is expanding in the archdiocese due to the program's popularity.

About 50 people participated at four parish locations in 2014 when Oremus was offered to the first cohort of the archdiocesan Lay Formation Program. Now, with the eight-week Catholic prayer study course offered around the archdiocese, participation and number of sites have mushroomed.

Oremus, which means "let us pray" in Latin, will be offered this summer at 10 sites, one per deanery in the archdiocese. It will consist of eight weekly sessions with a 30-minute video presentation followed by about a half-hour of small-group discussion. The only cost for the program is the materials, which may be purchased at Catholic book stores or online.

Following the tradition of the Catholic Church and the wisdom of the saints, Oremus helps people discover how God speaks to them, even in the smallest encounters.

Participants from the inaugural Oremus jumped at the opportunity to organize it, and parishes eagerly offered their facilities.

According to Sister Mary Kathleen Ronan, coordinator of the Lay Formation Program, "people are hungry" for a fruitful prayer life and the foundation of a healthy spiritual life that fills a longing for a deeper relationship with Christ." She added that for lay formation participants, Oremus fosters "an appreciation of how central prayer is if you're in the Lord's work."

Oremus participants receive specific Scripture passages to pray with each day. They also keep a journal of their prayer experiences.

On the videos, Father Mark Toups gives the lessons on prayer and offers spiritual direction and encouragement. Ordained in 2001, he is a priest of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, La., where he serves director of seminarians and works with the Institute for Priestly Formation, specializing in communications, development and spiritual direction.

Oremus helps people:

• Become aware of God's presence in their lives;

• Discover the simple yet profound steps of Catholic prayer;

• Learn how to respond to God and express themselves in prayer;

• Discover how to hear God's voice in Scripture, in their heart, and in ordinary moments;

• Learn how to overcome frustrations, distractions and dryness in prayer;

• See that desolation and consolation are a normal part of everyone's walk with God;

• Grow in a relationship with God and others.

Participants have said the program brought them a greater intimacy with God and helped them embrace Scripture, seeing it as praying and placing themselves in the Gospel story. 

Oremus (Let us pray) is an eight-week program with a 30-minute video presentation by Father Mark Toups followed by about 30 minutes conversation in a small group. The only cost for the program is the materials.

• Queen of all Saints, 6603 Christopher Drive in Oakville, 7-8:30 p.m. Wednesdays, June 7 to July 26

• St. Joseph, 10 N. Long St. in Farmington, Mondays, 7-8:15 p.m. June 12 to July 31

• Our Lady 1550 St. Marys Lane in Festus, 6-7:30 p.m. Mondays, June 26 to Aug. 21 (no session July 24)

• St. Gertrude 6535 Highway YY in Krakow, 7-8:30 p.m. Wednesdays, June 7 to July 26

• Holy Spirit 3130 Parkwood Lane in Maryland Heights, 7-8:30 p.m. Wednesdays, June 28 to Aug. 16

• St. Ferdinand, 1765 Charbonier Road in Florissant, 6-7:15 p.m. Wednesdays, July 5 to Aug. 23

• Sts. Teresa and Bridget, 3636 N. Market St. in north St. Louis, noon-1:30 p.m Saturdays, May 20 to July 15 (no session July 1)

• St. Patrick, 405 S. Church St. in Wentzville, 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesdays, June 6-Aug. 1 (no session July 4)

• St. Mary Magdalen, 4924 Bancroft Ave. in south St. Louis, 7-8:30 p.m. Thursdays, June 8 to July 27

• Cardinal Rigali Center, 20 Archbishop May Drive in Shrewsbury, 4:30-6 p.m. Thursdays, June 1 to July 20

To register, email srmkronan@archstl.org. Participants must purchase their workbooks online or from a Catholic bookstore before the first session. For information, visit www.stlouisreview.com/bLN. 

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