From September 2018 to June 2019, we participated in the year of prayer at St. John the Evangelist in Goshen, Indiana. The inspiration for our year of prayer came from our neighbors to the north, the Archdiocese of Detroit. Archbishop Allen Vigneron has undertaken a significant project in bringing revitalization, evangelization, and discipleship to his diocese. His first initiative was to institute a year of prayer, and that has produced fruitful results within the Archdiocese of Detroit already. Inspired by that same vision and fruitfulness, we began that same initiative here in our small parish and God has started working His plan here in Goshen.
There were several elements to our year of prayer. They consisted of four Saturday morning recollections, the first fifteen initiative, the creation of an intercessory prayer group, the Lenten Series and the 1% Challenge.
Within the Four Saturday Recollections, we focused on the topics of How to Pray as Jesus prayer, How to pray as Mary prayed, How to Pray as a Family, and How to Pray for Others. Each of them proved to be successful in their own ways. Many men who attended our recollection on Jesus appreciated being challenged to be more like Jesus in their daily lives. Our family recollection featured a packed gym of 200 people consisting of over 40 families. They made plans to become a family that prays together. Our women’s recollection in June provided the tools needed to be confident in their ability to pray for others.
Our first fifteen initiative came from the challenge to put our money where our mouth is. If we were going to ask our members to pray, then we as a parish had to pray too. We invited our existing groups and ministries in St. John to add 15 minutes of prayer to every session they hosted, particularly the first fifteen minutes of those sessions. Many of our groups have accepted the challenge to do so.
One of our highest priorities this year was to create an Intercessory Prayer Team for our parish. We have established a team of seven who specifically pray for the unity of our church, the work we do, and our beloved members. We have already seen fruitfulness from this team. One leader in our parish has seen an increase in participation within their group and continues to give us specific obstacles that arise in their group.
God stepped up for us during the season of Lent, which had the theme of “Meet Jesus.” Many people were able to encounter God through initiatives. We had more people attend our Lenten Series than last year, meaning more people had the opportunity to connect with God during Adoration. Our 1% Challenge saw more than 150 members officially take up the challenge to spend 15 minutes for 30 days in prayer with God. God is doing some fantastic things at St. John!
We hope that you were able to move closer to Jesus this past year! We hope that you will continue to move closer to Him in the upcoming years ahead. Always know that we are here for you to assist you in your faith journey with God in any way we can. You can always contact a member of our staff if you need any assistance. You are loved by God and by us! We are praying for you!