January 16, 2024 // Diocese

Eucharistic Small Groups Successful in Diocese

Jesus and the Eucharist,” a video and small-group study created for the National Eucharistic Revival, has gotten rave reviews from parishioners across the diocese since it was made available last fall.

“Everybody left the videos thinking they were excellent,” said Jamey Fischer, a parishioner at St. John Bosco Church in Churubusco.

The “Jesus and the Eucharist” study consists of seven video presentations with discussion questions put together by the Augustine Institute. For each session, participants in a local group meet to watch a presentation and talk about it. Fischer explained that each video presentation consists of a more instructional part, featuring bishops, priests, and Catholic lay speakers exploring a piece of Eucharistic teaching. Then, in each video, “regular parishioners give a testimony as to how that piece affected their life in some way,” Fischer said. “It’s very relatable to the common parishioner.”

St. John Bosco Church began the study as soon as the videos became available. Fischer led the study for his men’s group, and the small parish of 300 families had several other small groups due to parish-wide interest. Fischer said one of the groups even met on Zoom.

When Marty Filogamo, a parishioner at Immaculate Conception Church in Auburn, was first approached by his pastor to be the Eucharistic Revival point person at the parish, he said he was intimidated. “I didn’t know what I was going to do,” Filogamo said. Originally from Arkansas, Filogamo and his wife had moved to Auburn when their kids were already out of school, which Filogamo said made it more difficult to meet people. “I was one of the parishioners who came to church, said hello, and went home,” Filogamo remembered.

However, Filogamo began getting phone calls from other parishioners wanting to be involved, and he began to recruit other people he met on Sundays. Soon enough, he had formed a committee of people to help him out, and soon after that, they had a small group for the “Jesus and the Eucharist” study.

“What I felt good about was that many of these people never would have experienced this type of study, the quality these programs had, the message these programs had; this is the only place they would have gotten that,” Filogamo said.

“The small groups were really a good idea,” Filogamo added. “For me personally, if it had been a large room with 30 to 40 people, I probably wouldn’t say a word. But this whole session has really brought my confidence into speaking in front of people more and more. Small group is definitely the way to go.”

Filogamo added that even a month after the study had ended, people were still coming up to thank him and the committee for offering the study. “It was sad when it ended,” Filogamo said.

Michelle Szajko, parishioner at Queen of Peace Church in Mishawaka, also praised the quality of the “Jesus and the Eucharist” study after facilitating it at her parish last fall.

“The nice thing about these videos is that they hit the entire range of someone interested in Catholic faith, someone new to the Church, all the way to people who have been cradle Catholics or have studied Catholicism,” Szajko said.

Queen of Peace offered the small group at different times during the week to make it available for as many parishioners as possible. While Szajko enjoyed watching the videos on her own during training for leading the small group, she said she really benefited from other people’s reflections and insights. “Watching it more than once was very enlightening and fulfilling,” Szajko said.

A particular moment in the study that struck both Szajko and Fischer was the feature of an astronaut who took the Eucharist to space with him.

“It sticks with me that that was something that was so important to him and his faith,” Szajko said.

Several parishes across the diocese are offering “Jesus and the Eucharist” small groups this year, many beginning this month. Fischer hopes to lead his second study during Lent this year.

Leaders at Queen of Peace aren’t planning to lead another small group this spring, but Szajko is organizing family
Holy Hours at the parish, remembering the days she would drop her kids off at school early so she could spend 10 minutes with the Eucharist before heading off to work.

“Sitting there with Jesus in the Eucharist was so enriching for my life,” Szajko said. “I was getting strength from that I didn’t know I needed.”

Based on her own experience, Szajko encouraged people to watch the “Jesus and the Eucharist” videos and find other small ways to participate in the Revival, even if they can’t make it to an official session. “Faith is so important we have to make time for it,” she said.

To learn more about “Jesus and the Eucharist,” including resources for forming a small group, visit eucharisticrevival.org/jesus-and-the-eucharist.

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